A Founding Club: Eastern States Dressage and Combined Training Association

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Jack Fritz and Lazelle Knocke helped to found both ESDCTA and USDF. USDF File photo

The late USDF Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Lazelle Knocke and the late Roemer Foundation/USDF Hall of Fame inductee Capt. John H. “Jack” Fritz are among the prominent founding members of the club formerly known as the Eastern States Dressage Association. The New Jersey-based GMO launched in 1969, with Lazelle’s husband, Fred Knocke, as its first president.

Fritz was instrumental in calming the waters and keeping things moving forward at USDF’s founding meeting in 1973. Sensing the need for someone to keep order, Lowell Boomer called on Fritz’s experience as a college professor.

The New Jersey-based ESDCTA has enviable proximity to Hamilton Farm in Gladstone, NJ, home to the United States Equestrian Team Foundation headquarters. The iconic main barn with its ornate trophy room overlooks the Dick and Jane Brown Arena, site of many US Equestrian Team Dressage Festival of Champions competitions and Olympic and World Equestrian Games dressage selection trials. Unfortunately for the ESDCTA’s eventing members, much of the facility’s land was sold off in the 1990s, spelling the end of ESDCTA’s cross-country schooling sessions at Gladstone and its Eventing Team Competition there.

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