Winners Crowned Following Cross Country at Essex H.T.

Isabelle Bosley and Paper Doll topped the field in the $10,000 Open Preliminary division at the Essex Horse Trials. © AK Dragoo Photography

After several shake-ups on the leaderboards following Saturday’s cross-country phase, the Essex Horse Trials concluded at the historic Moorland Farm in Far Hills, NJ, with afternoon awards for over 100 entries. Among the division champions were Isabelle Bosley of Monkton, MD, and Karen Martin’s 10-year-old Hanoverian mare Paper Doll, who claimed victory in the $10,000 Open Preliminary division after finishing on their dressage score of 22.1.

As one of the most popular equestrian events in New Jersey, the Essex Horse Trials features some of the nation’s top riders with their Preliminary horses competing in the thrilling sport of eventing. The two-day sportfest took place July 1-2 with dressage and show jumping at the iconic Hamilton Farm, home of the U.S. Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation in Gladstone, NJ, and exhilarating cross-country at the historic Moorland Farm in Far Hills.

Bosley, 25, has been developing Paper Doll slowly over the last three seasons under the watchful eye of boss and mentor Lillian Heard. “She’s a very careful jumper, so we didn’t want to scare her by moving up too fast,” Bosley said. “She’s really come around, and she’s an awesome Prelim horse. I’m hoping to move her up again soon.

“She’s a pretty bold cross-country horse,” Bosley added. “I’ve run a lot of Prelim events with her at this point, and we had seen a lot of things on today’s course before. I knew that as long as I stuck to my plan for our ride, everything should be alright. I did think she might refuse the jump into the water because that’s the biggest drop into water she’s done so far, but she jumped it really nice and carefully. I’m really thrilled with how she took it all on, especially in the heat. She just motored around the course like it was nothing.”

© AK Dragoo Photography

Alongside Paper Doll, Bosley has a 4 Star horse, Night Quality, with which she has been slowly building up her career. Three years ago, she and Night Quality took fourth place in the Essex Horse Trials Preliminary division despite running in that year’s deep mud. They were most recently in England on a U25 Nations Cup run, with Bosley continuing to seek out the horses, results, and experience she needs to make it to the top of the sport.

“I love the Essex Horse Trials,” Bosley said. “This year, the course was so fun. We just got out there and onto a rhythm, so while there were some technical questions, it wasn’t overly difficult. It was a really great course for all the horses, especially after the dressage and stadium tests at such a nice venue yesterday.

“For Paper Doll, I personally wanted to bring her here because there’s a bit more atmosphere,” she added. “Sometimes it can be really tough to get in the ring with a big crowd and go around the cross-country with all the spectators, but I think it’s such good exposure for the horses. It was also my first time at the USET stables, and I thought it was so cool to come and see them. It was so nice to get such good footing for dressage, a lovely Grand Prix ring for show jumping, and then an awesome cross-country course here in Far Hills.”

Other division champions included Sophia Middlebrook of Nashua, NH, and Christa Schmidt’s Monbeg Odyssey in Open Training; Katherine Maroko of Kennett Square, PA, and Lisa Barry’s Rosie’s Little Miss Liberty in Training Rider; Megan Kepferle of Long Valley, NJ, and her HSH Hillside D’Artagnan in Open Novice; Peyton Brienza of Califon, NJ, and their The Brave Little Toaster in Novice Rider; Beth Durden of Califon, NJ, and her Dusty Dazing in Open Beginner Novice; and Susan Kozlowski of Newton, NJ, and her Jersey Girl in Beginner Novice Rider.

Essex H.T. (Far Hills, NJ): [Website] [Scores]