Hollberg Takes Top Honors in Open Intermediate and Preliminary Divisions at 2023 Essex Horse Trials
Event Concludes with Thrilling Cross-Country Phase and Peter Chesson Memorial Classic Car Show at Historic Moorland Farm
Hannah Sue Hollberg of Kennett Square, PA, was on a winning streak at the Essex Horse Trials on Sunday, claiming victory in both the $10,000 Open Intermediate and Open Preliminary divisions with two horses that are fairly new to her. Some difficulty on cross-country did not stop her mount Hachi from claiming victory in the Open Intermediate with a score of 101.6, while Open Preliminary partner Rockster finished on his dressage score of 27.3.
The Essex Horse Trials has become a tradition for families looking to spend an exciting and fun-filled weekend in their own backyard. Featuring some of the nation’s top riders with their Intermediate and Preliminary horses competing in the thrilling sport of eventing, the two-day sportfest took place June 3-4 with dressage and show jumping at the iconic Hamilton Farm, home of the USET Foundation Headquarters in Gladstone, NJ, and exhilarating cross-country at the historic Moorland Farm in Far Hills.
“The weather couldn’t have been better this weekend,” Hollberg said. “It’s unfortunate we’ve had so little rain lately, but they did a great job with the footing and put on such a great show. It’s so much fun coming here because of all the tailgaters. With everybody cheering for you, it feels like such a big-time event, and I wish more people would come to enjoy such a beautiful show.”
In the $10,000 Open Intermediate division, Hollberg and Hachi sat in second place overnight following Saturday’s dressage and show jumping tests. The 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Christa Schmidt and Jacqueline Mars did not have the best cross-country run with a few glance-offs and a circle in the water, but Hollberg used this as a positive learning experience with the goal of moving him up to Advanced.
“I just got him in late December from Phillip Dutton, who took him up to the 3* level in about two years,” Hollberg said. “He was a show jumper before that, competing at events like Spruce Meadows (Canada). He’s such a character and a really cool horse, but we’re still getting to know each other. I did one 3*-Short at TerraNova (Florida) this spring, and I’m still sorting out his bit and working on our turns.
“I thought it was a great course today, but he jumps so big that we didn’t quite lock onto a few of the questions,” she added. “This was a pretty hard track, but now I know where we’re at as a team. That’s really why I wanted to come here with him – it’s always such a good event, and I learned what we still need to work on.”
Essex Horse Trials | The Essex Horse Trials is a USEA and US Equestrian-sanctioned competition, held on the grounds of beautiful Moorland Farm in Far Hills, New Jersey, in the heart of the Somerset Hills region.