Catching up with Menlo Charity Horse Show founder Betsy Glikbarg
Over 50 years ago, in 1970, Atherton resident Betsy Glikbarg was among several founders of the Menlo Charity Horse Show and has remained deeply engrained in the event and community ever since. This year Menlo will celebrate not only its golden anniversary, but 50 years with Betsy as its guiding and steadfast light.
In 1970, several Circus Club members decided to put on a small, one-day horse show to raise money for a much-needed new roof on the barn. The show was a success, and the new roof was installed. Then the following year another show was needed to fix the riding ring, which was too slippery. And so it was, that each year another improvement to the stables made another show a “must.” What started as a “one-day” show to put a roof on the barn, has evolved into a six-day event attracting many of the most accomplished riders in the United States. The show has been awarded an “AA” rating for competition — the pinnacle for a USEF recognized equestrian event.
Betsy has been at the helm since the beginning, and has served many years as show’s Fund Developer. Those who know her, will testify that her importance to the event is truly indescribable. Let’s catch up with Betsy as we prepare to celebrate Menlo’s 50th Anniversary August 9th through 14th.
What inspired the first show?
“A very good friend asked me if I’d like to help with a horse show. Having never shown in a horse show, but having ridden all my life, I said “sure”. Well, I did show once at camp, but the horse ran away with me. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I agreed that first year!”
What has motivated you to do this for so many years for Menlo?
“I don’t like the spotlight, but I believe in helping people. I first went on the Vista Center’s [the show’s beneficiary] Board when they had in-patient living. I worked through the transition period and watched the physically challenged people go out into the community and start ”living”. You do things because you believe in them.”
“Seeing old friends and talking about old times. I’m glad that the pandemic is over, of course. I’m excited to see everyone again this year, like John French and all of the wonderful people that Menlo brings in. It really is the people that keep me coming back every year.”
How much has the show contributed to Vista over the years?
“Millions of dollars. We started our relationship with the charity in 1973 and have been partners ever since. It’s truly a beautiful marriage between the Menlo Charity Horse Show and the Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired.”
What makes Menlo so special?
“Menlo is one of the few horse shows that is not only a Heritage Competition, but also continues to maintain its legacy in philanthropy. It is really something special.”
What is one of your favorite memories from Menlo?
“I get to work with so many volunteers from the Circus Club and that is always a highlight for me. Between 70 and 100 volunteers attend and they’re different each year.”
More information about Menlo Charity Horse Show and its line up of events is available online. The Horse Show takes place from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm daily. Admisson $10 daily or $35 for weekly pass. Complimentary admission for seniors and children under age 12 .
Photo of Betsy Glikbarg by Chris Gulker; InMenlo file photo
Group photo of Menlo Charity Horse Show founders (pictured left to right Nan Chapman, Betsy Glikbarg, Nancy Parker, Jane Yates and Nancy Robinson ) by Alden Corrigan Media.