In 2014, the Homestead Valley Music Festival on the meadow at the community center drew a record attendance estimated at between 1300 and 1400. On Saturday, October 8, 1939 at 8 pm on the same meadow the Mill Valley Riding Club Horse Show drew a record attendance estimated at 600 spectators [There must have been extensive lighting.] This was a big deal. The headline on the Mill Valley Record was “600 See Horse Show Sunday at Riding Club.”
Some of the riders and many of the horses were familiar to San Franciscans, since Mr. and Mrs. Edward. J. Stehn, owners of the Mill Valley Riding Club, were formerly with the San Francisco and the Parkside Riding Schools. In addition to the horsemanship classes, there were jumping events and a special drill. Mill Valley mayor T.F. Bagshaw was the guest of honor, as a drill of 12 skilled riders in red coats started the show, in accompaniment to the music.
Captain Fred Egan was the show judge; Lawrence McNally was the ringmaster; E. Carol Jackson was the ring steward. Trophies and awards were made to winners in 12 events, featuring horsemanship contests for children and adults as well as jumping events.
Bronze King and Miss Whippet who were trained by their owner, Edward Stehn, received the acclaim of the crowd for their concise paired jumping. O’Henry, a seven-month old colt, made his ring debut early in the show, and amused the gathering with his antics.
Riders from Sausalito and Mill Valley carried off the bulk of the prizes. At least three prize winners were residents of Homestead Valley: Peggy Jackson, daughter of E. Carol Jackson who lived at 51 Edgewood where the family kept three horses; Marian Vandevere, daughter of Dr. Edward and Helen Vandevere who lived at 424 La Verne, the eight-acre gentleman’s farm established by Helen’s father, Alexander Eells in 1904; and Diane Smith, daughter of J. Relmond Smith who lived on Montford. Another 10 prize winners were Mill Valley residents.
Peggy Jackson won first prize in children’s advanced horsemanship. Peggy Jackson and Diane Smith came in third in children’s pair class while Marian Vandevere and Marilyn Hopper came in fourth.
The Mill Valley Record reported, “It is expected to make the show an annual affair at the popular riding club located on Montford Avenue.”
If you have comments or questions about this article or other topics pertaining to the history of Homestead Valley,
please feel free to e-mail Chuck Oldenburg.