Garden State Combined Driving Event Canceled
RELEASE: April 9, 2009
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By the American Driving Society
The Horse Park of New Jersey announced the cancellation of the Garden State Combined Driving Event, scheduled to be held at the Horse Park, May 29-30. The Horse Park has hosted the popular event since 1992.
The current economic climate in the United States has put a pall on all non-essential spending. "It's all about meeting expenses," said organizer Heather Walker. "Garden State must be self-supporting, as it has been for as long as I have been associated with the event. However, sponsorships are down: long-time loyal, generous supporters are giving half of their customary donations. Further, we polled a good number of drivers who were expected to compete at Garden State, and it appears that entries will be significantly reduced. So we have no chance of breaking even." Another major FEI event held at the Horse Park in May, the Jersey Fresh CCI***/CCI**, is in serious financial trouble, as are other shows in the area.
Garden State offered preliminary and training classes approved by the American Driving Society (ADS) until 2002, when it moved up a level and introduced the advanced division recognized by the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF). The following year, the event was sanctioned by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI). Since 2007, classes for all four levels of driving have been offered. The event has been a USEF selection trial since 2003, and hosted the USEF National Pairs Championship in 2005.
"This is unfortunate for everyone," said Horse Park President Nancy Hutcheson. "We have enjoyed getting to know the driving community, and so many people have told me how much they like the show." Garden State CDE is the only show of this level in the state of New Jersey. All donations and entries to the event received to date will be returned immediately.
The organizer will review the situation later this year and decide whether or not it is feasible to conduct a combined driving event in 2010.