Articles: Horse News
$50,000 Grand Prix dedicated to Jack Benson
Garden State Horse Show to honor longtime loyal exhibitor and friend
April 24, 2010, AUGUSTA, New Jersey-The entire New Jersey horse show community has felt a great loss with the passing of Jack Benson on February 25.
The Garden State Horse Show (GSHS), now in its 59th year, will honor their longtime friend by dedicating the $50,000 Garden State Grand Prix to Jack. The Grand Prix, the highlight event of New Jersey's largest horse show, is slated for Saturday, May 8 at approximately 4 p.m.
"Jack has been an integral member of the Garden State Horse Show going back to the 80s when it was the Junior Essex Troop Horse Show. He always attended with significant entries from Briarwood," notes GSHS manager Tim Cleary.
Not only did he support the show as an exhibitor, but from the late 1980s forward, Jack was an important member of the show staff as a course designer and jump supplier. "As so many of us, the GSHS will miss Jack Benson, his expertise and guidance, incredible zeal, great sense of humor, and phenomenal camaraderie," Cleary emphasizes.
GSHS chairman Rodney Seelig compares Jack's dedication to that he and his fellow organizers of GSHS knew growing up in the Junior Essex Troop. "His barn, more than any other, exhibits a true sense of community and involvement that encompasses entire families, riders and non-riders alike. Briarwood comes to shows as a team, 'Jack's Team', and they participate together, as a group, in a sport that is all too often very individualistic..."
The GSHS committee is also working on the design for a perpetual/memorial trophy, "The Jack Benson $2500 Jumper Derby Trophy" that will be presented each year, beginning in 2011.
Along with his wife Katie, Jack did a great deal for the entire New Jersey horse show industry. Not only does Briarwood support the shows by consistently bringing many entries, but Jack and Katie also hosted a popular series of well-run shows at their farm in Readington. The one-day shows, with a full array of hunter and jumper divisions, often draw as many as 300 entries. The Bensons were also very supportive of the intercollegiate riding program.
For prize lists or questions regarding entries call 908-963-3465 or visit the show's website, www.gardenstatehorseshow.org.