Record Entries in the Garden State Combined Driving Event
RELEASE: May 14, 2010
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Heather Walker
The Horse Park of New Jersey will play host to the largest class of four-in-hands of horses ever to appear in the state next month at FEI CAI-B Allentown or, as it is more widely known, the Garden State Combined Driving Event, June 4-6.
“It’s the WEG [Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games] that’s bringing them here,” said Heather Walker, organizer of the event. “As a selection trial for the team that will represent the United States at the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky this October, Garden State plays an important role.”
Eleven fours are entered, coming from as far away as Bozeman, MT, and as nearby as Newton, NJ. “In addition to eight Americans, we have two Canadian drivers and one Australian, so this really is an ‘international’ show,” said Walker.
Among the Americans entered is current United States Equestrian Federation National Champion Chester Weber of Ocala, FL. Weber pulled off his record eighth national championship in March when he posted the only clear Cones round, in a thunderstorm, at the Live Oak International in Ocala. “I’m really excited to be showing at Allentown,” said Weber. “I’ve competed there and I’ve judged there, and I know the Horse Park is an outstanding facility.”
There will be several former USEF national champions participating at the Horse Park: Bill Long of Southern Pines, NC, and “native son” James Fairclough of Newton are competing. Sem Groenewoud of Sleepy Hollow, NY, who also has a world championship under his belt, is a member of the Ground Jury.
Also a selection trial for the single horses vying for a chance to compete at the FEI championships this summer in Italy, Garden State has drawn a large entry in that division as well. Reigning USEF national singles champion Robin Groves of Brownsville, VT, will go toe to toe with former champion Scott Monroe of Sharon, CT, who most recently won the title in 2006.
In addition to the FEI level classes, Garden State will host drivers in the Intermediate, Preliminary and Training divisions.
The Horse Park of New Jersey is located at 626 Route 524, Allentown, just 1.5 miles from Exit 11 on Route 195, and is operated under contract with the New Jersey Department of Agriculture and a not-for-profit educational organization, the Horse Park of New Jersey at Stone Tavern, Inc. Since it opened in 1983, park trustees and hundreds of volunteers have donated over 200,000 hours in beautification and fund raising efforts. In 1994, the first event of International interest, the National Hunter Pony Finals, were held at the Park. From March through November, equine events are scheduled for most weekends and many weekdays, including frequent multi-day events. Food vendors are on site during show days.
Admission to the Garden State Combined Driving Event is free. The Dressage phase of competition (a formal test set in an arena) is on Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; the cross-country marathon is on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.; and the drivers return to the arena for the final phase, Cones, on Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. For further information on the Horse Park of New Jersey, please call (609) 259-0170.