The son of Elliot Haller and Jean Haller Reid, Roger Haller grew up with a love for horses. He was riding and competing in equitation classes by the age of 9 and became involved in the Junior Essex Troop, a riding group for schoolboys in the area. By the age of 17, Haller was riding at the United States Equestrian Team’s (USET) Headquarters in Gladstone, N.J. Haller was a member of the Somerset Hills Pony Club and achieved his ‘A’ rating at the age of 18.
In his early 20s, Haller served as Area II Chairman, was on the Board of the United States Combined Training Association (USCTA, now USEA), the Board of the United States Pony Club (USPC), and the American Horse Show Association’s (now USEF) Events Committee. Later in life he served as the Vice President of the USCTA and was a member of the Rules Committee and Editor of USCTA News. He also served on the USEF Eventing High Performance Committee, USEF Technical Committee, FEI and was Executive Director of the Pan American Equestrian Confederation’s General Assembly.
Haller’s family farm, Hoopstick Farm, in Bedminster, N.J., became the original site of the Essex Horse Trials thanks to many efforts of Haller and his parents. The Essex Horse Trials hosted their first event in 1968, and Haller was the first organizer, course designer and course builder for the event.
Haller’s contributions to the sport of eventing are nearly impossible to list. He was a course designer, FEI Technical Delegate, judge, organizer, and volunteer. Haller designed the cross-country courses for such notable events including the 1978 World Championships in Lexington and the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. He officiated in 46 different states and 14 countries and judged at major events across North and South America including the Kentucky Three-Day Event.
As a member of the FEI Eventing Committee, Haller, along with Hugh Thomas, implemented major changes to the Rules for Eventing in 1990, bringing the sport into the “modern era” and introducing the star system, which is now a central part of the sport on an international stage.