Endel Ots in the Lead After Day One at 2020 U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions

Wednesday, August 19, 2020
Posted by Kathleen Landwehr and Leslie Potter



Horse-and-rider combinations have been doing their homework in preparation for the 14 national championships held at the 2020 U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions, and it was evident in the first two classes of the show. In the first day of competition at HITS Chicago at Lamplight Equestrian Center, Endel Ots and Sonnenberg’s Everdance won the FEI Prix St. Georges Test, while Sara Hassler and Harmony’s Boitano took top honors in the FEI Intermediate II Test.

Photo - Endel Ots and Sonenbergs Everdance (

USEF Intermediaire I Dressage National Championship
Twelve combinations in the USEF Intermediaire I Dressage National Championship were the first ones to head down centerline for the 2020 event and they did not disappoint in the FEI Prix St. Georges Test. Endel Ots (Wellington, Fla.) and Sonnenberg’s Everdance had an excellent test to earn a score of 74.941%. As the reigning champion with Lucky Strike, Ots has an exciting partner in Sonnenberg Farm LLC’s 11-year-old KWPN mare. They produced a powerful yet relaxed test to win the class.

“I was very happy with her. She is always very solid in the ring and tries very hard for me,” Ots said. “I basically just have to pilot her around. Her canter work is always really nice, very clear trot, very nice walk. It’s really fun; I don’t have to think too much just plan and try to stay as accurate as I can. She really does all the work. I just think a little bit; it’s nice.”

Callie Jones (Henderson, Ky.) and Don Philippo, her 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding, were second with a score of 71.824%. David Blake (Cardiff by the Sea, Calif.) and Heide Spirit, his 10-year-old Oldenburg mare, finished in third place with a score of 71.324%.

The FEI Prix St. Georges Test counts for 40 percent of the overall score while the FEI Intermediate I Test on Wednesday counts for 45 percent. The division will conclude on Friday with the FEI Intermediate I Freestyle Test, which counts for 15 percent.

From the Mixed Zone
Is there anything you want to improve upon for your next test?

Ots: “No. I would just go for a nice clean test. With that mare, she always scores really well. She has been super consistent all year. I have had clean tests in every test that I have shown. I’m just looking for a nice, clean harmonious test with her.

What have you done in preparation for the event?

Ots: “We keep things really playful, so not a lot of test things—lots of transitions, keeping her in balance, playing before movements. Especially with the coronavirus and not being sure if this was going to happen or not, we just kind of toned down the work a bit. I was always planning on showing here, so I kept the idea that I wanted her to do well here and peak here, but I always want her happy with her work, so that was my main focus for her.”

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