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Kristin Hardin Joins the Woodside “Fence of Fame” with $10,000 Woodside Circuit Opener Grand Prix Victory

RELEASE: July 1, 2013

Kristin Hardin and Aran are too fast to beat in $10,000 Circuit Opener Grand Prix (Sheri Scott)
Kristin Hardin and Aran are too fast to beat in $10,000 Circuit Opener Grand Prix (Sheri Scott)
Woodside, CA
- The jump-off of the Woodside Circuit Opener (June 19-23) Grand Prix was a case of fast, faster, fastest, and it was veteran Kristin Hardin on the inexperienced Aran (Pamela Levin, owner) who topped the 24-horse field over Danny Foster’s challenging track.

Only four horse and rider combinations managed clear rounds over the demanding course, with the combination toward the end causing a number of rails. “It was definitely a test,” said Jenni McAllister. “You came off a turn, headed slightly uphill, and Danny built the combination to the maximum height and width.”

Jenni found the ticket to a clear round aboard Here I Come (LEGISequine.com, owner) as did Macella O’Neil on Charlemagne (Haley Schwab, owner), Harley Brown on his Cassiato, and Kristin on Aran. Danny used the entire ring for both his first round course and the jump off, where riders started off over an oxer and then immediately up the ramp of the bank complex to a big square oxer staged at the apex. They proceeded to a gallop downhill to a vertical, followed by a few turns, and then ending with a tight roll back to “B” of the final combination and a daring eight stride gallop to the Liverpool oxer.

Macella led off and never seemed to pull on the reins to post a fast time. Harley and Cassiato ate up the track with the grey gelding’s huge stride, and a few snug turns shaved time off Macella. Jenni was on track to beat Harley, but an unfortunate rail at the skinny relegated her to fourth. At the last, just Kristin was left. The determined Kristin guided Aran to a bold jump off and the mare demonstrated her natural quickness. “Going into the jump off I just took one jump at a time and hoped for the best,” Kristin recalled. “Aran is naturally a very hot-blooded, quick mare. Walking in, I thought, ‘We could win this thing,’ and we did. I’m proud of her for how far she’s come; she’s really blossomed into a fantastic horse.” With the fastest time, Kristin and Aran posed in front of the scoreboard while Kristin updated her Facebook status before leading the victory gallop. With the victory comes a special winner banner hung on the “Fence of Fame” in the Grand Prix Field at the Horse Park at Woodside.

Kristin now joins Jill Humphrey as a candidate for the LEGIS Jumper Rider Bonus and the two will be battling it out in the $10,000 Bayfest Grand Prix along with other top grand prix riders. Don’t miss it!

One of the younger riders in the class and owner of Macella’s third place mount, Haley Schwab and her own Wakyra showed they could hang with the big boys and girls when they placed tenth. “She jumped great! I can always trust her,” Haley exclaimed. This experienced young rider is attending the North American Junior and Young Rider Championships in Kentucky to compete on the Zone 10 Young Rider team. “This will be my second year going and I am really excited. When I found out Wakyra was the highest point qualifier, I just couldn’t resist! It should be a lot of fun.”

Hunter riders have some glory of their own at the Woodside shows, including the $2,500 USHJA Hunter Derby. It was amateur hour as Karen Landau (Diane Yeager, trainer) and her Vezna stole the blue over the field of 20 horses. Vezna knows his way around a derby course and has quite an impressive track record, including a spot in the top 20 of last year’s $500,000 Diamond Mills Hunter Prix Final at HITS Saugerties with Jimmy Turano. Karen and Vezna have been an A team since his purchase at the beginning of this year. “It’s kind of funny how I found him. A friend of mine tried him and thought he was my kind of horse. I took the trip down to see him and fell in love,” Karen said. “It was really cool because this was my first derby, and I was shocked when I ended up winning. Going into the ring, I just kept calm and focused on remembering my course, especially in the handy round. My strategy was taking it one jump at a time.” The pair earned a score of 89 in each round. Karen is thrilled with her win and plans on competing in the hunter derbies regularly.

New this year is the $500 Carousel Hunter Derby set at 2’6” to offer a stepping stone for junior and amateur riders who want the derby experience without the 3’ height. Patty Gill topped the class at Woodside Circuit Opener aboard her Well Said, while Maria Vail followed on her Alliance. This unique series, exclusive to LEG’s Northern California shows, will award a historic Carousel Perpetual Trophy to the leader at the end of the season. Rachel Penner currently holds the lead with Don Juan (Millennium Farm, LLC, owner), plus she’s in second with Kingsley just six points behind.

In the equitation ring, Jayme Omand (Kelly Van Vleck, trainer) topped the standings in both the WCE Medal and the Nor Cal Junior Medal, as well as the Flat Equitation for riders 15-17. Jayme has qualified for the majority of the medal finals and is especially looking forward to the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals. “I am leasing LEGIS Maloubet and he has really helped me with my jumper ride. I am qualified for the final, but I keep practicing by riding in Children’s Jumpers and the WCE.”

Langer Equestrian Group offers incredible incentives for the trainers who attend the Woodside shows. The famously coveted Maui Trainer Incentive offers the highest scoring overall trainer among the series of LEG’s Northern Califonria horse shows a free trip to Maui, Hawaii. Jessica Harrell of California Riding Academy currently holds the lead above trainer Hilary Johnson of Rose Hill stables by 15 points. Who will be lounging on the beach this year? Only time will tell.