Somerset County Equestrian Itineraries

Spend a weekend in the heart of New Jersey horse country! Whether you ride, compete or simply admire these magnificent animals, the following three itineraries offer several ways to get your fill of equine pursuits.

Each itinerary includes the opportunity to:

  • Attend a premiere steeplechase or equestrian competition
  • Tour the U.S. Equestrian Team Foundation Headquarters and Olympic Training Center
  • Enjoy the lodging and dining amenities of Somerset County’s picturesque countryside


 

Itinerary #1: Mars-Essex Horse Trials Weekend
June 23-24, 2018

–Day 1–

Mars-Essex Horse Trials (4-10 hrs)

You’ve arrived in Somerset County ready kick off your first day of fun, so head straight to the beautiful Moorland Farm in Far Hills for Day One of the Mars-Essex Horse Trials! If you have purchased Tailgate ticketing (includes 4 admissions) you will receive reserved hillside parking, or staffers will guide you to a designated parking area for general admission ticketholders. Gates open at 8am.

Spend your morning alternating between competition in the rings and enjoying activities for all ages, such as the Classic Car Show, Essex Market (featuring goods from area vendors), or the Children’s Activity Center.

Lunch (1-1.5 hrs)

Getting hungry? Enjoy an on-site lunch from local markets and food purveyors at The Farmstand, or travel on to one of many unique nearby restaurants.

U.S. Equestrian Team Foundation & Olympic Training Center (2 hrs)

Once you’ve satisfied your cravings, set out for the U.S. Equestrian Team Foundation in Peapack- Gladstone (a 10 minute drive), home to the U.S. Olympic training center and headquarters. Enjoy a tour* of the large stable built in 1916-17, ornate interior with carriage rooms (now executive offices), corridors, harness rooms, and of course the famous rings where the greats of the sports have trained. Equestrian history comes alive at this fascinating venue!

*Be sure to call ahead to schedule your tour to ensure that staff are prepared for your visit.

Late Afternoon Options

Ready to check out your accommodations? Now is the perfect time to check in at your accommodations of choice for a little R&R, a refreshing nap or an afternoon cocktail.

Or if you’re ready for more action, head back to Moorland Farms. Competition and activities remain open until 7pm on Saturday.

The Olde Mill Inn

Dinner and Overnight

Cap off the perfect day at your well-kept hotel or inn. Most of our suggested lodging options include on-site dining, however you may wish to explore other area dining options. After your meal, peruse downtown Basking Ridge or Bernardsville for seasonal events and shopping, or return to your room for a peaceful night’s rest.

 

–Day 2–


Mars-Essex Horse Trials (4-7 hrs)

Awake refreshed and ready for Day Two of the Mars-Essex Horse Trials! We recommend that you enjoy breakfast at your hotel and head back to the ring early since gates reopen at 8am. There are offerings from 8:30am-4pm on Sunday, so spend your morning getting your fill of the competition or checking out any tents or centers you may have missed on Saturday.

Lunch (1-1.5 hrs)

When you’re stomach starts to grumble, head to one of Somerset’s renowned area restaurants for a brief respite from the action, a refreshing beverage or a sweet treat.

Lord Stirling Stable (1-2 hrs)

Ready to get back in the saddle? Head to the Lord Stirling Stable in Basking Ridge for an afternoon trot or trail ride (guides available Sundays). Riders who can post the trot and are secure and comfortable at the canter may rent horses for a one hour ride in a large indoor ring, two outdoor rings, or 16 miles of well-maintained trails. Call 908 766-5955 ext. 32 for daily information.

Farewell to Somerset County

At the conclusion of your day, enjoy a relaxing dinner at a local restaurant before departing, or simply say farewell to your weekend in Somerset County with spectacular memories in tow!



Itinerary #2: Monmouth at the Team
August 13-19, 2018

–Day 1–

Monmouth at the Team (6-10 hrs)

You’ve arrived in Somerset County ready kick off your first day of fun, so make your way straight to Monmouth at the Team. This legendary event is hosted by the U.S. Equestrian Team Foundation at the iconic Hamilton Farm in Peapack-Gladstone, and is New Jersey’s oldest continuously run horse show.

Parking attendants will direct you to your spot for this admission-free event; just stroll into the facility to enjoy competition, high-end boutique shopping, fine foods from local purveyors and a silent auction from 8am until dark each day.


Meals

There’s no need to leave the event for refreshments. Simply purchase a table in the hospitality pavilion to enjoy continental breakfast, snacks, beverages (alcoholic and non), and appetizers each day. The delicious food and drink is paired with live music Thursday-Sunday, and spectators can partake in a full brunch on Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings.

Tours of the U.S. Equestrian Team Foundation Headquarters and Olympic Training Center as well as the jumping events of the competition, are held on Saturday and Sunday, so we recommend attending on August 18-19 for the most exciting experience.

Late Afternoon/Evening Options

Want to cool off or take a bit of a break from the crowd? Perhaps you’d like to check into your hotel or inn for a refreshing nap or an afternoon cocktail.

If you haven’t partaken in the afternoon and evening hors d’oeuvres at the hospitality tent, you might be ready for a delicious meal at one of Somerset County’s outstanding restaurants.

Depending on where you’ve chosen to stay, we suggest you spend the evening perusing one of our quaint or quirky downtowns, take in a show, or enjoy a quiet evening luxuriating at your hotel or inn.


Dinner and Overnight

Cap off the perfect day at your well-kept hotel or inn. Most of our suggested lodging options include on-site dining, however you may wish to explore other area dining options.

 

–Day 2–

Monmouth at the Team (6-10 hrs)

Return to the beautiful U.S. Equestrian Team Foundation Headquarters for another day of competition, food and fun! With action throughout the day and another opportunity for facility tours, you’re sure to stay entertained and mesmerized in this spot where the greats of equine sport have trained.

Lord Stirling Stable

If watching the competition makes you long to get back on the horse, take a trip to Lord Stirling Stable in Basking Ridge for an afternoon trot or trail ride (guides available Sundays). All riders who can post the trot and are secure and comfortable at the canter may rent horses for a one hour ride in a large indoor ring, two outdoor rings, or 16 miles of well-maintained trails. Call 908 766-5955 ext. 32 for daily information.

Farewell to Somerset County

At the end of a long and fulfilling weekend, relax over dinner at a local restaurant before departing, or bid adieu to your Somerset County getaway with plenty of Instagram-worthy shots on your camera.



Itinerary #3: Far Hills Race Meeting
October 20, 2018

–Day 1–

A Day at “The Hunt” (5-8 hrs)

You’ve arrived in the sprawling Somerset Hills donning your finest race attire and you’re ready to take in the country’s most prestigious steeplechase event…where to begin?

Although the gates open at 8am, “The Hunt”, as it’s called by locals, does not begin until 1pm. So if you find yourself nearby in the early morning, stop by downtown Bernardsville for a delicious breakfast to start your day.

For those arriving at Moorland Farm by car, parking attendants will be on hand to guide you to the perfect starting point. Have your ticket handy or purchase one at the gates, which open at 8am. Train and bus transport is also available.

If you’ve selected a general admission ticket, make a visit to Vendor Village first, where more than 30 area retailers can be found showcasing luxury merchandise. Allow some time to take in the high-society fashion, catered tents and equestrian culture. Then hit the food trucks, which are guaranteed to satisfy every palate, from empanadas to cupcakes, crepes to BBQ, and more!

If you have purchased a spot on the hilltop, you’re probably overseeing your own catered tailgate with friends in tow. Or if you’ve purchased admission to the Chairman’s Pavilion, you’ll be making a b-line for this upscale spot to enjoy trackside seating and elegant fare.

Then take in the thrill of the races – the sounds, smells and sights that combine to make this one of the most celebrated equestrian events in the world, with the country’s richest purse.

Dinner and Overnight

At the end of an electrifying day, check into one of Somerset County’s inviting hotels or inns, and wind things down with a cocktail and fine meal at one of Somerset County’s fine dining establishments.

Spend a quiet, cozy evening in your room before another fun-filled day of equestrian pursuits, explore the shops/galleries of nearby downtowns, or take in a show.

–Day 2–

With the races behind you, you’re probably left wanting more from the equestrian world. Start your morning breakfast at your hotel, inn or nearby restaurant, and then head out for a ride of your own.

Lord Stirling Stable (1-2 hrs)

Head to the Lord Stirling Stable in Basking Ridge for an afternoon trot or trail ride (guides available Sundays). Riders who can post the trot and are secure and comfortable at the canter may rent horses for a one hour ride in a large indoor ring, two outdoor rings, or 16 miles of well-maintained trails. Call 908 766-5955 ext. 32 for daily information.

Lunch (1.5 hrs)

You probably worked up an appetite in the ring or on the trail, find a cozy spot to enjoy lunch before learning about Somerset County’s equestrian tradition.

U.S. Equestrian Team Foundation & Olympic Training Center (2 hrs)

After you’ve satisfied your cravings, head to the U.S. Equestrian Team Foundation in Peapack- Gladstone (10 minutes), home to the U.S. Olympic training center and headquarters. Enjoy a tour* of the large stable built in 1916-17 with brick and concrete, reinforced with steel. The ornate interior includes carriage rooms (now executive offices), corridors and harness rooms with tile walls, terrazzo floors and brass fittings. Equestrian history comes alive at this fascinating venue!

*Be sure to call ahead to schedule your tour to ensure that staff are prepared for your visit.

Farewell to Somerset County

With equestrian racing and history flowing through your veins, your getaway to Somerset County has come to an end. Time to wave goodbye and head home with great stories to share with friends and family.