Kristin Hardin and Bert Win the GGT-Footing Grand Prix

The Huntington Beach Surf Classic's special classes and weekend activities provided spectators and exhibitors a fun weekend of events and competition in the beautiful beachside city.

The most difficult class to judge: Leadline. Photo by Captured Moment Photography for West Palms Events         

Saturday afternoon began with the GGT-Footing Grand Prix Pre Party Sponsored by Windsong Farm benefiting Horse Nation Foundation. The event is a pre cursor to Horse Nation Foundation's Annual Gala at the Huntington Beach Summer Classic, August 13, 2017.  Tickets are selling out quickly, buy yours by clicking here!

The Foundation is a nonprofit program that pairs rescued horses with young people who are working on life-enriching lessons including gang and bullying avoidance, effective communication and building strong morals and values. The horses in this program have suffered abuse and neglect, and are receiving a second chance at life with kindness and proper care. The youngsters who interact with them are working toward building a strong emotional foundation in order to grow into confident, productive individuals. This innovative educational program helps the kids gain self-esteem and life skills through positive action and horsemanship skills.

We moved into the arena to celebrate 11 lead line riders participating in the event, arguably the most difficult class of the week to judge. Guest judge and course designer Paul Jewell was stumped and awarded blues and special prizes to the adorable kids and their horses!

Style of Riding Awards are always a pleasure for the judges to award to the riders who showed the best style and way of going consistently throughout the week. This week, Hailey Link was awarded the Junior Rider Style of Riding Award and Haley Webster earned the Amateur Rider Style of Riding Award! Congratulations on your fantastic week of competition!

Hailey Link was awarded the Junior Style of Riding Award. Photo by Captured Moment Photography for West Palms Events

We were honored to have Cynthia Brewster-Keating, the GGT- Footing Sales Team National Account Manager, make the trip from South Carolina to attend the Huntington Beach Surf Classic for the GGT-Footing Grand Prix!

"What I love about the Huntington Beach Horse Show Series is that after the show you have the opportunity to go down to the ocean and enjoy the many restaurants and adorable shops that are by the beach. I saw many riders in their britches and boots after the show downtown enjoying the great atmosphere," explained Brewster-Keating. "Due to its coastal location, the weather is typically cooler and the horses and exhibitors seems to really enjoy the break from the normal summer hot weather. GGT-Footing was proud to sponsor tonight's Grand Prix and we have are excited to continue working with Dale Harvey and his West Palms Events' team. We hope all exhibitors a wonderful time and hope that the spectators enjoyed tonight's performance."

Haley Webster is awarded the Amateur Style of Riding Award Photo by Captured Moment Photography for West Palms Events

The field of riders tackled Paul Jewell's course in the first round, which included one triple combination and a double combination with a triple bar out of a roll back turn. With six advancing into the jump-off, they faced eight obstacles, including one double combination! Fence eight proved to be the most challenging in the jump off for the riders and their mounts, with it coming down for three of the riders.

Kristin Hardin and Bert take the win in the GGT-Footing Grand Prix Shown from left: Taylor Spooner of WPEM, Dean Hendrickson for GGT-Footing, Cynthia Brewster-Keating of GGT- Footing, and Kristin Hardin on Bert Photo by Captured Moment Photography for West Palms Events

Kristin Hardin and Bert lead the way in the six horse jump off, leaving the arena with a clean round and a scorching time of 40.056! The next three riders each had faults, leaving Hardin and Bert in the lead with only two to go. Laura Ware and Ursina du Perchet marched into the arena and put up a clean round in a pace just off the lead, in 41.214 to move into second. Last to go was Hardin on her second mount, Firestone S. They had a bobble at fence eight and had a rail, but were the fastest of the four faulters to take third place! Hardin took first on Bert, with Ware just behind them in second place and Hardin wrapped up the top three on Firestone S! Congratulations!

Kristin Hardin takes first place on Bert and third on Firestone S in the GGT-Footing Grand Prix. Photo by Captured Moment Photography for West Palms Events

"Tonight's class was great," said Hardin. "The course designer did an expert job building in a tight area. It was challenging, but fair. The jump off was fun, a great test that took a careful horse. I was thrilled with how my two horses jumped, they were fresh with the atmosphere and really tried. I love winning, but more importantly leaving a show with better horses than I came with."

Friday night kicked off the weekend with the USHJA National Hunter Derby, which included top riders such as Peter Lombardo, Jamie Taylor and Kristin Hardin. The flowing course by Paul Jewell included four high options in both the first and handy round and a few snug inside turns in the handy round that set riders' scores apart.

Peter Lombardo and Tache Rouge win the USHJA National Hunter Derby. Photo by Captured Moment Photography by West Palms Events 

"I thought the derby was really fun," said Peter Lombardo. "I had students in it too, so we got ready together and we all made it into the second round so it was very fun. It's nice to be near the beach, great places to go for dinner [in Huntington]."

In the end, Lombardo and Janie Andrew's Tache Rouge came out on top with an overall score of 181.5! In second, 3.5 points behind Lombardo, was Jamie Taylor and Marion Lowry's Patton with an overall score of 178 and Jamie Taylor and Hunter Samlaska's Future Romance rounded out the top three with a score of 175.5.

Congratulations to the riders and their horses on a wonderful Hunter Derby!

Jamie Taylor and Patton earn second in the USHJA National Hunter Derby. Photo by Captured Moment Photography for West Palms Events

Get Ready for the Hottest Friday On Record! Post Time: 2 PM

This year, Del Mar is really turning up the heat for the party of all parties. On Friday, July 15th it's not just Opening Day, it's opening weekend. And that means three times the party and three times the fabulous. With live music, glamourous fashion and fine Thoroughbreds, this legendary stomping ground offers the most sizzling social scene on the left Coast.

Opening Day is just the beginning; excite your appetite with the BBQ State Championship, The Gourmet Food Truck Festival, Craft Beer events and dance the night away during our sensational Summer Concert Series featuring artists like Ziggy Marley, Brian Setzer and Chris Young. And stay connected to all the action with our website and mobile app. Click here to see all that we have to offer. Nothing says summer like the scene, sounds and speed of Del Mar.

Suit-up and slip into your finest to join the best looking crowd around starting on Friday, July 15th at 2pm.