Endel Ots One Step Closer to Intermediaire I Dressage National Championship

Thursday, August 20, 2020
Posted by Kathleen Landwehr and Leslie Potter



Twelve combinations rode the FEI Intermediate I Test, the second of three tests in the USEF Intermediaire I Dressage National Championship, on Wednesday, moving one step closer to determining the national champion. Endel Ots (Wellington, Fla.) and Sonnenberg’s Everdance delivered another stellar test to score 75.441%. Sonnenberg Farm LLC’s 11-year-old KWPN mare delivered a consistent performance for Ots to win the class and lead the overall championship.

Photo - Endel Ots and Sonnenbergs Everdance (SusanJStickle.com)

“I was very happy with her again; she tried really hard,” said Ots. “I was very excited to get out and get showing again, so I got on a little too early in the warm-up, so it was just a little too much warm-up on her. It was not as powerful as I would have liked to be able ride it, but you really just pilot her around and point and shoot with her. She tries really hard for me, and I am really happy with her.”

David Blake (Cardiff by the Sea, Calif.) and Heide Spirit, his 10-year-old Oldenburg mare, were second with a score of 72.559%. Callie Jones (Henderson, Ky.) and Don Philippo, her 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding, were third with a score of 69.823%.

Tuesday’s FEI Prix St. Georges Test counted for 40 percent of the overall score, while Wednesday’s FEI Intermediate I Test counts for 45 percent. Friday’s FEI Intermediate I Freestyle Test, beginning at 1:45 p.m. CDT, will count for the final 15 percent.

From the Mixed Zone

Does Sonnenberg’s Everdance seem to know it is a national championship?

Ots: “She just thinks it’s another show. She pumps up when she is in there. I have taken her to a bunch of shows now and she always gets a little bit more energy but is always very manageable. She is a very steady Eddie horse; I mean really, really steady.”

What has it been like to develop your partnership with this horse?

Ots: “It has been great. Dan and Gina Ruediger of Sonnenberg Farms contacted me. I am not the best with emails and I will have a couple hundred in there. I just spent an evening going through my emails and I got a nice long email with a bunch of beautiful horses on there. I responded and then we started communication. I was teaching a clinic in Colorado, so I said, ‘Hey, I can pop over there right after Colorado and take a look at stuff.’ They have a beautiful facility and just stunning horses. The best young horses I have seen bred in the U.S. and rival the ones in Europe. All really great minds. Last year, Sonnenberg’s Kain with Michele [Bondy] won the four-year-olds. They are just really great people.

“We talked about bringing the mare down [to Wellington]. I told them my goal was the same thing—qualify for the I-I championship and the goal is to win. I wanted to get to know her at home and get her used to a little bit my riding style and a partnership with her. We kept pushing off on doing some national shows until I felt like we both really understood each other. We did national shows, then CDIs, and it has been great.”

What is your freestyle like?

Ots: “I would say it’s Edward Gal-esque. It is a new freestyle. She is a big, powerful horse, so we wanted something with some feeling. I liked Lucky’s [Lucky Strike, Ots’s 2019 Intermediaire horse] freestyle last year. The music was nice, but it didn’t give you goosebumps. This one I think will definitely do that. I’m really excited about it.”

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