Kristin Hardin had all of the answers to Mauricio Garcia-Ballesteros' (PUR) $30,000 Memorial Day Grand Prix course, placing first and third on Aran (Pamela Levin, owner) and Bert (Emily Cohodes, owner), respectively. "I'm just really excited. This win is huge, particularly for Aran's owner. She bought Aran herself and surprised me with her a couple of years ago," Kristin recalled. "Pamela is a great horsewoman and saw the potential in her. I'll admit that I didn't have as much faith as she did at the time, but Aran has turned out to be an incredible, competitive horse. When it's her day, she's super hard to beat and incredibly fast."
It certainly was Aran's day at the Memorial Day Classic (May 21-25), and she proved impossible to beat in the electrifying jump off, despite fierce competition from Jenni McAllister and Kristen Vanderveen. The three riders all navigated the first round cleanly, with Jenni qualifying Casseur de Prix (Granville Equine, owner) and LEGIS Venice (LEGISequine.com, owner) for the jump off and Kristen qualifying Bull Run's Eternal (Bull Run Jumpers One LLC, owner). For the other competitors, rails came down all over the course, including the triple combination, a tight four stride, and the final oxer.
"The field was a very mixed group of competitors, so I wanted to build a course that would be challenging enough for the experienced riders, but not too scary for inexperienced riders," Mauricio noted. "I wanted to test what the horses and riders have learned throughout the week. The questions I asked in the Grand Prix today were more or less the same ones I had been asking all week, but all in one course."
"I thought it was a really good course," Jenni commented. "It had a lot of technical difficulties. There was some tricky stuff like the way he placed the jumps going into the crowd and some difficult turns. I thought he did a really good job." Kristin agreed, adding, "I loved the course design and particularly the interesting placement of the fences. I thought the jump off was super."
Kristin Hardin and No Pablo No say yes to the
$2,500 GGT Footing 1.20M-1.25M Classic.
Photo: Flying Horse Photography
Jenni opened the jump off with Casseur de Prix and knew she had a tough task ahead of her. "I knew both of Kristin's horses were really fast, so I wanted to be clean with Casseur to put the pressure on," Jenni recounted. "I was planning to put down a pretty tough time to beat, but unfortunately he slipped in the rollback and that slowed me down a bit." Even with the slip, Jenni went clean with a time of 42.09 seconds.
Kristin went next on Aran and flew through the jump off with ease, stopping the timers at 37.74 seconds. When asked what her jump off plan was, Kristin responded with a laugh, "I just tried to go as fast as I could. Isn't that always the plan?" With the time to beat set fast and furious, Kristen, who was the winner of Friday's $7,500 1.35M Jumpers class, tried valiantly to catch Aran's time. The crowd roared as she sailed clear over the last oxer, but she was just a hair slower with a time of 37.81 seconds. Jenni and LEGIS Venice unfortunately dropped the last rail and Kristin and Bert went clean for third place.
"Bert is just as capable of winning as Aran, but sometimes he actually jumps too high and the time he spends in the air slows us down," Kristin shared. "But I don't really care; just the thrill of jumping him is awesome. Bert is the other love of my life and he always tries so hard for me."
It was a banner weekend for Kristin Hardin, who earned over 15 wins on eight different horses in this year's Memorial Day Classic. Earlier on the grass field, Kristin put on quite a show in the $2,500 GGT Footing 1.20M-1.25M Classic. She rode several horses in the class, but her most exciting rounds were with No Pablo No (Terry Konkle, owner). "I knew something was wrong in the middle of the round because she suddenly felt very strong," Kristin recounted. "It turns out the bridle had broken and I literally had no control. Thank God she's such an amazing horse and listens to my leg!" Despite the mishap, Kristin and No Pablo No still went clear and opted to come back to jump off at the end of the class so they could fix the bridle.
Kristin Hardin and Aran triumph in the
$30,000 Memorial Day Classic Grand Prix
Photo: Flying Horse Photography
When they returned, Kristen Vanderveen and Bull Run's Joyous (Bull Run Jumpers Two LLC, owner) were in the lead with a time of 36.67 seconds. "I knew Kristen went super fast so I just went for it," Kristin shared. The excitement continued in the jump off when No Pablo No balked at the LEG jump and then leapt over it nearly from a stand still. Kristin recovered quickly and kept galloping to the next fence. "You just have to pick up your eye and keep going," Kristin said. "She was perfect after that and I was able to leave out a stride in the last line easily." The pair flew over the final fence and stopped the timers at 35.63 seconds for the win.
The class was sponsored by GGT Footing, and Kristin won a GGT Footing saddle pad and tray along with her blue ribbon. "I love riding in the GGT Footing. It makes a huge difference with the horses and how they jump," Kristin said. "The horses jump great on it and it builds their confidence."
Horses and riders enjoyed the GGT Footing in the Large Oval, where the CPHA Foundation Equitation class was held. Halie Robinson (Elvenstar Farm, trainer) continued her winning weekend with Campino (Elvenstar Farm, owner) with another blue ribbon in the CPHA Foundation Equitation class. The pair also won the WCE Junior-Amateur Medal and Pessoa/USEF Hunter Seat Medal classes.
"My trainer Jim Hagman just imported Campino from Europe about a month ago. He's eight years old and did jumpers in Europe, but equitation is pretty new for him," Halie shared. "He's come along very quickly with all the new things he's had to learn like work offs, which were totally foreign to him."
Annette Peterfy and Carrera take home the win in the $1,000 EQU Lifestyle Boutique Amateur Owner Hunter Classic. Photo: Flying Horse Photography
The difficult course in the CPHA included a short inside turn, a halt after a three stride, a two-stride combination, and a counter canter fence after the halt. "I really liked the course because there was a very similar inside turn when I competed at the medal finals in Harrisburg last year," Halie recalled. "I was focused on troubleshooting that turn and getting Campino to jump as softly as he can. He did a great job following my directions."
Though Campino brought home several blue ribbons this weekend, Halie was happier with his steady improvement. "I'm really happy that we've won a lot at this show, but honestly with the younger horses I don't care about the results so much as making sure they are having a positive experience and learning," Halie noted. "We just went in the Equidome 20 minutes ago and he's already improved since that round. He just has a fantastic mind and personality, and I'm lucky to be able to show him the ropes in equitation."
In the hunter arena, Annette Peterfy (Sovereign Place, trainer) won the $1,000 EQU Lifestyle Boutique Amateur Owner Hunter Classic aboard Carrera (Pinon West LLC, owner). Junior rider Micaelin Hasenauer (Michael Edrick, trainer) was champion in the Children's Hunters, 15 thru 17, on Cloppenberg (Jet Pets Equine, owner) and the pair also won the $500 Children's Hunter Classic. The winner of the $500 Adult Hunter Classic was Olivia Esse (Makoto Farms and Chris Pratt, trainers) on Connotation (Oscany Inc., owner).