Hollberg Takes Top Honors in Open Intermediate and Preliminary Divisions at 2023 Essex Horse Trials

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.”

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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.