An evening of wine and equine

The National Resource Conservation Service and the Rutgers Extension Service are partnering again in a free program geared to helping horse farm owners learn about environmental management and equine nutrition while enjoying vintages from New Jersey wineries.

Those attending will be told how to obtain funding for projects through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and find out about the latest in environmental research. All that is required from those who would like to attend is an RSVP to or

The program runs from 5:30-7:30 p.m.Oct. 11 at Hidden Hills Farm, 656 River Road, Hillsborough.

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Offer a helping hand to disaster victims

A number of equine organizations are helping to support rescue and rehabilitation efforts in areas of Texas and Louisiana hit by Hurricane Harvey.

The USEF Equine Disaster Relief Fund is working with the Houston SPCA. According to USEF CEO Bill Moroney, “As part of our commitment to the health, welfare, and safety of horses, the USEF disaster relief fund was created to assist horses impacted by devastating natural disasters such as Hurricane Harvey. The outreach and generosity of the equestrian community to support the ongoing emergency assistance in this and future disasters allows us to provide direct financial assistance to the groups involved in the ongoing rescue efforts.”

Click to donate. For more information, contact Vicki Lowell,

The American Association of Equine Practitioners also is marshaling resources to help out. Donations by mail can be sent to: Equine Disaster Relief Fund, AAEP Foundation, 4033 Iron Works Parkway, Lexington, Ky 40511. Call (800) 443-0177 (U.S. only) or (859) 233-0147.

If you wish to offer assistance with supplies or other resources, please email Keith Kleine at and you will be contacted with further instructions.

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Talent Search set for USET Foundation

The most testing of the national equitation championships, the four-part Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals East, will be held Oct. 7 and 8 in Gladstone at the U.S Equestrian Team Foundation headquarters off Pottersville Road.

There is no admission fee, so it’s a chance to see how some of the country’s best young riders face the challenges offered by the class. It starts at 8 a.m. Oct. 7 with the flat phase, then moves on at 1 p.m. to the gymnastics section, which is an interesting test of horse and rider. At 8 a.m. Oct. 8, all the riders will jump a course that tests their technical ability. At 1 p.m. that day, the top four will jump a shorter course, then switch off to ride each other’s mounts over the same route.

The class, which has 54 riders qualified to compete will be judged by grand prix riders Jimmy Torano and the 1990 winner McLain Ward, who is representing the U.S. in the FEI Nations’ Cup final the weekend before the Talent Search.


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UPDATE: Arena eventing replaces dressage at Central Park Show

There were days of silence after plans for the world-class dressage competition at the Rolex Central Park Horse Show was cancelled last weekend, but it is being replaced by arena eventing on the Sept. 23 Saturday night of the fixture.

The world’s three top-ranked dressage riders as of August, Isabell Werth of Germany, the USA’s Laura Graves and Carl Hester of Great Britain, where slated to compete at the Wollman Rink in the heart of New York city. But on the heels of the European championships, “recent unforeseen circumstances have impacted several competitors, forcing their withdrawal from the event,” according to a statement from the organizer of the event.

Boyd Martin and Phillip Dutton  are among those who have signed on for the 8 p.m. arena eventing, which combines show jumping and simulated cross-country at the intermediate/2-star level. It was a big hit in its debut at the Devon Horse Show last May, when the course was designed by Mark Phillips, who will also do the honors in New York. Other riders participating will include Jennie Brannigan, Holly Payne-Caravella and her brother, Doug Payne, as well as two exciting English imports, Burghley winner Oliver Townend and the great William Fox-Pitt. Sara Kozumplik-Murphy, who won at Devon, is also competing.

Meanwhile, the world’s highest-ranked riders in show jumping are set to compete at the show. Kent Farrington, number one in the international standings, and his friend and rival, McLain Ward, number two, will participate Sept. 21 in the evening’s $40,000 speed class, and the night of  Sept. 22 in the $216,000 3-star Grand Prix.

A series of hunter classics is featured on the afternoon of Sept. 23, highlighted by the $50,000 Duchossois Cup.

The Central Park competition begins Sept. 20 with an Arabian show. It ends on Sunday, Sept. 24 with exhibitions and free admission

For tickets, go to

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The Tewksbury Trail Pace rides again

(Don’t forget to check out the New Jersey Activities Schedule at the bottom of the On the Rail column)

The Tewksbury Trail Association’s Trail Pace, which draws more riders than any other such competition in the state, is moving into new territory Sept. 17.

Usually held at Christie Hoffman Farm Park in the township, it instead will start at the Hill & Dale Preserve North at Hill & Dale Road and Parsonage Lot, crossing Hill & Dale three times. The route also is going into the South Preserve and the Cold Brook Preserve, where farmer Scott Clucas has cleaned up the trails. There is a choice of a six- or nine-mile ride, with two divisions, adult and junior.

The ride benefits the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, which has been instrumental in preserving land on Hill & Dale and elsewhere. For more information, go to

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Essex masters’ pace offers family fun

Racing in an informal atmosphere, from adult amateur competition down to pony and stick pony races, are featured at the Essex Foxhounds Masters’ Chase Sept. 30 at Natirar, the Somerset County park on Main Street in Peapack.

This is an event to which you can bring the family for a relaxing day to benefit the Countryside Alliance of the Somerset Hills. Pony rides, tailgating and a hound parade are part of the gathering.

Gates open at 10 a.m., with races at noon. General admission is $40 per car and tailgate spaces are $500/car. Since it’s a county facility, you can also leave your car in general parking for free and walk over to watch the action. For more information, go to


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Omaha stays in the picture

If you thought you’d heard the last of Omaha when the Longines FEI World Cup Show Jumping and Dressage World Cup finals wrapped up, think again.

The Omaha Equestrian Foundation, which presented the incredibly successful Cup competition, is keeping busy.

It is offering an opportunity for anyone interested in the eight international disciplines (show jumping, dressage, para-equestrian, driving, eventing, reining, vaulting and endurance) to meet with the country’s top equestrian athletes, trainers, team managers, chefs d’equipe, coaches, veterinarians, physiotherapists and other leaders.

Lisa Roskens, who brought the Cups to Omaha and came up with the idea for the foundation, said it is committed to bringing more international-caliber competitions to the Midwest, developing opportunities for riders who aspire to perform at the highest levels of their equestrian discipline.

“We want those who are interested in these disciplines to have a chance to hear first-hand the vision held by the leaders and decision-makers of the sport,” she said, “and to be able to talk with other horsemen who share their interests in international equestrian disciplines. OEF is proud to host US Equestrian’s first-ever High Performance Review.”

Who will you see in Omaha? Show jumping coaches Robert Ridland and Anne Kursinski, dressage coaches Robert Dover and Debbie McDonald, as well as eventing individual gold medalist and coach Leslie Law.

“This will be the first time we have ever gathered representatives of all the FEI  international discipline High Performance Programs together for the express purpose of determining how we can  meet our goal of sustained success at the World and Games level,” said Will Connell, US Equestrian’s Director of Sport.

“We want to bring all perspectives together to determine how we are better able to meet challenges in the future, grab opportunities as they arise and ensure that we are truly focused on developing performance.  If we are to be truly effective at supporting our athletes (human and equine) to deliver medal winning performances, then we must be willing to challenge the effectiveness of ourselves and our programs,” Connell said.

Those interested in attending the dinner, forums and clinic can find more information at or by calling 402-930-3079.

Meanwhile, the foundation is starting the InIt2WinIt Speed Jumping Series,  five nationally televised  1.40-meter speed jumping events that will culminate in the $100,000 Championship at 1.45 meters at the International Omaha in Omaha, Nebraska on April 13, 2018.

The InIt2WinIt Speed Jumping Series kicks off its first qualifying event Sept. 22 at the HITS Balmoral show in Chicago with a $25,000 Open Speed Class qualifier. The American Royal in Kansas City, Missouri will feature a $25,000 InIt2WinIt qualifying class Oct. 13. Queenie Productions will host a $20,000 InIt2WinIt Open Speed class as a qualifier Nov. 11, 2017 at the St Louis Hunter/Jumper Show in the National Equestrian Center in Missouri. The final qualifying competition will be the $10,000 Monarch Casino jumper stake at the National Western Stock Show in Denver, Colorado on Jan. 12, 2018.

“The InIt2WinIt Speed Jumping Series is part of OEF’s mission to produce international caliber equestrian events that change the way the sport is presented in this country, and to develop Omaha into a hub of the sport horse industry,” said Lisa.

“We want to attract international championships as both educational and economic development opportunities for the community.” To fulfill its strategic plan, OEF seeks to create opportunities for high performance athletes from the Midwest and develop young riders with a clear path to higher levels in the sport.

The International Omaha 2018 will also feature its signature jumping competition, the $130,000 International Omaha Grand Prix. In addition, it will host high level team dressage competition and a Dressage Showcase in conjunction with the United States Dressage Foundation.

All events will be held at the World Cup venue, the CenturyLink Center Omaha, which won rave reviews from World Cup competitors, vendors and fans. The four-day event April 12-15, 2018 is designed to be the Great Equestrian Gathering in the Midwest, according to Mike West, CEO of the foundation.

For ticket, sponsor, VIP and vendor information, call 402-932-4124 or go

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An opportunity to play it safe on International Helmet Awareness Day (s)

Need a new helmet? Don’t put off buying one any longer. Many tack shops are offering deals for International Helmet Awareness Day, which actually has expanded to two days, Saturday Sept. 16 and Sunday Sept. 17. Locally in New Jersey, the Dover Saddlery chain (Branchburg) is offering 30 percent off helmets, and Beval Saddlery in Gladstone is doing 20 percent off and a free polo both days. Check with your local store to see what they’re doing for this important opportunity.

The “day,” now a weekend, is the result of a campaign by Riders4Helmets, founded in 2010 as a result of American Olympic dressage rider Courtney King-Dye’s near-fatal accident when she was schooling a young horse who fell. Courtney was not wearing a helmet, leaving her with severe head injuries.

More than just an occasion for a discount on a helmet, the day also is a time for education about head injuries and the importance of wearing the right headgear when riding. Learn more at this link

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Fun things are happening at the Horse Park of New Jersey

Several activities at the Horse Park of New Jersey this month and into the autumn will benefit the Jersey Fresh International, the park’s premier competition

On  Oct. 15, the Jump for Jersey Derby and Dressage event will be held. The levels are Starter through Novice for the Derby. For dressage, it’s the fix a test of your choice. Pre-registration required, with special rates for HPNJ members.

British trainer Lucinda Green will give a clinic Oct. 12  and13 at the Horse Park.

More information is available at or contact Jane Cory at 215-262-2870 or


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Doping test positives down this year for USEF shows

Comparing the first six months of 2016 and 2017, there has been more than a 25 percent reduction in positive doping tests performed by the U.S. Equestrian Federation for the hunter, jumper and equitation divisions.

Is that a result of greater publicity about violations this year and stronger penalty guidelines that were approved more than year ago?

“Some of it very well may be,” said a spokesperson for the organization.

“We certainly hope that US Equestrian’s firm stance on intolerance of these type of violations is being recognized,” she said.

Enhancement of penalty guidelines for abuse and welfare violations were voted on in July, so there is hope that those violations will be reduced as well.

Doing all this costs money, so USEF is increasing its membership fee for the first time in 10 years from $55 to $80. For reference, the U.S. Hunter Jumper Association’s active membership is $85.

The increase “will allow us to address these issues and re-invest back into growing our sport at all levels, not just elite levels,” USEF President Murray Kessler said in a letter to members.

“A primary area of investment will be to bring unrated shows into the US Equestrian family and encourage the return of B- and C-rated shows. Our sport can’t be strong without a strong foundation. We will also continue to invest in education, learning center videos, communication tools, athlete pathways, trainer certification, and the like. Finally, developmental funds will be allocated to help grow the sport across all breeds and disciplines.”

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