By Nancy Jaffer
May 8, 2016
Did you miss Rolex Kentucky last weekend? Couldn’t make it to Badminton this weekend? There’s another chance to see top-notch eventing this spring, and it’s close to home.
Building on the success of last year’s competition, this week’s Jersey Fresh International Three-Day Event is continuing its progress at the Horse Park of New Jersey in Allentown, Monmouth County, with offerings for fans and families as it seeks to broaden its base.
Such major players as Buck Davidson and Boyd Martin (both of whom rode at Kentucky and Badminton), Kim Severson and Jessica Phoenix are among the large number of entries in the CCI 2- and 3-star as well as 2- and 3-star CICs offered at Jersey Fresh. The event is a selection trial for the Rio Olympics this summer.
Jersey Fresh, the Horse Park’s premier competition, is elevating its status in 2016.
“I’m hoping we can jump forward again this year,” said Brendan Furlong, whose B.W. Furlong and Associates veterinary practice boosted the event in 2015 with a $25,000 sponsorship. This year, that has grown to $30,000, while Brendan’s son, Adam, has gotten a number of smaller sponsors, including Zoetis and Merial.
Brendan believes that could be “the beginning of something where they can come in and get a title sponsor out of it.”
Tailgating at the biggest water obstacle has been a major hit at Jersey Fresh over the last few years, and this year it’s been so popular that a second area was opened up to accommodate demand.
“If we can keep on bringing people in, we can generate public interest and public awareness of it,” said Brendan.
As was the case last year, the cross-country course designed by John Williams will run past the members’ tent in the main ring, while the trade fair has been expanded and moved to an area near the grand prix arena.
“It was time to rethink the location and set-up of the trade fair from prior years,” said Dan Wunderlich, chair of the Jersey Fresh organizing committee.
“JFI has evolved into one of the most recognized three-day events in the county. We are committed to having all aspects of our event be first-class and, by moving the trade fair to a prime and more accessible location, we are assuring that everyone can enjoy a wide range of experiences amidst the excitement of the competition.”
It’s also an opportunity to buy, buy, buy, from Dubarry boots; bridle accoutrements and jewelry to match at Browbands with Bling and saddles from Devoucoux, as well as items from Quilted Horse Design, Svetlana Designs and The Fabulous Horse, among many others.
There will be more food vendors than in the past, including Fork in the Road’s food truck and Pretzelphoria.
Meanwhile, the state Equine Advisory Board will sponsor the New Jersey Equine & Agricultural Expo Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. It features displays by 4-H, Pony Club and other organizations. Children will be offered a free Breyer horse they can paint and take home, and pony rides also will be available.
On Sunday, the Zoetis Pony Chase will provide entertainment with racing Shetlands racing over hurdles.
General admission tickets for Saturday and Sunday are $10 per person. Children under 12 are admitted free of charge, as are 4-H and FFA members with ID; Pony Club members (with pin), and military members and their dependents with ID. Seniors 65 and older are admitted at a discount of $5 per person.
The Jersey Fresh International Three-Day Event/Horse Park of New Jersey is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, charitable and educational organization that relies on sponsors, volunteers and members to sustain operations. Further information is available at jfi3d.com, or about the Horse Park, at horseparkofnewjersey.com.