Wellington, FL – Preparation is key in the world of dressage, and for Endel Ots and the two young horses he is taking to the Markel/USEF National Young Horse Championships, preparedness is not something they lack. With exceptional scores in their respective divisions and being among the top ranked young horses in the country, Ots and the two geldings Donatus and Lucky Strike will go into the Markel/USEF National Young Horse Championships, held in Lamplight, Illinois August 20-24, at the top of their game.
Ots and Donatus, a 10-year-old German-bred gelding by Don Schufro and owned by Everglades Dressage, have set the standard in the USEF Developing Horse Grand Prix. During the final week of the 2014 Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, the pair scored a 73.00%, the highest mark in that division in the country. Donatus, or Donny, will also head into the Young Horse Championships with an average score of over 71%; this makes him the top ranked horse in the Developing Horse Grand Prix, a feat made even more exceptional by the fact that they only put in 2 qualifying tests, without the benefit of a dropped score.
“Donny is a fantastic horse with a huge talent for piaffe and passage,” said Ots. “He is always very soft and supple in the bridle, and very easy to maneuver. In the months since I started riding him he has won every class he has entered, and just keeps getting better. He tries very hard, always giving 100%. Owner Bethany Peslar and I are very excited for his future and for the Championships this summer.”
In addition to qualifying a client’s horse, Ots qualified Lucky Strike, a 17.1 black Hannoverian gelding by Lord Laurie, in the USEF 4-Year-Old division. The talented gelding is co-owned by Ots and his father Dr. Max Ots. Lucky Strike and Ots also had an impressive season, making it difficult for the judges to chose a favorite between his trot and canter. “The scoring was taking a long time, and when they finally finished they thanked me for presenting the horse and said they couldn’t decide if they like his trot best or his canter,” said Ots. “So they decided to give him a 9 on both. I found him in Europe on a buying trip with clients and knew he had a lot of potential. He is one of those horses where you have to check yourself, and remind yourself everyday that he is only four. The feeling he gives is fantastic.”
On top of their impressive show season, Ots and his young horses have been taking advice from some of the best in the business, including Olympian Debbie McDonald. Ots and Donatus rode in her Developing Horse & Rider clinic this season, and Ots was very happy with the gelding’s progression. Ots also worked with Candian Olympian Evi Strausser during the 2014 Florida season, both at his farm and as a coach during the shows. Strausser, who has represented Canada on the international stage at World Cups, Pan Am Games, and World Equestrian Games as well as major shows across North America and Europe, also is an accomplished rider and trainer of young horses, including competing at the Markel/USEF National Young Horse Championships in Verden, Germany.
“Evi was always very positive with the horses, and her years of experience are invaluable,” said Ots. “I love bringing these young horses up the levels, and the Young Horse Program and Championships are such an important aspect to help develop the young talent we have in this country. It gives an excellent outline of where you want your horse as a 4-, 5-, and 6-year-old in order to set them up for a career at the FEI level.” Ots operates his Endel Ots Dressage, a training and sales business, out of Wellington, Florida. For more information visit his website at www.endelots.com.