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Payback "Reins" Supreme for Endel Ots and Nora Batchelder
Friday, July 15, 2022
HIGH PERFORMANCE DRESSAGE | PAN AMERICAN GAMES
Back in 2019, Endel Ots and his horse, Lucky Strike were selected to represent the United States at the Pan American Games with dressage teammates Sarah Lockman and First Apple, Nora Batchelder and Faro SQF and Jennifer Baumert and Handsome. The team trained together in the US before leaving for Lima, Peru for the Games and formed a great bond. Unfortunately, for Endel and the entire team, his horse Lucky Strike sustained an injury on the van to Miami in route to meet the plane to fly to Peru. Lucky Strike would not be able to fly and compete and was taken to Palm Beach Equine Clinic for treatment as the rest of the team headed to Peru.
Endel felt a strong bond with his teammates, and he decided to go to Peru and cheer them on and "help in any way he could". Little did he know just how crucial his help would be to the success of the US Dressage Team. While at the Pan American Games competition, Nora Batchelder experienced an equipment failure when the stitching on her saddle billet strap broke. The US Team was already down on rider with Endel out and flying in a saddle repair person was not feasible. Endel had worked for a few years for a saddle company before his full-time career as a trainer and assured the US Team leaders that he could repair the saddle for Nora. The necessary tools were procured and Endel proceeded in repairing Nora's saddle-allowing her to stay in competition. In the end, the US Dressage Team brought home the Team Silver Medal and US rider, Sarah Lockman won the Individual Gold Medal.
While horseless for the Games, Endel was able to make a big contribution to the team's success. After the Games, USEF Director of Sport, Will Connell, wrote the following to Endel:
"Endel, I wanted to say a huge thank you for the support you gave everyone in Lima. I will freely admit that I was a little concerned when I heard you would still be travelling to Lima, as I thought it could be challenging for you and the other Team athletes. How wrong I was. You were as much a part of the Team as you would have been if you had had your Nag there, perhaps (dare I say) more so. Your demeanor, great humor, support, advice, willingness to sew up boots and bonhomie I am convinced contributed to the success of the Team; and by team I include athletes, grooms and staff. I have seen too many athletes across too many sports have to deal with the disappointment of last-minute withdrawal sue to injury, but your demeanor is one that I would hold up to as a gold standard.
The US Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) have also recognized your commitment to the Team and the manner in whih you responded to the disappointment and contributed to the success of Team USA. As such you will be receiving recognition from them.
Wishing you good luck for the future and again, thank you, Will".
Most thankful was teammate, Nora Batchelder whose saddle Endel had repaired. She thanked Endel profusely and said she was forever in his debt, (or so she thought).
Fast forward to June 2022, both Endel and Nora were competing at the Ocala Summer Fun I show at the Florida Horse Park. Endel was competing Zen Equestrian Center's striking 7-year-old stallion, King's Pleasure and aiming for another qualifying score for the US Festival of Champions competition, with an eye on garnering cores for the World Breeding Championships in Denmark, as well. In Sunday's final competition, Nora's ride on the 7-year-old, Nova, was the ride just before Endel and King's ride. While Nora was competing, Endel experienced an equipment failure of his own, when a buckle on his rein broke with no time to possibly replace it as his ride was minutes away. As Nora was exiting the arena, Endel asked, "Hey Nora, do you want to pay me back for helping you in Peru?" "That's impossible", said Nora. as Endel explained his dilemma was a broken rein. In a matter of seconds, Nora gave Endel her horse's rein for King and they quickly put it on his bridle and Endel and King rode directly into the competition arena. Endel scored an 81.600% form the judge at C, Pamela Wooding, his highest score to date on King's Pleasure. Endel and Nora celebrated the delightful twist of fate, where pay back really did "rein" supreme.
This week, Endel and King's Pleasure hope to continue their success trajectory competing at Dressage at Lexington, July 15-17 at the Virginia Horse Center in Lexington, VA. King's Pleasure is owned by Heidi Humphries, the visionary behind the very unique, Zen Elite Equestrian Center located in Southwest Ranches, Florida. "The karmic exchange between King's trainer, Endel Ots and Nora Batchelder in Ocala, matches the very essence of what the Zen Elite Equestrian Center is all about," said Humphries, who looks forward to watching King's Pleasure in Virginia this week.