The New Jersey Region Pony Club hosts their annual Horse Trials in June at the Horse Park of New Jersey in Allentown, New Jersey (Area I). They offer Beginner Novice through Modified levels on Sunday and host a Fun Day on Saturday featuring Pre-Starter and Starter levels.
The United States Pony Club (USCP) is celebrating 65 years this year, and the New Jersey Region Pony Club is home to one of the founding USPC Clubs – the Somerset Hills Pony Club. “The New Jersey Region is in charge of all the Clubs and Centers in New Jersey,” explained Cathy Brogan, regional supervisor for the New Jersey Region Pony Club and organizer of the NJ Region’s Horse Trials. “Currently we have eight clubs and two centers. The United States Pony Club has approximately 600 clubs and 44 regions in the United States.”
The New Jersey Region Pony Club has seen many top riders move through its ranks over the years, including Sinead Halpin, Lynn Symansky, and Doug and Holly Panye. “We have a long history of being involved in the eventing world,” Brogan commented. “It’s educating people to become better horsemen and better riders. We’ve had so many wonderful names come through Pony Club. It’s a very large family.”
The NJ Region’s Horse Trials began as a schooling horse trials at the Horse Park of New Jersey in the fall of 2010, moving to a June date in 2011. “We continued to run it as a schooling horse trials through 2017 and then switched to recognized in 2018 – it was time to move up,” Brogan said of the decision to become a USEA recognized event. “We had enough experience, we’d been using the correct officials, et cetera, and we wanted to move up and become a recognized event. That was the normal progression for us.”
The Horse Park of New Jersey, which is home to the Jersey Fresh International Three-Day Event, ESDCTA New Jersey Horse Trials, and Horse Park of New Jersey Horse Trials, offers a 185-acre multi-use equestrian venue and cross-country courses for all levels that the New Jersey Regions Pony Club takes advantage of for their yearly event. Morgan Rowsell, course builder and designer at the Horse Park, also serves as designer for the NJ Region’s Horse Trials. “Morgan has been a huge help in making the quality of what we’re doing increase every year.”
“It’s a wonderful family and getting all the people together to do something we all love, it embodies what the sport is all about – volunteer-based competitions,” Brogan said of organizing the horse trials. “It’s an event to prepare the all-around horseman. We run a fun day on Saturday which offers Pre-Starter and Starter and it’s attended by kids all the way up through seniors. They just go out and ride an 18-inch or 24-inch cross-country course that’s flagged and numbered, and they can ride it twice for their entry fee. Just seeing everyone have a good time is what it’s all about.”
All the proceeds from the event are funneled right back into the Pony Club to pay for things like entry fees for Championships and national testing. “We do try to make some money, but it’s not a whole lot. And it all goes back to the Pony Club,” Brogan explained. “Every year our money gets spent, but we’re a non-profit so that’s what you expect – we don’t accumulate it.”
“This year we’re offering $1,000 prize money in all the open divisions,” she shared. “It’s not a lot, but it’s an enticement to the trainers to come and compete. It’s not going to make you rich but it’s better than nothing – it covers the entry fee and then some! We’re offering it at all levels – Beginner Novice, Novice, Training, and Modified.”
“We are well-organized – it’s a fun and challenging day, and a safe day!”
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