Essex Horse Trials, the iconic New Jersey event that was reborn in 2017 after a near two-decade hiatus, continues evolving to best suit the needs of the modern eventing community.
It offered Beginner Novice through Preliminary divisions for its first two years of reincarnation, sampled an Advanced division in 2019, was canceled like many events due to Covid in 2020, and rebounded with its original divisions in 2021. For 2022, it will continue with these held at two locations: on Friday, July 1, dressage and show jumping will be held at Hamilton Farm, home of the USET Foundation Headquarters in Gladstone. The next day, July 2, cross-country phase returns to the familiar surroundings of historic Moorland Farm in Far Hills.
The two-day festival will also include family-friendly activities, a car show and fun demonstrations to kick off Fourth of July activities. The shift in the schedule will give more time for everyone to enjoy the long holiday weekend, which was important to event co-organizer Ralph Jones.
“The Essex Horse Trials is such a great way for families to enjoy a weekend in the country. We believe that the changes we made will benefit not only the competitors, but the spectators as well,” said Jones, who is President of the Essex Horse Trials. “Historic Hamilton Farm will provide a beautiful venue for dressage and show jumping while Moorland Farm offers a spectacular setting for the exciting cross country course.”
More than 150 entries are expected to compete at the Beginner Novice, Novice, Training and Preliminary divisions. Co-organizer Morgan Rowsell is also looking forward to the new format.
“The welfare of the horse is always of paramount importance for us. The two locations provide ideal conditions for the weekend,” said Rowsell. “Gladstone will have all-weather footing for dressage and show jumping while Far Hills will give the horses and riders of all levels a first-rate cross-country course.”
On Saturday, the Essex H.T. will feature the Peter Chesson Memorial Classic Car Show for horsepower enthusiasts outside the equestrian arena. Nearly 100 cars will be showcased representing more than a century of motorized technology.
General admission is $10 per car. Tailgating spots will be available for the best viewing of the exciting cross-country course at Moorland Farm. Packages range in cost from $50-$300 depending on location. For more info on tailgate packages and ringside sponsorships, please call 908-581-0514 or email [email protected].
Proceeds from the event will benefit the Greater Newark LifeCamp in nearby Pottersville, a day camp for inner-city youth.
For more information, visit www.essexhorsetrials.org.