Welcome to the Essex Horse Trials at Moorland Farm! Few sports outside Eventing allow spectators to witness competition from such an up-close vantage point. We encourage you to experience each of the sport’s three disciplines – Dressage, Cross-Country and Show Jumping. They are all quite different and, together, are remarkable in the effort and teamwork they require of each horse and rider combination. Please feel free to explore and don’t hesitate to ask questions of volunteers or officials, who will be happy to assist you.
Coming to Essex
Horses Have the Right of Way
This is particularly true during the Cross-Country Phase where horses will be moving at speed on designated tracks. A rider is not responsible for avoiding collisions with spectators. It is your responsibility to stay out of the way of horse and rider.
- Always look both ways before moving and stay alert for warnings from officials.
- Stay behind marked barriers and ropes, and keep the area clear around cross- country jumps.
- Observe the advice or directions of fence judges on the cross-country course.
- Crossing the cross-country course is permitted, but always make sure that a horse is not coming and heed instructions from crossing monitors.
At times, spectator etiquette at equestrian competitions closely parallels that of major golf tournaments. Undue noises or sudden movements, even by a stroller or umbrella, can cause distractions to horses and riders and can affect the outcome of the competition – or, worse, cause an accident. Each of the phases requires concentration of both the horse and the rider.
- Dressage – Keep a safe distance from the Dressage arenas and avoid undue noise or any sudden movements that could distract the horse, but don’t hesitate to applaud when the horse has completed the test!
- Cross-Country and Show Jumping – Similarly, remain a safe distance away and stand still while the horse and rider approach a jump. Reserve your applause until they complete the cross-country jump, or in the case of the Show Jumping Phase, their course.
- Disturbing fellow patrons with loud conversation or inappropriate behavior is also not permitted and may result in removal from the competition grounds without a refund.
Do not assist a competitor while they are doing any of the three phases of the competition. Providing assistance to a rider during competition, whether solicited or not, is FORBIDDEN and may result in the competitor’s elimination. Shouting instructions and giving directions is considered unauthorized assistance. However, you are permitted to:
- Catch a loose horse
- Help a rider remount after a fall, or
- Hand a rider any part of his/her equipment, when they are either mounted or dismounted.
Do not hesitate to ask questions of volunteers and officials. If you are unsure of any of the rules, or just have general questions about the competition, the staff will be happy to assist you.
Small children should be closely watched and in the company of an adult at all times. Children are typically not aware of the danger that horses present. Horses will be traveling at speed this weekend and they may not see your child. You are responsible for your children!
Dogs Must Be Leashed
No exceptions! Loose dogs are a hazard to competing horses, will be impounded, and the owners fined $100.
Statement of Liability
Neither Essex Horse Trials Organizing Commitee nor Moorland Farm accept any responsibility for any theft, accident, injury or illness to horses, riders, employees or any person or property whatsoever.