The Masters Grand Slam is one of the most prestigious show jumping series in the world, and Hardin Towell and student Jennifer Gates made their presence known during the debut of the Longines Los Angeles Masters, held September 25-28 in California.
Hardin made his mark from the first day, winning the Barons de Rothschild Prestige Trophy speed class. He guided Lucifer V to an untouchable round, taking the victory by more than 2 seconds.
“It’s one of my younger horses,” Hardin said of the 8-year-old Westphalian by Lord Dezi. “And in the past couple of months he’s come from jumping the 1.30m to jumping the 1.45m, so it feels good that he’s come and done that.
“I walked the course and a couple of other inside turns,” Hardin explained. “I realized I was on a younger horse and didn’t need to take those, so I took one, but left out the others.”
His efficient yet speedy round was good enough to clinch an impressive win on the event’s first day for owner Jennifer Gates.
Hardin and Jennifer also competed at the Masters Grand Slam in Paris, so Hardin was thrilled that the series traveled to the United States, and especially the West Coast where he’s based in San Diego. Jennifer took time off from her studies at Stanford University to join Hardin at the show.
“I said, ‘Well, let’s buck up and show here.’ And I'm happy; it's a fantastic show,” he said. “Jennifer showed in Paris, and if we did speak French, we'd still be there! It's so nice having a show like this in America. We were glad to be here.”
On the heels of the first day’s success, Hardin repeated on day No. 2 in the Amalaya Investments Trophy aboard Lucifer.
The pair jumped double-clear, just edging Saree Kayne with Rexar du Houssoit by .05 seconds for the top prize.
As a grand finale, Hardin and Lucifer jumped to second place during the Airbus Grand Prix, just .14 seconds behind the winners, Paige Johnson aboard Luke Skywalker 48.
Jennifer wasn’t without her own accolades during the LA Masters. She placed an impressive fifth in the Airbus Grand Prix aboard Lord Levisto, with 4 faults in the jump-off in 37.57 seconds.
Earlier in the week, she also claimed second in the Masters Grand Slam Trophy
1.35m speed event aboard Everest de Muze and third place in The Hollywood Reporter Trophy, 1.45m speed, riding Lord Levisto.
As a highlight of her week, Jennifer also jumped to third place in the costumed Pro-Am Charity with partner Richard Spooner for the Mustard Seed Ranch.
Special thanks to Rebecca Walton of Phelps Sports for providing the wonderful photos.