High Prairie Spring Classic

Friday, May 28, 2010
Posted by Leg Up News

Bjorn Ikast was the big star in the grand prix Photo: Brian Ryder
The wind tried to take center stage during the High Prairie Spring Classic, but nothing could unseat Bjorn Ikast, who continued to take the High Prairie jumper division by storm. A virtual fixture at the Colorado Horse Park, Ikast brought back a stunning six horses to the jump-off in the $10,000 Riders Choice High Prairie Grand Prix on Saturday.

“I am very pleased to have eight grand prix horses to ride now,” Ikast said. “They are all going very well. It’s great!”

Of the 16 horse and rider combinations testing the Jack Robson-designed course, it was Brave Heart and Ikast who came away with the class win. The veteran pair easily tackled the course and jump-off, making it look as though it was a training ride. Ikast noted he was hoping to keep Brave Heart in show shape by competing in the class. Other Ikast horses earning ribbons included IZ’s Viva la Vida in second and Anchor Man in fifth. Ikast also piloted Colorado (Bovee Liability Limited, owner) to third place while his assistant, Ulrich Clemmensen, rode  Confidence (Bjorn Ikast, owner) to the fourth award. Omar Shariff, another Ikast entry, was seventh.

“We love coming to the Colorado Horse Park and have been doing so for 16 years now,” Ikast noted. “It is always a pleasure showing here. The people are so friendly and the place looks wonderful!”

The highest placing amateur in the grand prix was Katie Albrecht, who took home the sixth place ribbon riding Castalano (Sandwillow Farm, owner). Albrecht and the home-bred Castalano also won the Junior/Young Rider/Amateur Owner Jumper Classic.

Trainer Mickie Sage had nothing but praise for the pair. “Castalano is amazing! He is allergic to wood. We’ve been working at home on keeping a neat track and being patient to the jumps. That can be a little intimidating when you’re headed to bigger jumps, but it really is paying off.”

Another Sage client, Helen Julianov, had similar success in the Low Junior/Amateur Owner Jumper section, where she and her Laton were named champions. The pair even moved up to contest the Junior/Young Rider/Amateur Owner Classic where they earned a fourth place, when barn-mate Larysa Kern and her Tournado edged them out and took third.

“The thing I like about all of these women is they are competitive. They always go for the win, but they’re also friends,” Sage said. “It’s nice to see them cheering each other on.”

Of course, not everyone can show in the grand prix ring right off the bat. Adyn Pipoly (Toni Hrudka, trainer) made her horse show debut just last week during the High Prairie Farms Spring Preview after a two-year hiatus. Unfortunately, things didn’t go according to plan. In fact, Pipoly fell off twice. Undaunted, she returned this week to take on the .80M Jumpers with her horse, Tango Elite. Not only did the pair win a class, but they were named section champions.

A sophomore at Denver University, Pipoly has been with Tango Elite for three years now. The pair had been competing at the 1.20M level, but the wheels started coming off during her senior year in high school. At first, Tango would stop at water jumps and pretty soon he was stopping out on course. Pipoly decided her horse needed a break so when she left to study in London during her freshman year in college, that’s what he got.

“Tango is an amazing and sassy horse,” Pipoly said with a laugh. “I am so glad to be back in the show ring with him and I could not be happier riding with Toni and Wilson (Dennehy).” No stranger to the Colorado Horse Park, the Texas native remembers coming out to Colorado for what was then commonly called The Parker Circuit. “Even though so much has changed, being at the Horse Park brought back so many great memories from when I was 12 or 13,” she added.

Over in the hunter rings, Brooke Kennedy continued her winning ways. Kennedy (Michael Dennehy, trainer) was again the champion in the Large Junior Hunters aboard her Abercrombie. She also came away with the championship in the Small Junior Hunters riding Lifetime Guarantee (Robert Cole, owner).

Kelli Cruciotti Celebrates Her Win Photo: Brian Ryder

In the younger division of the Amateur/Owner Hunters, Stephanie Smythe (Mark Mead, trainer) steered her Fifth Avenue to the championship while in the older division, it was Benchmark and Jen Singer (Charlie Dennehy, trainer) taking the tri-color. Q (Serenity Farm, owner) won the championship in the Marshall & Sterling Hunter Classic with Kelli Cruciotti in the irons while Whitney Colleran guided The Patriot (Rebekah Hamblin, owner) to the reserve championship in the class.

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Horse showing continues with the High Prairie Spring Final beginning May 27, 2010. In California, there will be plenty of jumping excitement at the ever-popular Memorial Day Classic May 27-31. The action moves over to Hansen Dam June 5-6 for Verdugo Hills/Lake View 5, then heads north for the Woodside Circuit Opener June 23-27.