U.S. Olympic veteran Will Coleman rode his longtime partner, Obos O'Reilly, to the win in the Advanced division of the MARS Essex Horse Trials at historic Moorland Farm. Coleman finished cross-country with no jumping and 6.4 time penalties for a three-phase score of 42.10 penalties on the Four Star Eventing Group's 16-year-old Irish Sport Horse (OBOS Quality x Omard Clover Queen).
"My horse is like an old shoe. He just feels comfortable and familiar. He's been with me since he was 4 years old. He's been a wonderful horse for me and it's great for him to get the win," said Coleman. "It's my first time competing here. I thought the event was wonderful. It has everything you want in a marquee event. It's got atmosphere, a great cross-country course, a beautiful turf and great going. I think it's wonderful to go full circle back to this area and I hope it can continue for a long time to come. It's such a special event."
Following Thursday and Friday's heavy rains, course designer Morgan Rowsell shortened the cross-country course to 19 fences to ensure optimum conditions for the competitors. "The course rode great," said Coleman. "I think Morgan did an excellent job with the tracks and I think he deserves a lot of the credit."
Missy Miller and Quinn catapulted from 30th place in the Advanced division dressage to second with a final score of 59.80 penalties.
"It was such a great weekend. I love the horse trials here, they do such a great job," said Miller. "My horse tried really hard all weekend. He is amazing. The course rode really well, the striding was great along with the combinations. It such a beautiful venue. I love to compete here."
Local rider Megan Kepferle of Long Valley, NJ was third riding Anakin with an overall score of 61.50 penalties. Finishing fourth was Canadian Olympic veteran Jessica Phoenix with a score of 62.9 on Watson GS.
For a complete list of results, click here
About the MARS Essex Horse Trials
For three decades, the famed Essex Horse Trials was a major highlight on the equestrian calendar, attracting top American and international competitors as well as thousands of fans who enjoyed its social aspects as well. The event was originally conceived in 1968 by the Haller Family at Hoopstick Farm. Proceeds from the event benefit the Greater Newark LifeCamp in nearby Pottersville, which provides an enriching summer day camp experience for approximately 300 Newark-area youths for six weeks during July and August. Moorland Farm, a picturesque 230-acre property, provides the breathtaking setting for the event's current edition. It is the home of the annual Far Hills Race Meeting, a nationally prestigious steeplechase race meeting held each October. Mars, Inc., the original sponsor of the Essex Horse Trials, returned in 2017 and continues as the event's title sponsor. Presenting sponsors include Open Road Auto Group, Peapack-Gladstone Bank, RWJ Barnabas Health, Running 'S' Equine Veterinary Services, and AIG. For additional information, please visit www.essexhorsetrials.org.
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