BY BROOKE GODDARD
Katharin Gualtieri and Castalano Continue their Winning Streak in the $15,000 Autumn Classic
PARKER, Colo.— Amateur rider Katharin Gualtieri continued her winning streak at LEG Shows & Events Autumn in the Rockies Week I (Sept. 3-6). Katharin and her 18-year-old homebred gelding, Castalano (John McConnell, trainer) were on fire with two clear rounds and the fastest jump-off time of 37.316 seconds in the $15,000 Autumn Classic. This win marked Katharin’s third grand prix victory during the 2020 LEG Colorado Horse Shows, earning her a LEGIS Jumper Rider Bonus totaling $1,500.
“It feels very rewarding to be able to win against all these professionals on an older horse,” Katharin expressed. “My horse, Tony, has given back so much to me over the years. It’s a lot less scary to jump these big fences when I know my horse is right there with me. As long as I give him a confident ride, he is going to give me his all. My trainer, John McConnell, really believes in us and that’s a great feeling.”
Twenty-three horse and rider pairs took to a challenging track with seven returning for the jump off. Professional rider Caroline Donnally and her catty mare, Always Me, jumped off right before Katharin. Caroline left all the poles up with a fast time of 37.713 seconds. “I wanted to just ride well and keep a tidy track,” Caroline explained. “Earlier this week in the Welcome Stake, we cut a turn to the first fence in the jump off and had a rail. So, I didn’t want to make the same mistake again. I was super happy to be second and I feel like things are really coming together with my mare. Katharin rode a very accurate track and she deserved to win.”
Nicki Wilcox took home the third and fourth place prizes with Marjorie Martin’s Hannibal V and Halifax, respectively. “Katharin and her horse deserve every bit of that win,” Nicki commented. “They are a dream team. It’s incredible to raise your own horse to that level. Katharin does only the best by her horse, and he mirrors that back to her. He’s very fast both in the air and across the ground. Caroline and her horse were also fast, but I think Katharin’s experience and long career with Tony gave them an edge, especially since Caroline jumped off first.”
“You made me have to run for it,” Katharin said to Caroline after the class.
Run for it she did.
Katharin sliced and diced her way to the win. “I was second to last to jump off and it seemed like everyone kept getting faster and faster,” Katharin recounted. “I knew I could make up time in the turns. My horse turns so quick and he is very careful. There was a tight rollback to the pink fence, and I was able to really angle that more than anyone else.”
As this victory marked Katharin’s third grand prix win during the 2020 LEG Colorado Horse Shows, she received a $1,500 LEGIS Jumper Rider Bonus. The LEGIS Rider Bonus Program, sponsored by LEGISequine.com, rewards riders who win multiple grand prix or hunter derby classes on the same horse. “I am so excited that LEGIS supports riders through its bonus program,” she commented. “I have been saving up to buy a new tractor, so hopefully I will be able to use the bonus money toward a down payment.” Click here to view the standings and learn more about the LEGIS Rider Bonus Program.
“My horse feels great and I am pretty excited for next week,” Katharin added. “It would be so fun to win another LEGIS Rider Bonus.”
If Katharin wins a fourth grand prix next week, she will be eligible for a total of $2,500 in bonus money. Stay tuned to see if Katharin claims another grand prix victory next week.
Exhibitors, please don’t forget to complete the new COVID-19 waiver by clicking here or the red button on the homepage of langershows.com. We ask that you please complete the waiver before arriving at The Colorado Horse Park and have your QR code ready to be scanned upon entrance.
Stay safe in this week’s wild weather and we will see you for Week II of Autumn in the Rockies. Read on below about how Susan Griffis topped the Welcome Stake.
Susan Griffis and Indoktro K Van ‘T Kattenheye Win the Welcome Stake
In Thursday’s Welcome Stake, amateur rider Susan Griffis and Indoktro K Van ‘T Kattenheye (Palmer Divide Ranch, owner) sealed the win with two double-clear rounds and a jump-off time of 42.688 seconds.
“My horse seemed happy and I had a lot of fun,” Susan commented. “It was a great course and all the fences came up nicely. The hardest part for me was remembering where to go because there were quite a lot of turns.”
In a field of 18 horses, only two horse and rider pairs were able to deliver two clear rounds: Susan Griffis and Indoktro K Van ‘T Kattenheye and Phillip Flynn and Polar Ice (Gretchen Stempf, trainer). “The course gave us several options to take inside turns and leave out strides,” Susan explained. “I tried to be as efficient as possible and Indoktro was very clever in the combination. I call him the flying duck, so his barn name is ‘Duckie.’ I’ve had him for about five years now and he’s the horse of a lifetime.”
Susan was very pleased not only about winning in the Welcome Stake, but also because she was able to share the moment with her daughter, Georgia. “When I’m competing against my daughter, I always hope that she beats me,” Susan commented. “Georgia is really stepping up and getting her confidence. I’m excited to be riding in the grand prix ring with her.”
“I enjoy these fall shows here at The Colorado Horse Park,” she expressed. “With everything going on in the world, I’m grateful to be able to get out of the house and see my horse friends from a social distance. I feel like the show management is being very careful with their COVID-19 precautions and I appreciate it because it helps make horse showing possible.”
Stay tuned for more highlights from our final week, featuring the LEGIS League regional medal finals as well as the Maclay regional medal finals.