Trip Harting, one of the leading judges in the world of dressage horse riding and formally one of the top ten horse riders in the world died Thursday, August 21, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. He was 62. Harting was diagnosed with an aggressive form of liver cancer according to friend and fellow judge Lois Yukins.
Harting grew up in Potomac, Maryland and began riding when he was six-years-old. His father, Stretch Harting, established the Potomac Horse Center; and, his son’s passion for horsemanship began in Pony Club with instructor Janet Sturrock, FBHS. Sturrock coached him to become the youngest “A” graduate ever and to his championship at an “A” Rally. He was on the national pentathalon team. Competed in Three Day Eventing and at the highest levels of Dressage.
Harting established the Koko Crater Stables on the of the Island of Oahu in Hawaii and patterned it after the program his father had established at the Potomac Horse Center. Many students were certified as instructors and stable managers over a period of 3-4 years through the program. He later moved to Los Angeles, California where he continued his work by showing the horse, “Jim Dandy” in the jumper division and later the stallion, Achat, in dressage. For the past seven years Harting had trained the horse Ari with his owner Lori Lauver, DVM and began competing again.
He was honored as a 'living legend' in Pony Club, an international federation that encourages young riders to persue equestrian excellence and team participation. Harting was a major supporter of the youth equestrian education and competition, starting many programs including the intercollegiate competitions throughout the country.Up until his diagnosis a few weeks ago he traveled extensively around the world teaching clinics and attending events as a United States Equestrian Federation Senior Dressage judge who was well respected and very popular. He was known for his friendliness to the competitors, always saying, "I hope you have a great ride" before each competitor entered the ring and, "Thank-you very much" at the end. He was also a very sought after clinician, often donating his time especially for the youth in this country.
For the past four and half years Harting had also performed countless hours of volunteer work for those recovering from drug and alcohol addiction and shared his own personal battle with drugs in a documentary film entitled, Trip to Hell and Back. The biography premiered in early August just two days prior to his diagnosis with cancer. The film won grand prize for best short documentary at the Rhode Island International Film Festival and will continue to seek screenings according to the film’s director, Stu Maddux.
After his diagnosis, Harting remained at home cared for by his friends. Just two weeks later he passed away quietly with those closest to him by his side.
Harting is survived by a sister, a brother and a nephew, Chase Harting.
Arrangements are pending. Donations to help defer the cost of medical bills and a memorial service are being requested and can be sent to
DVM Community Veterinary Center
10617 Burbank Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91607