The Menlo Charity Horse Show, starting today at the Menlo Circus Club in Atherton and featuring Olympic-style jumping, started as a little neighborhood horse show 35 years ago.
Now a six-day world-class equestrian event, it attracts more than 650 nationally ranked riders and their horses, competing for $100,000 in prize money.
The Menlo Circus Club is at 190 Park Lane, between Valparaiso and Atherton avenues in Atherton. The horse show is open to the public with tickets at $10 per day, or six-day passes for $35.
Proceeds from the show are donated to the Palo Alto-based Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Last year the show raised more than $400,000. This year's show has generated more than $500,000 in sponsorships from 60 sponsors.
Bob Robinson of San Jose British Motors has sponsored the show's Grand Prix since its inception and this year has raised the prize purse from $35,000 to $40,000.
All 650 open slots for stabling the horses were filled within six hours after posting the entry form on the show's Web site. There is a waiting list of 300 competitors.
For the 22nd year, the show has been named the NorCal Hunter Association's Horse Show of the Year.
The Menlo show competition is Olympic-style jumping, which takes place on grass in three separate show rings. Of particular note are the unique jumps. This year Robert Flury and Bob Bryant of Flury/Bryant Design are designing a miniature 5-foot house for the center ring. The show also features jumps modeled after Bloomingdale's "Little Brown Bag" and Neiman Marcus' shopping tote.
Betsy Glikbarg of Atherton once again reigns as horse show chairman, as she has done since the first show. Her committee includes some members, such as Nan Chapman, who have been with her since the early days.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, August 8 and 9, activities begin at 8 a.m. and end at 4:30 p.m. with a variety of hunter, jumper and pony classes in all three arena. Thursday events include the $2,000 Larry Mayfield Gambler's Choice Hunters Class at 6 p.m.
An evening party for sponsors on Friday, August 13, begins at 5 p.m. with cocktails on the field. The Maple Leaf Farm Ryman Memorial Speed Jumper Class takes place at 6 p.m.
A dinner, plus a live and silent auction, are scheduled for 7:30 p.m., followed by dancing. Tickets for the dinner are $175.
Saturday, August 12, is Alfred Hitchcock day with the $10,000 Grand Hunter Challenge in late afternoon. Pat O'Connell of Solvang, Hitchcock's daughter, is a longtime supporter of the show.
The $40,000 San Jose British Motors Grand Prix will be held at 6 p.m., followed by a poolside barbecue. The cost is $35 per person and $18 for children under 12. For reservations, call 322-4616.
The show concludes Sunday with the $5,000 Amateur Jumper Class, the $10,000 Rys Vineyard Junior Amateur Modified Jumper Classic, and the $10,000 Flying Farms Junior Amateur Owner Jumper Classic.
Food and beverages will be available for purchase on the Circus Club grounds. Admission is $10 per day, with six-day passes available for $35. For more information, call 701-0543 or go to http://www.menlohorseshow.com.
Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired offers orientation and mobility instruction, daily living skills, counseling and social services, preschool, low-vision optometry, and outreach services for Spanish-speaking residents.