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The Junior Essex Troop held its first horse show in 1951. The one-day show became a three-day show and was the largest all-junior horse show on the East Coast. It became known as the Garden State Horse Show. In 1989 the show expanded to a five-day event, open to both junior and adult riders, and grew to be the largest AA-rated hunter/jumper horse show in New Jersey.

In 2011, the 60th Anniversary of the Garden State Horse Show, the show expanded again to include the Garden State Preview Show. The seven days of competition held over two weeks, draws as many as 1,500 exhibitors and over 1,000 spectators.

The Garden State Horse Show will make its move to the United States Equestrian Team Foundation headquarters at Hamilton Farm in Gladstone, New Jersey in 2019.

Over the years many international and Olympic athletes have competed at the Garden State Horse Show. Competitors include Olympic gold medalists McLain Ward and Chris Kappler, Olympic silver medalists Anne Kursinski and Peter Leone.