Bay Area Equestrian Connection LLC (BAEC)
We Offered Public Horse Riding Programs:
Our horse riding programs were designed to help you and your horse get around the ring, up the mountain, down the road and/or over the jump; all safely, calmly and in good form.
Public Horse Boarding:
It was open to the trail rider or any rider. We offered top quality boarding in a unique facility in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Anyone could ride - we had programs for beginners through advanced riders:
Community Riding & Boarding Programs at Folger Stable Have Been Successful!
From No Public Programs to a Booming Community Riding Center
From 2010 to 2013, Bay Area Equestrian Connection LLC (BAEC) was licensed by San Mateo County to run the equestrian operations at Folger Stable in Wunderlich County Park, Woodside. At the start of BAEC’s lease, there were no community riding programs. By 2013, BAEC had succeeded in building something no one thought possible.
We offered trail rides, children’s camps, birthday parties, pony rides, community days and a Western and English group and private lesson program as well as public horse boarding. We were wildly successful as proven by the approximately 2000 public riding experiences logged in just seven months in 2013. Again, that was up from zero over the past 30 years!! Then, sadly, San Mateo County refused to honor their promise of two three-year lease extensions citing a lease technicality. The community riding programs we developed were shut down.
This website is a lasting testament to what BAEC achieved and demonstrates all the wonderful programs which can be realized and operated sustainably on public property.
Moreover, it is what the community wants for their park!
OK. So What Happened?
Some history is necessary to provide context for the County’s mistaken decision. BAEC was identified by the former president of the non profit responsible for the main barn renovation, The Friends of Huddart and Wunderlich Parks (Friends), as a candidate for the concessionaire position at Folger Stable. BAEC, bid for the lease motivated by a vision of having sustainable horse programs and facilities on public land. BAEC also bid based on promises made by the Friends to help fundraise to finance critical improvements to the infrastructure in order to provide a safe set of diverse riding and boarding programs to the general public. The main barn was beautiful, but the rest of the facility was dated, worn and incomplete. There wasn’t even a hay barn. As of January 2014 there still is no place for the hay as the Friends put an educational center in the hay storage area!
Non Profits, Non Existent
Suffice it to say that absolutely no help came from the non-profits. BAEC was alone, with some County assistance, in investing significant resources to make the needed improvements. The turnouts were winterized and expanded, a sprinkler system and drainage were installed in and around the arena, nice portable stabling was installed to house the lesson horses needed for the public riding programs, staging areas and a round pen were installed, lesson and trail horses were acquired and professional staff members were hired. All the improvements to a leased facility on the expectation that the County would hold true to its promise to BAEC of lease extensions in order to recoup the huge expenditures. By mid year 2013 BAEC was finally positioned to turn a profit after only 2.5 years! That is a huge accomplishment for any business, let alone one of this complexity.
And the public was thrilled with the programs we offered at an accessible price point.
"We want to say what a lovely time we had last Sunday with your staff at my daughter's birthday. ... Our 5 girls were handled with courtesy and professionalism. The horses were well kept and happy. They had a super time! One girl's mother wrote me today to say her daughter said it was the best birthday party she had ever been to! We sure appreciate that you could put this together for us. I hope to heavens you all can stay so others can experience the fun at a reasonable price." ~ A Parent
There’s More to the Story
While The County offers a lease technicality as an explanation for BAEC’s dismissal, the real reason is political. BAEC ultimately lacked support of the County who was pressured by the Friends, a powerful stakeholder in the property with considerable influence over the local donor community.
The Friends hold educational programs at the stable in conjunction with the San Mateo County Historical Society. They also were building an event program. Essentially the Friends insist on holding their programs in a high traffic area of the stable. Not only does this interfere with the horse operations, it puts children and the public invited to their programs in danger. BAEC was the liable party in the event of an accident, yet its serious and legitimate safety concerns were ignored. San Mateo County was more interested in appeasing the Friends than actually managing the conflict between two stakeholders in their property.
After 2.5 years, the stable was finally running as a thriving, working horse barn. It was time to be realistic about the programs, events and public safety and work fairly to resolve any territorial issues. BAECs programs were working, were wanted by the community and offered a special value that we believe is irreplaceable.
Shutting down BAEC and the extensive community programs speaks volumes as to who holds the cards at Folger Stable.
Will the Riding Programs Continue?
As of December 2013, San Mateo County asked for stabling necessary for pubic riding programs to be removed from the property. They stated that they are not sure they even want public riding programs.
We encourage you to make your voices heard and let the decision makers know what you want for your park. This website shows you what was possible. Don’t settle for less.
Download our brochure for detailed information of what we provided the public.