BY BROOKE GODDARD
PARKER, Colo.— In Saturday’s $35,000 LEG Grand Prix at Summer in the Rockies VII (July 15-19), Bjorn Ikast and his Castino blazed to victory with two double clear rounds and a jump off time of 47.024 seconds. In second place was Susan Griffis (John McConnell, trainer) and Deauville Van Overis Z (Palmer Divide Ranch, owner), and in third place was Bjorn on Classini owned by BBB Show Jumpers, LLC.
One week ago, Katharin Gualtieri and her Castalano set the pace in the jump off and made Bjorn and Castino chase after them. After the ride, Bjorn commented: “That’s the game of show jumping – sometimes you get away with it and sometimes you pay for it.”
This week, Bjorn got away with it.
“I was the lucky one this time,” said Bjorn. “Peter designed a big and technical course, and it was a challenging class. I was amazed to see five horses go clear. I was super happy with both of my horses.”
Course designer Peter Grant of Canada noticed the way that Bjorn navigated his courses. “Bjorn rode how I envisioned the course in my head,” Peter remarked. “I like to see bold riding and see courses be attacked. He’s such a great rider who I’ve admired him for a long time. I try to be balanced with the questions I ask, and he was able to answer every one of them.”
Katharin took a shot and stopped the clock in just 44.213 seconds, but a rail put her into fourth place. “Katharin went early in the jump off and tried to make the others chase her time,” Peter noted. “When you put the pedal down, those type of faults happen. She rode great and she has a cool little horse.”
Amateur rider Susan Griffis had fun in the jump off and was pleased with her rides. “Bjorn was just slightly faster than me, but I have no complaints,” said Susan. “I was thrilled to be clean and get second place. I even got to jump off against my daughter, Georgia. It was her first time riding in a 1.45m grand prix.” Susan’s daughter, Georgia Griffis placed fifth with a four fault jump off time of 54.643.
As the last pair to jump off, Bjorn knew what needed to accomplish with Castino: he had to beat Susan’s time. “It was a big advantage to be able to jump off last,” Bjorn commented. “I knew how fast I needed to go.”
“It feels unreal to be here,” he added. “We are very thankful to LEG for running a fantastic show. Everyone is being careful and wearing a mask. We feel extremely safe and happy to be competing in Colorado.”
Along with last week’s winner Katharin, Bjorn is now in contention for a LEGIS Jumper Rider Bonus if he wins another grand prix with Castino during the 2020 LEG Colorado Horse Shows. The LEGIS Rider Bonus Program, sponsored by LEGISequine.com, rewards riders who win multiple grand prix classes or hunter derby classes on the same horse. “I am excited about this,” Bjorn said. “It’s really nice that LEGIS offers this program because we as riders can use all the help we can get. It’s a very expensive sport and I’m very appreciative. Now, I will go for it again!” Stay tuned to see if Bjorn and Castino take home another grand prix victory and a LEGIS Rider Bonus next week.