Endel Ots and Lucky Strike (Karl-Heinz Frieler)
Verden, Germany – Today, Endel Ots completed a successful showing at the FEI World Breeding Championships for Dressage Young Horses in the Five-Year-Old Final and Six-Year-Old Small Final. Competing against some of the best up-and-coming dressage talent in the world, Ots finished 11th in the Five-Year-Old Final with Lucky Strike and 11th in the Six-Year-Old Small Final with Samhitas.
USEF Young Horse Coach, Christine Traurig, was ecstatic with the week’s results, stating, “It was a big, long week, and overall a great success for Endel and his horses. [Lucky Strike] gave his all in every test, and because he is such a big horse, he was maybe a bit tired on this last day, but he was truly remarkable. The horse’s consistency over the three days was unbelievable and something to really be proud of. [Samhitas] was the best I have ever seen him today, both in the warm-up and in competition. All the owners and their support made a great contribution to the success of this week. Endel showed big talent and really represented the U.S. well.”
Aboard Lucky Strike, the impressive five-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Lord Laurie x Heidi/His Highness) owned by Max Ots, Ots went from strength-to-strength over three days of competition. In the preliminary test on Thursday, which served as the first qualifier for the Final, Ots and Lucky Strike scored an 8.600 to tie for 15th and moved forward to the Small Final on Friday. With incredible determination, the pair executed a beautiful test in the Small Final to place third on 8.680, landing them a coveted spot in today’s Final. Featuring 15 world-class five-year-olds, today’s Final showcased brilliant performances including that of Ots and Lucky Strike, who placed 11th on 8.100. The gelding continued to display his expressive trot work, earning an 8.300, and also collected high marks for his submission, an 8.500, and general impression, an 8.200.
“He tries his heart out – every day, every test,” said Ots of Lucky Strike. “When I wanted to change something, he was so adjustable and really stayed with me. He always gave me everything he could this week and I am super happy. We had a little bobble towards the end of our test today, but placing 11th in the world, it was incredible.”
The Five-Year-Old Champion was Fiontini ridden by Severo Jesus Jurado Lopez of Spain, who scored 9.180.
Also representing the U.S. in the Six-Year-Old division, Ots expertly guided his own and Gary Vander Ploeg’s Samhitas (Sir Donnerhall I x Heidebluete/Abanos), a six-year-old Oldenburg gelding, to respectable finishes in both the preliminary test and in the Small Final. In Friday’s first qualifier to the Final, the pair scored 7.540 to place 24th. The judges praised the gelding’s trot tour, scoring it an 8.800. In this morning’s Small Final, the graceful gelding continued to impress in his trot work, scoring an 8.400, but a low overall mark for the walk, 6.800, led to an overall score of 7.600 for an 11th-place finish.
“Today was a really fantastic test for [Samhitas],” said Ots. “This horse has super potential for international competition and this was only his fourth show here at the World Championships. We did have a little mistake in our test, but all our other tests were clean and it just makes me want to come back next year and ride that much better. I cannot thank my owners, coaches, and the USEF enough for the unbelievable support I have received this week.”
The Six-Year-Old Champion will be determined tomorrow in the Final.
Speaking to the importance of this international championship, Traurig noted, “In the U.S. we have a wonderful National Championships for young horses, and this World Championship is also incredibly important, as it is our first opportunity to showcase our horses on the international stage and see how they compare to the rest of the world. This World Championship is so vital for our breeders, owners, and riders to be able to represent the U.S. and see how the other countries are developing their young horses.”
From the USEF Communications Department