Oldenburg, Germany – Grand Prix dressage rider Endel Ots has achieved the impressive milestone of qualifying both a five-year-old horse and a six-year-old horse for the FEI World Breeding Dressage Championships for Young Horses this summer in Verden, Germany. The 29-year-old Ots accomplished what only one other American has ever done before when he qualified both a five-year-old and a six-year-old for the FEI World Breeding Dressage Championships for Young Horses.
Ots qualified Lucky Strike, a German-bred five-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Lord Laurie-Heidi, His Highness) owned by Endel Ots and his father Max Ots, and Samhitas, a German-bred six-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Sir Donnerhall I- Heidebluete, Abanos), owned by Canadians Gary and Jeannie Vander Ploeg of Pine Ridge Farm. “These horses are excellent in the show ring,” Ots commented. “They’re really centered in their minds.” Ots has been riding Lucky Strike for about a year and a half. “He is the only qualified five-year-old in the U.S. for Verden,” Ots explained, proud of his young partner.
Ots and Lucky Strike, who Ots originally discovered in Belgium, received an 87.00 percent in the final test required to qualify for the FEI World Breeding Dressage Championships for Young Horses, making them formidable contenders for the international competition. Lucky is a 5 year old Lord Laurie Gelding by His Highness. Ots found him when he went on a buying trip for a client. "I saw him, and he had such a great personality, and 3 nice gaits. He is 18 hands tall. I rode him only once, but I felt a super connection with him. He is a huge puppy dog. I could not afford to by any horse, so I called my father" said Endel. He told his father what an interesting horse Lucky was and that he may have something special. Lucky really loves his job. "He loves his work, and people. He thinks he is human. He will "hug" anyone who comes into his stall with his neck." Ots thanks Evi Strasser for helping with Lucky's training. "She coached me into winning the Developing Grand Prix Championships in 2014 with Donatus, and with schooling Lucky and my other horses on a daily basis when she is in Florida for season."
Ots has achieved remarkable success with Samhitas, although he has had the ride on him for little more than a year. Samhitas earned the highest qualifying score for Verden in the U.S. “After I began riding Samhitas, I realized he was of such outstanding quality that he would be a good horse to work towards qualifying for the six-year-old tests in Verden,” Ots explained. "Samhitas was a super talented young horse from the day I sat on him. He just needed some time to develop confidence in himself. I wanted to show him last year in the 5 year olds, but he needed some more time to mature. I don’t push horses past their physical or mental maturity level. Physically he could do all the work, but he needed some more time to mature."
Ots and the talented young horses are currently in Europe, and plan to compete in a few other international competitions before taking on the FEI World Breeding Dressage Championships for Young Horses in Verden on August 5- 9. “I couldn't be more excited and thankful for all the people that have come together to make this happen,” Ots said.
"Evi Strasser has been helping me every step of the way. In 2014 she helped coach me to win the National Developing Grand Prix Championships, and this year she’s coaching me to the World Young Horse Championships in Verden." Ots is especially thankful for the help of Christine Traurig, the United States Young Horse Coach. Traurig will be at the FEI World Breeding Dressage Championships for Young Horses to cheer on Ots as he represents his country. “Christine has been great— I couldn't feel more ready” Ots smiled. “There will be great things in the future for the young horses in the USA under Christine's guidance.”
While in Europe, Ots will be working with German Trainer Hans-Heinrich Meyer zu Strohen. Ots intends to focus on increasing the horses’ confidence in him while exposing them to new environments. They are based in the Oldenburg area of Germany in Lower Saxony. Ots will compete both Lucky Strike and Samhitas in the OldenburgerLandesturnier, or Oldenburg Championships, on July 21-26. The Oldenburger Landesturnier is a qualifier for the Bundeschampionate, which is the German Championships. Ots’s home base is in Wellington, Florida, at the Palm Beach Equine Sports Complex.