Volunteer Horse Patrol

San Mateo County Volunteer Horse Patrol

"San Mateo County Parks and Recreation Division launched its new volunteer horse patrol program at Huddart Park in Woodside on Sunday, May 17, 1987. The purpose of the Volunteer Horse Patrol is to assist the San Mateo County Parks and Recreation Division in providing safe and enjoyable trail usage for park visitors. Coverage will be extended to Edgewood, Wunderlich, and Pescadero parks as volunteers become available."

The previous paragraph was quoted from the summer 1987 "San Mateo County Horseman" magazine. The SMCVHP actually was started by the inspiration of a group from the Marin Headlands National Park Volunteer Horse Patrol. That group consisted of several SMCHA members.The group was started in 1984 by the Head Ranger of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Then in1987 one of the members from SMCHA and a member of GGNRA VHP (Stephanie Anise) conceived an idea to do the same thing in San Mateo County Parks. At the onset there were six members. They took their training from David Moore, Huddart Park Supervisor and Robin Wuersching, riding instructor and volunteer trainer. The original six were: Stephanie Anise, Marcia Keener. Walt Kirk, Karen Kirschner, Jackie Schlesinger, Hazel Wuersching and Robin Wuersching. They learned about park values, rules and regulations, public assistance, resource protection and first aid.

The VHP was off and running. Training sessions were held often and many more people were recruited. To join the VHP you had to be 18 years or older; have your own trail horse or the use of one; must have your own equipment and transportation to the parks; you were required to attend an orientation session and you and your horse were required to demonstrate your ability to negotiate trails safely.

On Tuesday, November 22, 1988 the Board of Supervisors of San Mateo County presented the San Mateo County Volunteer Horse Patrol with a resolution honoring and commending our members for our community involvement and value to San Mateo County. The Volunteer Horse Patrol is still looking for riders with this kind of commitment to community involvement. Applications for membership are welcomed each spring.

Since that time the VHP has grown tremendously to the point that there are more than 100 active members. The scope of the volunteer activity is still the same in the sense that members provide safe and enjoyable trail use for park visitors. They are considered the "eyes and ears" of the park staff.

First Aid and CPR training are offered annually to volunteers. Volunteer activities combine the joys of trail riding, the camaraderie of group activities, and the satisfaction of helping San Mateo County maintain a secure and safe environment for all park users. Volunteers perform trail maintenance at Pescadero Creek Park and on the adopted Skyline Trail connecting Huddart and Wunderlich Parks. VHP also provides a Camp Host service throughout the season at Jack Brook Horse Camp. Informal meetings are held several times a year.