Jun 06, 2023

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

Hannah Sue Hollberg and Rockster. AK Dragoo Photography photo

Far Hills, N.J.—June 4Hannah Sue Hollberg of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, 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 comeptition took place June 3-4 with dressage and show jumping at the iconic Hamilton Farm, home of the USET Foundation Headquarters in Gladstone, New Jersey, 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 Open Preliminary division, Hollberg’s focus on flatwork with Tricia Arnold’s 9-year-old Morgan gelding paid off as she and Rockster claimed an early lead and held it throughout the weekend.

“The jumping’s always been there with Rockster, but when I first got him in January, he was a little off the bridle,” Hollberg said. “I’m so thrilled that he came in and won the dressage this time, and with the best score he’s ever earned. Then he jumped clear in the show jumping, and I knew he’d be amazing on cross-country. Once you get him in and out of the box, he’s on autopilot. He deserved this win completely.

“Tricia’s had him since he was 4, and I’m so grateful she reached out to me when it came time to sell him,” she continued. “I hope to find him a perfect little rider because he’s so ready for someone else to just have a blast riding around.”

Hannah Sue Hollberg and Hachi. AK Dragoo Photography photo

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 40 jumping penalties, 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 three-star 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 CCI3*-S at TerraNova [Myakka City, 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.”

Other division champions included Caroline Pamukcu of Riegelsville, Pennsylvania, and her Billy Be Jolly in Open Training (24.3); Sierra Lesny of Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, and Edith Rameika’s Sebastian in Training Rider (28.1); Lee Maher of Springtown, Pennsylvania, and Redfield Farm’s Redfield Lennon in Open Novice (18.6); Peyton Brienza of Califon, New Jersey, and their The Brave Little Toaster in Novice Rider (27.2); Kylie Stangle and Janina Parmelee’s Redfield Mikke in Open Beginner Novice (25.5); and Savannah Gibbins of Califon, New Jersey, and her Kenzo De La Roque in Beginner Novice Rider (28.8).

In addition to Sunday’s cross-country, families also enjoyed the popular Peter Chesson Memorial Classic Car Show with nearly a century of eye-popping automobiles on display. Scott Sampson of Hampton, New Jersey, won the Peter Chesson Memorial Award for his 1968 Chevrolet Camaro.

“It’s the kind of car my father would’ve liked,” said Tim Chesson, Peter Chesson’s son. “It’s fast, looks good, makes a lot of noise and has a big engine. Congratulations to Scott, and thank you to everyone who participated in this year’s show.”

For full results, click here.

May 27, 2024 Eventing News

A Trip Down Memory Lane with the U.S. Olympic Event Teams of Years Past

The hype around this summer’s Olympics in Paris, France, is building with each passing day! In preparation for the summer games, which take place Friday, July 26, through Sunday, August 11, we decided to take a walk down memory lane and revisit the performances of the U.S. eventing team at the Games in years past.

May 26, 2024 Eventing News

How Foxhunting Paved Melanie Smith’s Path Up the Levels of Eventing

“I always say that my secret weapon out competing is bad weather and bad footing,” said Melanie Smith. Though the Georgia-based rider is a competitor by nature, having completed three 50K Ultramarathons, it was a non-competitive sport that made the most profound impact on where she is today. Decades of foxhunting taught her to trust her horse, fine-tune her cross-country skills, and navigate tricky conditions.

May 25, 2024 Eventing News

Caitlin Silliman: The Roller Coaster World of Eventing

As both an eventer and business owner, Caitlin Silliman is well aware of the need for a solid team behind her. Not only has she had supportive family and friends cheering her on, she has ridden and worked under top-notch professionals such as Susie Beale and Silva and Boyd Martin, and now runs her business side by side with her good friend and fellow eventer Erin Kanara at Erin’s farm in Pennsylvania, the state Caitlin has always called home.

May 24, 2024 AEC

Three Months Until the Start of the 20th Anniversary USEA American Eventing Championships

The 2024 United States Eventing Association (USEA) American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Nutrena Feeds is just over three months away, which means it is time to start planning your trip to Lexington, Kentucky! For the second year in a row, the AEC, which is brought to you by the USEA and its organizing partners at Equestrian Events, Inc and Mary Fike, will return to the iconic Kentucky Horse Park from Aug. 27 to Sept. 1.

Official Corporate Sponsors of the USEA

Official Joint Therapy Treatment of the USEA

Official Feed of the USEA

Official Saddle of the USEA

Official Equine Insurance of the USEA

Official Forage of the USEA

Official Supplement Feeding System of the USEA

Official Competition & Training Apparel of the USEA

Official Horse Boot of the USEA