By Nancy Jaffer
December 24, 2015
The Middlesex County Horse Show moved to Monmouth County, New Jersey, several years ago. The Monmouth County show moves to Somerset County, New Jersey in 2016. But the Sussex County Horse Show, which marks its 80th anniversary this August, is staying put.It’s under new leadership — Robin Rost Fairclough, who has the right pedigree to be chairman of the show committee. Her late father, Robert Rost, took Sussex from a low-key affair when he arrived on the scene in 1955 to the big time.
“It was his favorite show,” she said of her father, who at one time managed a mini-series of prominent shows in the region: Orange County, New York; Sussex, known fondly as Branchville (some people still call it that after its original location) and Monmouth.
“His dedication to the show was immense,” she commented, noting that he also was the chairman. Doc Rost (he was a veterinarian) brought Sussex to the point where it was a regular stop for some of the country’s best riders, such as Bernie Traurig and Rodney Jenkins in the 1970s and early 1980s.
Things are different today, with many shows vying for the same dates and the same riders. There is intense competition among the shows, not like the era when exhibitors came to the same show year after year because there weren’t many choices. Organizing a show is different too, and far more complicated than it used to be.
“It’s a lot of time-consuming effort,” acknowledged Robin, a trainer and show jumper, about her efforts with Sussex. But she loves the show, which in effect is a legacy from her father, making it doubly important.
“That’s why I’ve stayed on and stayed this involved,” she explained.