Endel Ots Could Ride Two Mounts for USA at World Young Horse Championships
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
WELLINGTON, Florida, May 12, 2015–Endel Ots has ridden horses to the top of the United States standings seeking to qualify both five and six year olds for the 2015 world championships in Germany that could see only the second American to achieve the double header.
If the standings hold up with only a month of qualifying to go, the 29-year-old rider originally from rural Wisconsin but now of Wellington will compete in Europe for the first time when he rides the youngsters at Verden at the beginning of August.
The two horses are:
Lucky Strike, a German-bred five-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Lord Laurie x His Highness) that is owned by Endel and his father and scored 81.400 in both competitons required to qualify, and
Samhitas, a German-bred six-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Sir Donnerhall x Abanos) owned by Canadians Gary and Jean Vander Ploeg and Endel whose qualifying scores were 80.800 and 85.600.
The only other American to have competed horses in both the five and six-year-old divisions at the World Young Horse Championships the same year is Jennifer Hoffman, based in Germany, in 2011.
“We’re in it for the long haul with both horses,” Endel told dressage-news.com. “Neither of these horses are for sale.”
Endel grew up with horses in De Pere outside Green Bay, Wisconsin known for its iconic NFL team. He worked in the Chicago area for eight years before moving to Germany to train with Olympian Hubertus Schmidt. He came to Wellington four years ago to work with the Florida-based Danish Olympic, world championship and World Cup rider and trainer Lars Petersen.
He now operates his own training and horse sales business in Wellington and likes to work with young horses. He understands the need to develop horses to sell–“breaks your heart but puts food on the table”–but that is not the intention with these two.
Lucky Strike was a lucky find for Endel who was in Belgium two years ago looking for a horse for a client. The gelding did not display any fancy gaits but Endel thought he had potential.
He did a deal with his dad who put up the money to buy the horse while Endel takes care of the expenses.
Lucky Strike got fancier as he got stronger and Endel competed the horse in the U.S. four-year-old championships last year.
Gary and Jean Vander Ploeg bought Samhitas at auction in Vechta, Germany. To work the fresh young horse, a mutual friend recommended Endel ride Samhitas a few times. The championships were too much for Samhitas as a five-year-old but a year and a couple of national and international performances later Endel believes the Oldenburg gelding is ready.
To qualify for the United States, the Vander Ploegs and Endel came to an arrangement for joint ownership.
“I like to feel cofident and easy when I compete,” Endel said. “I feel pretty good about going to Verden.”
Although he has never competed in Europe, he has talked often with Canadian veteran Evi Strasser who was based out of the Palm Beach Equine complex where Endel also operates his business across from the Global Dressage Festival show grounds in Wellington.