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Sarah Baldwin Beats Out A Veteran Crowd in the $40,000 AGA Rocky Mountain Grand Prix

Parker, CO ----- An ecstatic Sarah Baldwin, aboard Patries, overcame all of the tough questions in Guilerhme Jorge's technical course to win the $40,000 AGA Rocky Mountain Grand Prix at The Colorado Horse Park on Saturday evening. Out of the seven riders who made it to the jump-off, Sarah was by far the fastest. This was Sarah's first trip to The Colorado Horse Park in thirteen years and she was astounded by the excellent development of the facility. Sarah hails from Los Angeles, California.

"It was a demanding course with many technical questions." Sarah said after her victory. "The most challenging area was the tight turn to the water and then up the vertical to the vertical on the hill." Although there were many tough spots on the course, fence number eleven claimed many riders. "The Ariat/Murdoch's fence was the highest out there and the horses were tired because it came at the end of the course," he explained of his plan to test horse and rider's fitness and focus. Although Jorge's course brought 31 competitors faults in the first round, hewas pleased with the number of people who made it into the jump-off.

It took eleven riders to find a clear first round and it came from someone Sarah Baldwin teasingly called the "King of Colorado". Bjorn Ikast and his mount Monte Cristo were the first pair to qualify for the second round. The Denmark-native went on to place third and fifth on Brave Heart and Monte Cristo, respectively. Bjorn was first in the jump- off on Monte Cristo and "just wanted to be clean." He then watched Allison Kroff and Nomagraaf have a fall at the one-stride combination and revised his plan for Brave Heart. He wanted to put some pressure on the other competitors so he chose the tight inside turn after the second fence but was careful to the combination. "My horses haven't jumped all week and they were fresh and jumped very well today," he said. This is Ikast's fourteenth year at The Colorado Horse Park and he believes it gets "a little better every year."

John McConnell returned to his home turf to take the red ribbon on his nine-year-old Holsteiner mare Carolina. He was the last to ride in the jump-off and knew he had to beat Baldwin's smoking time of 38 seconds. He went for the tight inside turn but finished three seconds slower than Baldwin. McConnell was still thrilled with the way his mare performed and the way she is coming along. " She is my one shot each week and she is getting very competitive. She is learning," he said. Carolina and McConnell have had four Grand Prix wins this year and many top three finishes.

Susan Artes put in an impressive short round to receive the fourth prize. Artes' KWPN (Dutch Warmblood) gelding, Presto B, by Peter Pan and out of a Selle Francais mare, went clear and fast over the "great course". Artes said she has loved her first visit to The Colorado Horse Park and so has Presto B. "He loves to show off so I am looking forward to the smaller ring next week. He is better with a bigger, more intense crowd," she said.

The Young Rider presence was also felt throughout the Grand Prix. Five of the Rocky Mountain Grand Prix competitors will be going on to compete for their zones and countries in two weeks at The Colorado Horse Park at the North American Junior and Young Rider Championships. Meagan Nusz, Alexa Wisz, Sarah Tredennick, Kyle Timm, Kristen Vanderveen and Javier Berganza will all be competing at the important international championship. They also proved themselves competitive against the seasoned riders competing in the Grand Prix by earning three top placings. Kyle Timm, who came all the way from Canada, was thrilled with the way his horse jumped and admitted that it was his fault that they collected 12 faults.

The Colorado Horse Park has been selected as the site of the 2008 North American Junior and Young Rider Championships (NAJYRC.) This prestigious international championship for riders ages 14-21 will take place July 29-August 3, 2008.Young equestrians will come from the United States, Bermuda, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean Islands to vie for medals in the three Olympic equestrian disciplines of show jumping, dressage and eventing plus, the western style discipline of reining. The competition is run under rules of the FEI (Federation Equestre Internationale), the international governing body for equestrian sport. The Colorado Horse Park has previously hosted the event in 1998 and 2000.

The lively competition of the four-week Colorado Summer Circuit continues next Saturday. The $60,000 AGA Grand Prix of Denver presented by Dillard's and Ariat, held July 26, will start with pre-show fun and games at 4:30 and the first horse will be on course at 5:30. Tickets are $10. Please visit http://www.ColoradoHorsePark.org for more information.

Results (placing, rider, horse)

$40,000 AGA Rocky Mountain Grand Prix

1. Sarah Baldwin-Patries

2. John McConnell-Carolina

3. Bjorn Ikast-Brave Heart

4. Susan Artes-Presto B

5. Bjorn Ikast-Monte Cristo

6. Armando Hassey-La Roche

7. Allison Kroff-Nomograaf

8. Sarah Baldwin-Lourdes

9. Meagan Nusz-Pikeur's Xtatic

10. Michael Tokaruk-Lord Byron

11. Alexa Wisz-Wimula

12. Kristen Vanderveen-For Future 3

About the Colorado Horse Park

The Colorado Horse Park is a 501 (c) 3 not for profit organization. The purpose of the Colorado Horse Park is to showcase the history and heritage of the West using the horse as the primary teaching tool through hands-on educational programming, museum exhibitions, competitions, boarding and training, recreation, entertainment and therapy for all ages. For more information visit http://www.coloradohorsepark.org.

Photo Credit: Horse & Ryder


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