Midwesterner Endel Ots Takes FEI Intermediaire Win at Dressage at Devon

Sunday, September 28, 2008
Posted by Christy

DressageDaily On the Scene - Dressage at Devon 2008

Devon, Penn. – Midwest rider Endel Ots took the win in Saturday’s FEI Intermediaire I Open, beating out a field of more than 30 competitors . He earned his first win at Devon aboard Bentley and it was as close a win as it could be. Ots was one of three riders to score a 66.917 and only the technical marks separated first, second and third places.

Taking second was Amanda Johnson with Pip, a 14-year-old Hanoverian by Pik Solo and owned by Barrie Anderson. Third went to Suzanne Markham and Donarlicht GGF, an eight-year-old Hanoverian gelding by De Niro and owned by Markham.

Bentley, a 14-year-old Danish gelding formerly owned by Kristen Allen and now by Kelly Roetto, was, for several years, the ride of Kassandra Barteau. Ots trains with Barteau’s parents, Yvonne and Kim of KYB Dressage in Illinois. He wasn’t the only member of the Barteau team to show well at Devon. Kassandra Barteau has been on the East Coast for several weeks being coached by Catherine Morelli and recently took several wins in young rider competition at the New England Dressage Association’s Fall Festival of Dressage in Saugerties, New York. She continued her winning streak at Devon in the young rider divisions and East Coast young riders will probably be happy to know she’s heading home right after competition ends at Devon on Sunday.

"It feels great,” Barteau said of her multiple Devon wins. “I have amazing horses and really supportive clients.”  She and Ots said when they get back home, they’ll be helping the KYB team move to its new home at Grand Prix Equestrian. “We do the move as soon as we get back,” Barteau said.

Barteau may be rather used to winning, but Ots said it’s all rather new to him. The 22-year-old rider originally hails from Green Bay, Wisconsin where his father ran a breeding farm. It was after he saw Kassandra Barteau ride during a regional championship in Lexington, Kentucky that he decided the Barteaus were the people with whom he wanted to train.

"I was amazed at how easy she rode and I thought, ’Wow, I want to ride like that.’ So I told Yvonne and Kim I’d do as many stalls as they wanted. I just wanted lessons and I would do whatever the heck they wanted.” That was five years ago and Ots said he was struggling to score in the 50s at Training Level, but with the help of the Barteaus and trainers who work with them, like Morelli, he’s now winning at Intermediaire and at a show as prestigious as Devon.

"It’s my first win at Devon,” Ots said. “It’s cool. I said to Kim that famous people win here. I’m just a no body from Chicago. It doesn’t feel real, I’m waiting to wake up.” Ots said it was especially exciting because it was a win among a class of really good riders and horses. “It wasn’t that there was one good horse, there were many.  There was such good riding and the whole class was just so close.”

One thing Devon certainly hasn’t had this year is great weather. Although the weather was decent for the breeding competition, drizzle, or outright rain, has been the norm during the performance competition leaving the Dixon Oval ring mucky. Earlier on Saturday, a young rider with the Thorncroft Therapeutic Horseback Riding team went down when her pony slipped on the wet footing and both fell. Pony and rider were fine and went on with their demonstration group, but footing was clearly an issue. A downright rain hit during Saturday evening’s popular Grand Prix Freestyle. Ots said the footing, however, was not an issue for Bentley.

"He’s a small tour machine and just plows through anything. He’s currently first in the country at Prix St. Georges. He just moves around there and does everything and he really tries in the test. The footing was a little soft but very stable. "

Ots said Bentley is also currently ranked first in the U.S. in the Intermediaire I Freestyle, generally scoring in the mid-70s. And although Ots calls him a rather stable horse, he reared his way through most of the awards ceremony. But Ots was unfazed saying his horse was “just a little excited with all the horses out there. I also gave him a little snack in the stall – the new Nutrena Energy X. It’s really good stuff, but I think I gave him a little too much.”