California Riding Magazine • February, 2009

Open For Business
Red Door Farms and Silverwood Equestrians welcome horsemanship-minded students.

Kerri Bettencourt was lucky enough to grow up able to ride and keep horses on her family’s property. It was a luxury she came to appreciate more through adulthood and the catalyst for her goal of providing others a lovely place to enjoy their horses and progress as horsemen. When the chance arose to build a boarding and training facility on 20 acres of almond orchard in Turlock, Kerri jumped at it. The serene setting was the perfect site for the lifelong horsewoman’s vision of a small, quiet, first-rate facility where the ambiance was matched by high-quality training. The resulting Red Door Farms opened for business late last year.


Kerri walking with B’Czar.


Hunter/jumper professional Megan Perry is the ideal fit as Red Door Farm’s resident trainer. Kerri and Megan met as working students for Carol Wright’s Melodic Farms and have maintained their friendship over the years as fellow competitors and, more recently, with Megan serving as Kerri’s trainer.


Megan Perry


Understandably, they are thrilled to be swinging the barn doors open at Red Door Farms. The property is blessed with natural sand that has held up beautifully as the footing in Red Door’s two arenas during this winter’s heavy rains. A new Blue Ribbon Barn features stalls with 40’ paddocks and 12’ x 12’, 12’ x 16’ or mare motel configurations. A 60’ round pen and access to nice trails enables boarders to keep their own and their horse’s minds fresh with out-of-the-arena schooling and riding opportunities.

In her training endeavor, Silverwood Equestrians, Megan has in mind a medium-intensity show agenda that will allow time for a genuine focus on horsemanship. “As former working students, Kerri and I understand that there is a lot more that goes into riding horses than showing up and getting on for the lesson,” Megan says. “Understanding all that goes into real horsemanship is something we want to share because it definitely helps the big picture. We want kids and adults to be an integral part of their horse’s training programs and to know about their horse’s health and feed, etc.”


Megan showing Oliver at Caalistoga.


Targeted competitions include the Sacramento Area Hunter/Jumper Assn. events and B rated shows throughout the Central Valley. Both Kerri and Megan have done all the A circuit showing throughout California. Kerri’s trophy case includes championship silver from Menlo, Pebble Beach and the Cow Palace, plus top-five Norcal and PCHA year-end honors earned on a modest show itinerary. They are looking forward to a show calendar that is accessible to the average competitively-minded owner. “Our goal is to have a program that the average person can afford,” Megan says. “We’re are thinking weekend shows, rather than being at a seven-week circuit.” School horses and ponies and weekly lessons also make it possible for beginners to get on the Silverwood path to horsemanship.


11-year-old Kerri showing in a 3’3” medal class.


Whys Behind The Whats

Kerri knows first-hand the benefits of Megan’s teaching style. “She always makes sure you understand what she’s saying. She never just says ‘turn that corner’ or ‘use your leg,’ she explains why you need to do that.” The same process surrounds equipment choices and care for horses so their owners know the whys behind the whats in every aspect of their horse’s routine. Megan encourages students to spend as much time at the barn as they can and invites them to watch and learn from each other’s lessons. Above all, she insists on ending each lesson on a positive note. “Even if they are having a rough day or a rough lesson, I’ll make sure it ends as a positive experience.”

Red Door Farms is also the home of Kerri’s Elite Warmblood (a Dutch/Holsteiner cross) stallion B’Czar, who she campaigns in the Amateur Hunter division. With the top hunter sire Alla Czar as his grandsire and Lucky Boy II blood through his dam, B’Czar is a popular breeding stallion. The stable owner also rides a mare in the Amateur Jumper division and competes her Pony Jumper.
Throughout history a red door has represented a safe haven and, in the Chinese feng shui philosophy, it symbolizes good fortune. Add those positive portends to Kerri and Megan’s experience, intentions and foresight and it seems Red Door Farms and Silverwood Equestrians are destined for success.

For information on Red Door Farms, visit www.reddoorfarms.com or Silverwood Equestrians (www.silverwoodequestrians.com),
call 209-667-4458.

Kerri Bettencourt’s stallion B’Czar’s first time in the jumping chute.