Bjorn Ikast Wins Colorado Horse Park $25,000 Grand Prix
Horse Show Press Release
Parker, CO – Riders from over 30 states, Canada, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Denmark and New Zealand converged in Parker, CO during the second week of the 2004 Colorado Horse Park Summer Circuit. “We are thrilled with this year’s attendance. The event is at capacity,” said show organizer Charlotte Skinner. “This show offers wonderful international competition. Everyone really enjoys this series.”
Besting a field of 33, Bjorn Ikast of Mexico City, Mexico turned in a fast double clear round to win the $25,000 Grand Prix. One of only four riders jump clean over Scott Starnes’ challenging first course, Ikast and his 11-year-old Russian Stallion, I.Z.’s Lifetime mastered the derby field’s terrain, lengthy course and technical questions.
“I am very, very happy with this win,” commented a smiling Ikast. “This is his first event back after a three month break and to start off our U.S. tour with a win is amazing. Going first in the jump-off, I knew there were three very fast riders and horses behind me so I had to just go for it.” Ikast’s speed and gutsy turns, including a near impossible angel on the last fence, a huge triple bar, earned him the win in 42.675 seconds and left the crowd gasping in amazement.
Ikast’s comments regarding three fast challengers were well founded as Mexico City’s Antonio Maurer and his horse Odamildo turned in a jump-off time a mere .286 seconds slower than the winner.
Third place went to John McConnell, who is based at the Colorado Horse Park, on his horse Spanish Eyes with four faults and a jump off time of 43.675 seconds. The crowd favorite was all smiles as he galloped past the stands in the victory round.
Fourth place belonged to Elani Rager of Albuquerque, NM on her horse Chamonix. The success was a dream for Rager, who has owned Chamonix since she was a foal.
Spectators and competitors alike enjoyed the challenges presented by course designer Scott Starnes. He explained his plan, “By using the derby field, I am able to incorporate terrain into the questions being asked. The course begins with a vertical going towards the in-gate to get horses moving forward. From there, the course becomes big and technical. Fence seven, a white skinny vertical set two strides off a steep incline, really demands focus and adjustability on the part of the horse. The last line also demands attention from both horse and rider. At the end of a long course this line going away from the in-gate asks for a forward four [strides] to a snug two [strides] requiring concentration.”
The $25,000 Grand Prix is a warm-up for the AGA $40,000 Rocky Mountain Grand Prix on July 17 and the AGA $60,000 Grand Prix of Denver Presented by Dillards and Ariat on July 24. But that’s not all the prize money to be won; there is the $100,000 bonus offered to the horse and rider that win all three grand prix. Although riders have come very close to earning the bonus in previous years, it has remained unclaimed. Will this be Ikast’s year?
Spectators are welcomed at each grand prix. Tickets are just $10 for adults and $5 for children under 12. The AGA $40,000 Rocky Mountain Grand Prix begins at 5:00 p.m. on July 17. Opening ceremonies begin at 4:00 p.m. on July 24. Tickets are available by calling 303-841-5550 or at the gate. VIP tickets, which include hospitality on July 24, are $65. Parking is free. Snacks, dinner and equestrian-themed shopping are available on the grounds.
The Colorado Horse Park is a 501 (c) 3. Visit www.coloradohorsepark.com.