The iconic Mars Essex Horse Trials was reborn last year after a near two-decade long hiatus and was welcomed back by the eventing community with open arms. Over 200 competitors signed up to contest the event’s 2017 return, and the entry list for the 2018 edition is stacked to the rafters as well. The event takes place this weekend, June 23-24, at picturesque Moorland Farm in Far Hills, New Jersey.
“This is an event where riders have the opportunity to compete at a beautiful venue and where spectators can be part of the action as they view the horses up close throughout all phases of competition,” says Ralph Jones, President of Essex Horse Trials, who spearheaded the event’s 2017 return with Morgan Rowsell. “As we saw last year when this event returned after a 19-year absence, both horse enthusiasts and families alike loved spending the day at Moorland Farm.”
Morgan, a Long Valley resident, designed the cross country course which caters to Beginner Novice through Preliminary divisions. Moorland Farm provides a breathtaking setting and rare opportunity to go behind the gates of this historic 230-acre property, which is only open to the public two weekends a year. It is also home of the annual Far Hills Race Meeting, a steeplechase held each October.
In addition to competitor hospitality, the event is family friendly for spectators. Weekend activities also include a popular classic car show; The Farmstand, offering fresh food from local markets; The Essex Market, offering a wide range of shopping from saddles and riding gear to jewelry and artwork; and the Willow School children’s activity center, offering a fun and creative diversion for younger spectators and their parents.
General Admission is just $15 in advance and $20 at the gate. Children 14 & under are free. Parking is free.
The Hoopstick Club offers a VIP experience with ringside seating adjacent to the show jumping arena with views of the cross country course including the exciting and expansive water complex; lunch or brunch during the day; and a cocktail party on Saturday evening.
The event is also offering two great tailgating options: New this year is Water Jump Tailgating, offering select spots around the event’s signature cross country element. Hilltop Tailgating provides panoramic views of the entire event. Attendees may bring a picnic lunch or purchase all the fixings at The Farmstand. Tailgating packages include one reserved parking space and four admission tickets.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the Greater Newark LifeCamp in nearby Pottersville, which provides an enriching day camp experience for approximately 300 Newark-area youths per day for six weeks during July and August.
For additional information and tickets, visit www.essexhorsetrials.org.