GLADSTONE, NJ – April 12, 2019 –The Garden State Horse Show, produced by the Junior Essex Troop, will kick off its first year at iconic Hamilton Farm, the former training grounds of the United States Equestrian Team (USET) and home to the USET Foundation. The top-notch US Equestrian premier AA hunter/jumper show will be held April 27- May 5. The Garden State Horse Show is receiving a warm welcome from the community and new sponsor, the Gladstone Equestrian Association (GEA).
The Gladstone area has a rich equestrian heritage and GEA, a nonprofit founded over 30 years ago, has made it their mission to promote and support equestrian activities. GEA promotes clinics, competitions and other equine-related events in the Gladstone area. The organization fosters public interest in equestrian competition and advances the interests of US Equestrian, the governing body of equestrian disciplines. The GEA has been instrumental in leading a resurgence of driving, hunter/jumper sport and eventing in the region.
“Hamilton Farm is like the Fenway Park of the equestrian world,” said GEA President James C. Brady III. “A major factor in this area’s scenic beauty, which is a combination of large-lot and open-space development, is the 100-year heritage of equestrian enthusiasm. Our goal is to help promote Hamilton Farm as a national treasure and support world-class equestrian sport in the greater Gladstone area.”
The GEA’s roots are in driving and the organization was born out of the Gladstone Combined Driving Event. Over the years, GEA has offered competitions, clinics and seminars for driving organizers and course builders. In 1985, Gladstone hosted one of the first U.S. international driving events. In 1993, the World Pairs was held at Hamilton Farms, the first time it was held outside of Europe. The GEA now focuses on fostering developing drivers and hosting Horse Driving Trials and clinics.
GEA is a contributor to the USET Foundation’s Gladstone Fund that helps to make events produced at the Hamilton Farm facility possible. Each year, the USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals East, a showcase for the top equitation riders in the country is held there.
The GEA directly sponsors Monmouth at the Team, a successful rebirth of the country’s oldest continually running hunter/jumper horse show, also held at Hamilton Farm. The Garden State Horse Show is the second hunter/jumper event to be directly sponsored by the GEA.
The GEA is also a supporter of The Mars Essex Horse Trials. An iconic pre-Olympic-qualifying three-day event held at the USET headquarters until 1998, it grew and attracted international competitors and expanded to a three-day format. The Essex Horse Trials featured eventing’s best-of-the-best competing for U.S. Team positions at both the Olympic Games and World Championships. After a 19-year hiatus, the Mars Essex Horse Trials returned to the eventing calendar in June 2017 and added the Advanced division for 2019. The Mars Essex Horse Trials took up residence at its new home Moorland Farm, situated on 230 pastoral New Jersey acres.
Moorland Farm is also home to the Far Hills Race Meeting steeplechase event, which attracts over 40,000 spectators each fall and is considered one of New Jersey’s premier social and sporting events. For nearly a century, this annual gathering has had a large and loyal fan base who return, year after year. The event typifies the area’s heritage of equine sport.
“The Gladstone Equestrian Association does incredible work to encourage the growth of equestrian activities in the area,” said Rodney Seelig, chairman of the Junior Essex Troop, producers of the Garden State Horse Show. “We are honored that the Garden State Horse Show is among the equestrian events it supports.”