Endel Ots’ Journey with Zen Elite’s Bohemian–So Far

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Zen Elite’s Bohemian ridden by Endel Ots after the first international competition for the partnership and the first ever Big Tour for the rider. © 2024 Ken Braddick/DRESSAGE-NEWS.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

WELLINGTON, Florida, Mar. 30, 2024–Endel Ots describes his partnership with the world famous Bohemian owned by Zen Elite as “very surreal” that has given him the opportunity to go to the Olympic Games just four months after performing his first international Grand Prix.

Endel, admits at age 38, he is “amazed” at the vision shown by Heidi Humphries who owns Zen Elite Equestrian Center in Ft. Lauderdale just an hour south of Wellington that has given him the chance to ride Bohemian, the horse that superstar Cathrine Laudrup-Dufour rode for Denmark at the Tokyo Olympics and the 2021 European Championships.

Not only Bohemian for Endel but also Grand Prix horses Helix that was ridden by Marina Mattson of Sweden and Lars van de Hoenderheide competed by world champion rider Charlotte “Lottie” Fry that both went to Adrienne Lyle. The two-time Olympian has, so far, been most successful on Salvino that she rode on the historic American silver medal teams at the Tokyo Olympics and the 2018 World Equestrian Games.

And Heidi’s commitment went beyond this summer’s Olympics in Paris–the stallion Fleau de Baian developed by Adelinde Cornelissen is with Christian Simonson, the successful American Under-25 rider on the U.S. gold medal team at the 2023 Pan American Games and named FEI “Rising Star” just weeks later.

Adrienne Lyle and Helix, a 12-year-old KWPN gelding. © 2024 Ken Braddick/DRESSAGE-NEWS.com

Heidi, he said, saw that Bohemian was going to be auctioned and contacted owner Korea’s Dong Seon Kim.

“I had actually just come back from Europe from trying a bunch of other horses and she said, ‘I want you to go sit on this one.’ I’m like, OK, no problem.

I called Heidi right afterwards and said, ‘I could do a CDI Grand Prix in three days right now. It’s just such an unbelievable animal.’ I mean it just is a really, really, really crazy cool horse. I mean all of it’s very surreal.

“He has the biggest heart I’ve ever felt in a horse. I’m worried about riding other horses in the future because he’s so great, he is really such a beautiful soul.”

Zen Elite’s Bohemian ridden by Endel Ots. © 2024 Ken Braddick/DRESSAGE-NEWS.com

And Endel is able to apply what he has learned during the past 20 years from his coach, Albrecht Heidemann of Germany.

“We work on basics, we don’t drill through the tests or movements just very basic throughness with walk, trot, canter for maybe a couple of days a week, then the rest I’ll maybe bareback ride them or go hand walking.”

With tips also from Cathrine Laudrup-Dufour he’s learning to shorten the warm up.

“Don’t let your insecurities in yourself go into him,” she told him.

“It’s hard when you haven’t done this stuff,,” he said. “I’m trying to get as much information from each of the rides. It’s a whole other level of thinking and planning.

I feel like I’m on a roller coaster where it’s clicking up, but I have to keep saying: ‘Hey, you wanted this, stay there!’ I mean the rest of it’s really fun and the aftermath is really fun.”