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Mane Event

The Essex Horse Trials Bring World-Champion Riders to the Somerset Hills

On July 1–2 you have a unique opportunity to watch world-class riders and their horses compete. 

The Essex Horse Trials—a United States Equestrian Team (USET) and US Equestrian sanctioned competition—began in the 1960s as a competition for young riders. It has since grown to become a major international event where the sport’s top contenders compete for U.S. Team positions at both the Olympic Games and World Championships. 

Spectators can watch the sport’s three disciplines: Dressage and Show Jumping, held at the USET Foundation in Gladstone, and Cross-Country at Moorland Farm in Far Hills. 

Collectively, the disciplines—essentially an “equestrian triathlon”—are called “Eventing.” The scores for each of the three phases are combined to determine the final placings. Dressage, the first phase, tests a horse’s obedience to the rider. In Show Jumping, horses must jump quickly and carefully over fences. Trust between horse and rider is crucial in Cross-Country, which requires horses to jump solid obstacles that they have never seen, often at speed.

On July 2, spectators also can view a curated collection of classic and exotic automobiles at the Peter Chesson Memorial Car Show.

Proceeds benefit Greater Newark LifeCamp, which organizes an enriching day camp for 300 Newark-area youth for six weeks in July and August.

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