Rain or shine, on horseback or by foot, year-round trail access is now available to the public at the historic Folger Stable in the County of San Mateo's Wunderlich Park.
A multi-phase, all-weather trail improvement project has already winterized many of the trails in Wunderlich Park through the collaborative efforts of local nonprofit organizations and government entities. These include the County of San Mateo, the Community Horse Advocacy Program for San Mateo County (CHAPS) and the Woodside-area Horse Owners Association (WHOA!). A second phase of the project is slated to begin in the spring of 2012, with roughly 40% of the $18,000 budget needed still to be raised.
Folger Stable is unique among buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places, offering public horse boarding and riding opportunities in the midst of a public park surrounded by the exclusive estates of Woodside. Built in 1904 during the "Great Estates" era, it was donated to the County of San Mateo in 1974, listed on the National Register of Historic places in 2004, and an eight-year renovation project was completed in 2010, when it was re-opened to the public.
Saturdays at Folger Stable offer something for horseback riders, hikers and history buffs. "Saturday trail rides are a great way to experience the park safely and affordably," according to Dan Byrum, President and CEO of Bay Area Equestrian Connection, operator of Folger Stable. "It's a new program that has rapidly become tremendously popular. The horse riding programs at Folger Stable allow the general public to connect with nature through an activity that has often seemed out
Trail riders can access 17 miles of trails on 942-acre Wunderlich Park and connect to 24 miles of trails in 973-acre Huddart Park. The public can also bring their own horses to ride the trails, with newly-expanded horse trailer parking at Wunderlich Park. Community equestrians can now enjoy more trail riding activities with the Folger Stable Trail Club led by head wrangler Sam Bivins, whose background of trail guide experience in the Wyoming wilderness provides trail-savvy assistance to urban riders.
For non-riders, unlimited hiking opportunities abound throughout the diverse habitats found in Wunderlich Park. The Carriage House Museum inside the stable is open Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with docents happy to guide visitors through the historic displays that reveal the essential role of horses in local history.
Boarders at Folger Stable enjoy luxurious stabling, an outdoor public riding arena that is groomed daily, plentiful winterized turnout paddocks, a variety of trainers and direct access to winterized trails. Available for a limited introductory period is a fall move-in special, with half off the first month's board for new boarders.
For more information about riding or boarding at Folger Stable, visit www.folgerstable.com. To volunteer or donate to the trails or other projects or programs visit Community Horse Advocacy Program for San Mateo County (CHAPS): www.chapsmc.org or the County of San Mateo Parks: www.co.sanmateo.ca.us/portal/site/parks.