Wellington, FL – A National Championships and family reunion are in the works for small town boy Endel Ots and his horse Lucky Strike. Endel and his father have had one lucky adventure together with Lucky Strike and show no signs of stopping now. Ots’ father started Endel’s riding career at a young age in Wisconsin and that was the start of a life long journey with horses.
Like many children do when they first start riding, they try a little bit of everything; Ots was no exception, riding English, jumping and drill team loving every minute he spent in the barn. It may come as no surprise to those who know Ots best that when his father Max Ots wanted him to go to college and become a doctor like him, Endel’s heart went to the barn. Ots made a deal with his father that he could take a one year gap...which has turned into fourteen years. When Ots first started in the industry he went to work in a barn in Illinois where his father called the owners and told them, he’d do what ever it takes but make his son want to quit and go to school. Well Ots loved every minute of that grueling trial and when his father called in to check, it was clear that this is his true passion and career.
Eight years later Ots took a big leap and went to Germany to train with Hubertus Schmidt before moving to the equestrian winter capital of Wellington, FL. Building his business amongst some of the very best proved an easy task for Ots as he quickly acquired and sold many top horses while competing himself. On a buying trip in Europe for several clients Ots stumbled upon a unique find. Lucky Strike was for sale at the time and Ots could not help himself when he noticed something special about the horse. Ots saw a kind eye, incredible work ethic, and three solid gaits. However, Ots was still building his business and did not have the funds to purchase Lucky Strike, so he called his farther and they made an agreement and thus this unique family partnership with Lucky began.
Ots has been the sole rider and trainer of Lucky Strike since having his father help him acquire the mount in Europe from Jerome Schneiders and his wife Pia Schneiders, five years ago. As a lanky three year old Lucky Strike and Ots started making waves in the US Dressage scene. As a five year old Lucky Strike earned a spot on the World Breeding Championships, placing second on the qualifying day finishing eleventh in the world with Ots in the tack. Coming into his six year old campaign “Lucky” won the 6 Year Old Markel Young Horse Championships and again qualified for the World Breeding Championships. Last year as a seven year old, Lucky and Ots were the Markel/USEF Developing Horse Prix St George Reserve Champions; this year the pair has qualified again for the US Championships in the number one spot with an average of 76.103%.
This year’s Championships will be a little sweeter for Ots, after his father had a riding fall at his home farm in De Pere, WI. His father was riding a spry youngster and did well until he had an unplanned dismount resulting in a slight brain bleed and some other minor injuries. Ots and his family all stayed around his dad until he was in the clear and home. Ots prides himself on working hard all the time and taking time away to be with his Dad was not in his training plan, but the trip helped him appreciate their special bond that Lucky has helped strengthen even further. Championships this year will be the first show that Ots father has been at since his accident and Ots just wants to make his dad proud!
This year the pair has qualified again for the US Championships in the number one spot with an average of 76.103%. Ots took the chance to school in the show ring one more time before heading to the finals in Lamplight, IL with Lucky at the Wellington Classic Dressage show. The pair showed the Prix St George both days earning a 71.618% the first day and then improving on a few details to earn a 72.941% and two blues. This years Markel/USEF Developing Horse Championships and US Dressage Festival of Champions will be held in Wayne, IL at the Lamplight Equestrian Center from August 21-26.
Originally from De Pere, Wisconsin, Ots, who now calls Wellington, Florida home, has been competing since a young age and has been enjoying international victories for the past several years. Known for his talent and ability to give a leg-up to younger riders, and bringing along impressive sales horses.