Last weekend saw the successful reboot of Mars Essex Horse Trials after a nearly two-decade hiatus. Held at historic Moorland Farm in Far Hills, New Jersey, the iconic event’s return was much anticipated and well celebrated, as it was once a highlight of the American eventing calendar.
Conceived in 1968, it grew throughout the ’70s and the ’80s, eventually expanding to a three-day event and moving to the USET headquarters at Hamilton Farm in Gladstone. The event’s final running came in 1998, on its 30th anniversary, on account of land development.
Check out this vintage video of then 20-something Rick Wallace and Ultimate Trial, Rick’s first Advanced horse. The story of their partnership is a great one — EN featured it in our One That Started It All series here. The video features commentary from Brian O’Connor and Ralph Hill and, spoiler alert, it doesn’t go to plan for Rick. At 1:18 they dramatically fall prey to the big ditch and rails.
The commentators catch up with Rick afterward to ask what happened. “Uh, he went right into the ditch,” Rick says, reenacting the moment with sound effects. Glad everyone was OK!