September 2016 - Winner's Circle
Written by CRM
Wednesday, 31 August 2016 20:13

Santa Barbara National Highlights

The 97th Annual Santa Barbara National Horse Show, July 13-17, demonstrated its staying power and popularity as an iconic West Coast horse show. The show’s Board of Directors asked Langer Equestrian Group to helm the show and exhibitors enjoyed five days of great competition and fun.

Kristin Hardin and Bert. Photo: Captured Moment Photography

Kristin Hardin and Elle. Photo: Captured Moment Photography

Six horses advanced to the jump-off in the $25,000 Markel Insurance Grand Prix, and Kristin Hardin proved she was going to be the one to beat. Always a fierce competitor, she had three horses vying for the top prize. Megan Rawlins built a challenging course in the historic, oval shaped Dome Arena and the audience came to cheer for exciting show jumping. They were not disappointed.

Kristin led off with Firestone S (Nicole Teague, owner) and clocked a speedy clear round in a time of 39.546. Kristin’s student Nikki Hirt took a shot with her Anaconda D, but trouble at the end of the jump-off resulted in four faults and a time of 53.366. Kristin returned on Aran (Pamela Levin, owner), and although clear, was slower in a time of 41.676.

Jenni McAllister was determined to challenge Kristin, but her mount, Cheetah (Rachel Baum, owner), was contesting only his second Grand Prix and the ambiance of the arena contributed to the brown gelding’s nerves. He dropped a rail coming out of the combination, but still posted a relatively fast time and settled into fourth.

Returning aboard Bert (Emily Cohodes, owner), her feisty, unorthodox partner, Kristin knew she had only herself to beat and shaved more than two seconds off her leading time and took the win. “Every class with him is special,” said Kristin. “Every jump I get to jump on him is a gift! He’s a really special horse who tries so hard for me. The third fence in the jump-off was the deciding factor between my three horses. He landed and almost turned before I asked him, which probably saved a couple of seconds right there. When Bert is ‘on,’ it’s pretty hard to beat him since he’s so quick!”

Kristin Hardin and Elle (Mark Cassar, owner) proved just how fast they could jump. “Elle is a firecracker and a diva of the highest order,” said Kristin. “There were a lot of options in a tight ring, so the course was really fun and challenging. Speed classes are great test of the rider’s ability to think slowly at speed and lots of fun for spectators too.”

With great acclaim from the riders and trainers alike, the 98th Annual Santa Barbara National looks to be even bigger and better!

Press release provided by LEG Up News.

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