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Friday, September 29, 2023

Hannah Sue Hollberg won both Open Intermediate and Open Preliminary at Essex Horse Trials

FAR HILLS, N.J.--Hannah Sue Hollberg of Kennett Square, Pa., won both the $10,000 Open Intermediate and Open Preliminary divisions at the Essex Horse Trials on June 4.

Hannah Sue Hollberg on Hachi AK Dragoo PhotographyHannah Sue Hollberg on Hachi (Photo by AK Dragoo Photography)She won with two horses that are fairly new to her

Some difficulty on cross-country did not stop Hollberg on Hachi from winning the Open Intermediate with a score of 101.6, while in Open Preliminary she rode Rockster to finish on his dressage score of 27.3.

The Essex Horse Trials dressage and show jumping phases were held June 3-4 at Hamilton Farm, home of the USET Foundation Headquarters in Gladstone, NJ, and the cross-country was held at the historic Moorland Farm in Far Hills.

“The weather couldn’t have been better this weekend,” Hollberg said. “It’s unfortunate we’ve had so little rain lately, but they did a great job with the footing and put on such a great show. It’s so much fun coming here because of all the tailgaters. With everybody cheering for you, it feels like such a big-time event, and I wish more people would come to enjoy such a beautiful show.”


IN THE $10,000 Open Intermediate division, Hollberg on Hachi was second following Saturday’s dressage and show jumping tests.

Hachi did not have the best cross-country run with a few glance-offs and a circle in the water, but Hollberg used this as a positive learning experience with the goal of moving him up to Advanced.

“I just got him in late December from Phillip Dutton, who took him up to the 3* level in about two years,” Hollberg said. “He was a show jumper before that, competing at events like Spruce Meadows in Canada. He’s such a character and a really cool horse, but we’re still getting to know each other. I did one 3*-Short at TerraNova in Florida this spring, and I’m still sorting out his bit and working on our turns.

“I thought it was a great course today, but he jumps so big that we didn’t quite lock onto a few of the questions,” she said. “This was a pretty hard track, but now I know where we’re at as a team. That’s really why I wanted to come here with him – it’s always such a good event, and I learned what we still need to work on.”

In the Open Preliminary division, Hollberg’s focus on flat work paid off as she rode Rockster to an early lead and held it throughout the weekend.

“The jumping’s always been there with Rockster, but when I first got him in January, he was a little off the bridle,” Hollberg said. “I’m so thrilled that he came in and won the dressage this time, and with the best score he’s ever earned. Then he jumped clear in the show jumping, and I knew he’d be amazing on cross-country. Once you get him in and out of the box, he’s on autopilot. He deserved this win completely.

“Tricia’s had him since he was 4, and I’m so grateful she reached out to me when it came time to sell him,” she said. “I hope to find him a perfect little rider because he’s so ready for someone else to just have a blast riding around.”

Other division champions included Caroline Pamukcu of Riegelsville, Pa., on her Billy Be Jolly in Open Training with a score  of 24.3; Sierra Lesny of Camp Hill, Pa., on Sebastian in Training Rider, scoring 28.1; Lee Maher of Springtown, Pa. on Redfield Lennon in Open Novice, 18.6; Peyton Brienza of Califon, N.J., on The Brave Little Toaster in Novice Rider, 27.2; Kylie Stangle on Redfield Mikke in Open Beginner Novice, 25.5; and Savannah Gibbins of Califon, N.J., on Kenzo De La Roque in Beginner Novice Rider, 28.8.

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