Tag Archives: Todd Minikus

Hunt Tosh and Flamingo-K Earn Victory in $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby

Hunt Tosh and Flamingo-K. Photos ©Sportfot.

Mill Spring, NC – July 7, 2017 – Hunt Tosh of Milton, GA and Flamingo-K, owned by Ceil Wheeler, finished as the winning pair in the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC). The duo were tied for second place after the first round with a combined score of 177 and turned in another strong performance in the handy round, earning a score of 200, for a total score of 377. Harold Chopping of Southern Pines, NC and Celtic Gold, owned by Meg Valnoski, secured the second place honors with a two round total of 368, while Jennifer Hannan of Wakefield, RI and Olympic Fire, owned by Roger Smith, rounded out the top three with a score of 363.

Tosh and family made a special trip to TIEC for the weekend, bringing only Flamingo-K to contest the duo’s abilities in this very class. Navigating the handy round with precision and beauty, the duo ended the day with a blue ribbon, proving the journey to be well worth their travels. Tosh and Flamingo-K have only been partnered for a short time and this was Tosh’s second class with the 12-year-old chestnut gelding.

“He is very new to us,” Tosh explained. “The Wheelers bought him for me at Devon this year because they have been looking for that special derby horse. I showed him in one other derby before this, so I am really just getting to know him.”

Flamingo-K only started competing in the hunter discipline this year, originally coming from the jumpers, and his transition to the hunter derby ring has been flawless. Tosh detailed how Flamingo-K is very well suited for derbies, saying, “He finds the jumps really well. I hate trot jumps. I think I’ve lost more classes because of trot jumps, but he is a good trot jumper and that helps out! With his scope, you just have so much range. You can be where it’s not optimal and he makes up for it. He has a great rhythm and is just really fun to ride.”

Although the mount is rather new, he spoke very highly of the horse’s ability to perform in the big George H. Morris Arena.

“He is a blast to ride. He is super scopey, brave, very careful, and really just a sweet horse. I think he is going to be an amazing derby horse.”

Tosh’s daughter, Maddie Tosh, competed multiple mounts in last weekend’s $10,000 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby. Tosh had never showed in this arena and therefore relied on his daughter’s insight for the class.

“The best part about Maddie is that she is so hands on in the barn and she knows all of the horses just as well as I do and everything about them. I told her tonight she would have to give me pointers on how to show in this ring because I have never shown in it before! So I asked her how it rode and for her advice,” laughed Tosh.

Tosh and his team have loved their experience at TIEC, especially after his impressive win. Tosh commented on the layout details of the TIEC, saying, “We love it here. The footing and the facility overall is just so nice. You are standing under shaded covers with fans in-between rounds. I mean you can’t ask for more accommodations at a horse show. What they have done here is phenomenal.”

Tosh was very appreciative of the opportunity to compete in such a large ring, while also expressing his gratitude to the Wheeler family, saying, “I can’t thank them enough for buying him for me to ride. They have been after me for a derby horse for quite some time, and we finally got one!”

Todd Minikus and Exceptional Take $15,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby

Todd Minikus of Loxahatchee, FL and Exceptional were just that in the $15,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby at TIEC. Minikus and Exceptional bested twenty-six other pairings with phenomenal scores of 92 and 96, capturing the win by more than ten points with a final score of 188. Taylor Ann Adams of Ocala, FL and Lucretia finished in second place with a two round score of 177.5, while Kianna Luscher of Hawthorne, NJ and Carissima W took third place with 175 points after two rounds.

Todd Minikus and Exceptional

Minikus explained that he wasn’t sure how to approach the inside turns for the handy round in particular with this horse, and needed to improvise a bit on course, which Exceptional, owned by Todd Minikus LTD, handled with ease.

He commented, “I thought it was a very nice course. The inside turns in the handy were really inside, which I do have some practice with, but he’s a very green horse and I didn’t know how he would take it. He handled it exceptionally well and evidently the judges thought he did it as well as I did!”

The pair has been together since midway through the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) circuit in Wellington, FL when a friend of Minikus found Exceptional in Belgium and connected the two. A six-year-old bay gelding, Exceptional has only done six or seven shows in his career.

“He was champion both this week and last week, so he’s turned himself into a real winner,” said Minikus. “We make our living selling horses, so hopefully somebody wants to have a winner and buys him from me, but until that time, I’ll continue to show him in his prospective division and these derbies. Hopefully we’ll keep winning,” he added with a smile.

Sharn Wordley and Famoso D Ive Z Take $6,000 Nutrena® 1.40m Classic CSI 3*

Sharn Wordley (NZL) and Famoso D Ive Z topped the $6,000 Nutrena® 1.40m Classic CSI 3* on the Grass Complex at TIEC, stopping the jump-off timers at 37.09 seconds. Kyle Timm (CAN) and Georgie B sped to second with a 38.179 second dash, while Erynn Ballard (CAN) took third place aboard Thalys Z, stopping the timers in 39.845 seconds.

Famoso D Ive Z, a 2007 Zangersheide gelding (For Pleasure x Chin Chin) owned by Sky Group & Sharn Wordley, has been with Wordley for two years now and the pair have amassed an impressive record together.

“The horse came from Europe, so he jumped on grass quite a bit, but I’ve had him for two years and this was my fifth class on grass,” he explained. “We don’t have much grass around. He loved it today and he was fantastic.”

In the last year, Wordley and Famoso D Ive Z have won seven ranking classes together at TIEC alone and Wordley emphasized that he is an important horse in his successful string.

“He wins a lot of classes. He’s fast. He does the ranking classes to save the grand prix horses or if there’s a grand prix that’s appropriate to him. He’s a good horse and very fast.

“I love TIEC. It’s one of my favorite horse shows. I think now, too, they’ve got the grass fantastic to ride on and it’s really good,” he said. “Oscar [Soberon] did a great job and always builds good courses. He’s a great course designer.”

For more information on Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), please visit www.tryon.com.

Todd Minikus Racks Up Big Wins Bringing Young Horses up the Ranks at Tryon CSI 2*

Todd Minikus at award ceremony for finish on Incitatus in the $86,000 Adequan® Grand Prix FEI CSI2* (Photo courtesy of Todd Minikus)

Tryon, NC (July 6, 2017) – Todd Minikus and Incitatus opened up the Week V competition at Tryon CSI 2* in a big way, handily winning the $6000 1.40m Nutrena Power CSI 2* and Speed Open, by besting a field of 56 entries. After going clean in the first round, the duo prevailed in the jump off, finishing out the round with a sizzling 31.45. Lawaetz’s flashy Oldenberg gelding Incitatus then forged onward with Minikus at the helm, seizing an impressive 3rd place amongst 45 entries in the $86,000 Adequan® Grand Prix CSI2*.

Minikus noted, “This was a nice win for Incitatus. His owner, Alice Lawaetz, and I are so pleased with his progress. He continues to show his great potential and I am excited to see how he develops. I think he is going to be a top-notch jumper.”

As usual Minikus’ feet barely hit the ground between rounds – jumping from one mount to another to notch additional wins and top placings on a bevy of mounts throughout the competition.  VDL Excel continued to shine in the 1.40m Open Jumper division, seizing another first place win and several additional top placings. Minikus and Chablis S owned by Los Establos SportHorses, dominated 55 other horse and rider teams to win first place and bragging rights in the Adequan 1.30m Open Jumper class. Chablis S and Minikus then stayed the course, picking up another reserve ribbon in the same division to boot.

Minikus continued on with this winning ways with his own horses — Exceptional outperformed in the Green Hunter 3’ 3” classes again, winning a championship ribbon and taking three reserves. Minikus’ mare Spring Girl took a second place in the 1.10m Open Jumper class with Minikus at the reins.

“Most of these horses are young and gaining experience. This summer at Tryon is all about bringing them up the levels. It is so rewarding to see them come into their own and fulfill their potential,” explained Minikus.

Minikus is scheduled to compete at Tryon throughout July 17th. To keep up with FEI Nations Cup veteran and U.S. Pan American Games Team Bronze Medalist Minikus and his crew, follow on Facebook and Instagram @Todd_Minikus, or visit www.ToddMinikusShowJumping.com.

Contact: Amanda Minikus
amandajl16@aol.com
562-762-3762
www.toddminikus.com

Santiago Lambre and Ibabco Win $35k 1.45m Suncast Commercial Welcome Stake CSI 2*

Santiago Lambre and Ibabco. Photo Credit ©Sportfot.

Mill Spring, NC – June 29, 2017 – Santiago Lambre (MEX) and Ibabco rose to the top of a massive class to take top honors in the $35,000 1.45m Suncast® Commercial Welcome Stake CSI 2* at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC). The pair finished the jump-off track in 37.194 seconds ahead of Abigail McArdle (USA) and Chuck Berry 8, who finished just behind the winning duo with a time of 37.223 seconds. Andrew Ramsay (USA) and Cocq A Doodle rounded out the top three, stopping the timers in 37.753 seconds.

The class saw 82 entries contest the first round track set by Ken Krome (USA), with 29 pairs advancing to the jump-off round. Only 12 combinations secured a double clear effort on the afternoon. Lambre and Ibabco went 22nd in the original order and held their lead through the remainder of the jump-off round.

“I thought it was a difficult course. There were a lot of clears for the first day of the week, but that’s okay,” said Lambre. “From the second vertical to fence fourteen in the jump-off was where I felt like I made up the time. Also, to the last fence I left out a stride. We were at a full gallop and he was great.”

Ibabco, a 2008 Belgian Warmblood gelding (Nabab de Reve x Darco) owned by Lambre, has started to shine in international competition with Lambre over the past year. The duo connected last spring after Lambre purchased the gelding and the duo have finished with top placings since their partnership began.

I bought him at the end of last year and when I was in Wellington this season, I was jumping a few classes with him at the 1.45m and 1.50m height. The idea is that this is a horse for the future and to maybe jump the FEI World Equestrian Games™ here next year,” explained Lambre. “I also think maybe at the end of the second part of this year, I’d like to jump some of the CSI 5* shows with him to see where he is before heading into the winter season.”

The duo will forgo the $86,000 Adequan® Grand Prix CSI 2* on Saturday night, instead to contest the $35,000 1.45m Tryon Challenge CSI 2* class on Sunday. Lambre explained, “He’ll jump again on Sunday. The other horse that I rode in the class today, I didn’t want to go to the jump-off today, but he’ll try to go into the big class on Saturday.”

Speaking of the talents of Ibabco, Lambre touched on the athleticism and carefulness of the gelding, which are qualities he believes will make him a star in the coming months.

He added, “He’s a very brave horse and he has super technique with his front end. He’s very fast in front and quite athletic. He’s just careful and very nice all around.”

Todd Minikus and Incitatus Victorious in $6,000 1.40m Nutrena® Power & Speed Opener CSI 2*

Todd Minikus (USA) and Incitatus, a 2009 Oldenburg Springpferd gelding (Stakkatol x Con Air) owned by Alice Lawaetz, captured the win in the $6,000 1.40m Nutrena® Power & Speed Opener to kick off FEI competition at Tryon Summer V. The pair took the class with a jump-off time of 31.45 seconds, ahead of Abigail McArdle (USA) and Chuck Berry 8, who stopped the timers in 31.964 seconds. Andrew Ramsay (USA) and Cocq A Doodle collected third place with a jump-off time of 32.13 seconds.

“It seemed like a nice opening class for the FEI horses. It left some room to make horses confident and get them going on the course. This is one horse I haven’t shown much before. He was the first horse in the class and did very nicely. Most of these horses are either young or inexperienced, so it was a good way to start the week for them,” commented Minikus.

Incitatus is a young horse who Minikus is priming for a move up the levels and noted his excitement with the pair’s performance to start the week. He explained, “He’s eight and has just started to move up in the ranks here this summer. That’s my first win with him, so I’m excited that he’s starting to catch onto my system.”

As for the pair’s goals, Minikus is planning on taking it slow through the summer months to help Incitatus find confidence in the larger FEI classes before a jump to some of the more competitive classes later on in the year and looking toward the beginning of 2018.

“I think he’s going to have a big future. We’ll just see how much he can learn this summer and hopefully do the bigger classes this winter,” he concluded.

To learn more about Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), please visit www.tryon.com.

Team Minikus Scores Again with Wins at Tryon Summer II CSI4*

Tori Welch (right) and Sniper pictured with Trainer Todd Minikus (far left) and his son Colt Minikus (middle) after winning two Low Jumper 1.2 classes and reserve in the $3000 Low Junior Jumper Classic at Tryon International Equestrian Center.

Tryon, NC (June 15, 2017) – Once again, Team Minikus has showed what it’s made of with wins and top finishes at the Tryon Summer II CSI4* at the Tyron International Equestrian Center in Tryon, North Carolina. Minikus and two of his students, Victoria (Tori) Zelch and Catherine Wachtell, all pocketed blue ribbons along with top placings on several mounts.

Minikus’ promising eight-year-old bay mare, Juju VDM, showed her mettle once again, winning the Nutrena 1.4 Open Jumper class. Juju VDM is coming into her own after having two foals. Even though she has only shown half a dozen times, her natural talent in the ring indicates a bright future ahead of her. Her illustrious bloodlines include her dam Derly Chin De Muze, who was the Bronze Medalist at the 2009 FEI World Championship at Lanaken and also Eric Lamaze’s mount at the 2012 London Olympics.

Along with his win on Juju VDM, Minikus finished second in a field of 19 horses on VDL Excel in Wednesday’s Nutrena 1.40m Open Jumper class. The following day, Minikus and Los Establos SportHorses’ Chablis S picked up a reserve in the Adequan 1.3m Open Jumper class.

Minikus also made it to the jump off with Alice Lawaetz’s gelding Incitatus, and finished a respectable seventh out of a roster of 40 entries in the Suncast Commercial FEI $35,000 Welcome Stake. “This horse just continues to improve and show his unlimited potential,” said Todd Minikus about Incitatus.

Team Minikus’ youngest competitor, 16-year-old Tori Zelch from Ohio, tallied two first place finishes in the Low Jumper 1.2m on her handsome liver chestnut gelding, Sniper, who she purchased from Todd and Amanda Minikus. She and Sniper also claimed the reserve placing in the $3,000 Low Junior Jumper Classic. Additionally, Zelch won second and third place aboard Musical Wood’s talented mare, Mary Jane, in the Low Jumper Junior Division.

“Tori joined us during the winter season at WEF competing in the Children’s Division, and wanted to move up to the Juniors. Now, not only has she moved up to the Junior Division, but she is winning in the Juniors,” said Minikus proudly.

Not to be outdone, 21-year-old Adult Amateur Catherine Wachtell and her mount Elarina won The Equis Boutique Low Amateur Owner Jumper 1.2m, toping a class of 20 horses as well as scoring two third place finishes in the Low Amateur-Owner Jumper 1.2m and the Low Amateur Owner-Jumper Classic 1.2m.

“I am proud of these young up-and-coming horses and riders. It’s so rewarding to see their progress,” added Minikus, who celebrated his own birthday during the successful show.

In between traveling and competing, FEI Nations Cup veteran and U.S. Pan American Games Team Bronze Medalist Todd Minikus is based in Wellington, Florida, where he offers sales and training services. Keep up with Team Minikus by following Facebook and Instagram @Todd_Minikus, or visit www.ToddMinikusShowJumping.com.

Contact: Amanda Minikus
amandajl16@aol.com
562-762-3762
www.toddminikus.com

Todd Minikus Racks Up More Top Finishes at Tryon Summer 1 CSI3*

Photo Courtesy of JRPR.

Tryon, NC (June 7, 2017) – Todd Minikus kicked off the 2017 Tryon Summer 1 CSI3* competition with a flurry of blue ribbons for top finishes on a fleet of horses at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in Tryon, North Carolina.

The talented bay mare Juju VDM opened up strong with Minikus at the helm, coming out on top with a blue ribbon in the Nutrena 1.4 Open Jumper class. Minikus also scored wins in Asheville BMW Center’s 1.2m Open Jumper class, turning in a sizzling first place ride aboard Mary Jane, owned by Musical Woods LLC, and placing third in the same class on KWPN mare Chablis S, owned by Los Establos SportHorses.

Demonstrating why he’s currently ranked second on the United States Hunter Jumper Association’s (USHJA) list of lifetime earners, Minikus added even more to his earnings by picking up additional prize money on Alice Lawaetz’s geldings Sancento and Incitatus, Alex Verlooy’s Carvelo Z, VDL Excel owned by the CoverBoy Group, and Minikus’ own I Dottori VD Richter. Minikus’ horse Exceptional outdid his previous week’s stack of reserve ribbons by cleaning up in the green hunter division, scoring four first place ribbons and some additional cash.

When not on the road competing, FEI Nations Cup veteran and U.S. Pan American Games Team Bronze Medalist Todd Minikus offers sales and training services in his hometown, Wellington, Florida. Stay tuned for more triumphs at Tryon and check out where Team Minikus is next by following on Facebook and Instagram @Todd_Minikus, or visit www.ToddMinikusShowJumping.com.

Contact: Amanda Minikus
amandajl16@aol.com
562-762-3762
www.toddminikus.com

Todd Minikus Continues His Winning Ways at Kentucky Spring Classic

Photo Courtesy of JRPR.

Lexington, KY (May 23, 2017) – It was a rewind of the previous week at the Kentucky Horse Park with Todd Minikus in the money and in the top ribbons again on multiple mounts at the 2017 Kentucky Spring Classic, May 17-22. Minikus again started early with an impressive first place win after an outstanding go on Alex Verlooy’s Carvelo Z in the 135m class.

Once again Minikus was on the move riding a bevy of horses. He piloted Elarina owned by the CoverBoy Group to top placings in both the 7-year-old jumping classes. Minikus wrapped up the weekend with a series of successes on clients’ horses as well as a few of his own, including the 8-year-old bay mare JuJu VDM and 9-year-old I Dottori VD Richter owned in partnership with Brems Sport Horses, the striking bay gelding, VDL Excel owned by the CoverBoy Group, and Alice Lawaetz’s chestnut gelding Incitatus — all finishing in the money for their primo performances in the jumper ring.

And Minikus’ own bay gelding Exceptional continued demonstrate his promise in the hunter ring by earning three second place ribbons in Green Hunter 3’3’ classes. “He is going to make someone an outstanding hunter mount,” Minikus said of Exceptional. “He really lives up to his name and he just a fun horse to show.”

Next Team Minikus heads south to Tryon International Equestrian Center, North Carolina, to get the jump on summer circuit.

When not competing nationally and internationally, Todd Minikus offers sales and training services in Wellington, Florida. Minikus, a FEI Nations Cup veteran, is also a U.S. Pan American Games Team Bronze Medalist. Be a part of the action by following Team Minikus on Facebook and Instagram @Todd_Minikus, or visit www.ToddMinikusShowJumping.com.

Contact: Amanda Minikus
amandajl16@aol.com
562-762-3762
www.toddminikus.com

Todd Minikus Starts Off Kentucky Spring Horse Show with Victories and Multiple Horses

Sancento, ridden by Todd Minikus, goes clear in his very first Grand Prix. (Photo courtesy of Shawn McMillen Photography)

Lexington, KY (May 16, 2017) — Todd Minikus’ feet barely hit the ground between stirrup irons at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show in Lexington, May 10-14. Minikus competed on a dozen horses over the weekend making a lot of owners happy with top finishes on several horses. Alex Verlooy’s Carvelo Z took the blue in the 135m leading the Minikus jumper charge.  Minikus also finished in the money with eight others including Alice Lawaetz’s handsome bay gelding, Incitatus and her fiery chestnut, Sancento, along with four horses owned by The Coverboy Group — Coverboy, VDL Excel, Eldorado VDL, and Elarina — and Chablis S owned by Los Establos Sport Horses.

As he did at the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival this year, Minikus found a few spare minutes to campaign in the hunter rings, as well. Minikus’ own bay gelding Exceptional lived up to his name by earning first place in the Young Hunter 3” & 3’3 class.

Always quick to credit his team, Minikus shared, “I’ve got 12 horses up here and I’m just riding all day. I’ve got my staff with me and they are doing a great job. They are all hustling.”

Though Minikus is a seasoned competitor with well over 100 Grand Prix wins under his belt, his equine partners were a bit newer to the scene. “The highlight of the week was when Alice Lawaetz’s horse, Sancento, jumped clear in his very first Grand Prix. We were very excited about that,” said Minikus. “Hopefully this weather cooperates so we can just keep on moving these young horses up,” commented Minikus.

Minikus is now focusing on the upcoming Kentucky Spring Classic, which runs May 17-24 at the Kentucky Horse Park. Team Minikus will then get the jump on summer competition at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in North Carolina.

When not competing nationally and internationally, Todd Minikus offers sales and training services in Wellington, Florida. Minikus, a FEI Nations Cup veteran, is also a U.S. Pan American Games Team Bronze Medalist. Follow the excitement of Team Minikus on Facebook and Instagram @Todd_Minikus, or visit www.ToddMinikusShowJumping.com.

Contact: Amanda Minikus
amandajl16@aol.com
562-762-3762
www.toddminikus.com

HITS Ocala Winter Circuit Week X Round-Up

(C) ESI PHOTOGRAPHY. Hunter Holloway and Any Given Sunday.

Ocala, FL (March 30, 2017): The Ocala Winter Circuit came to a close last week in Week X at HITS Post Time Farm. The Ocala Winter Circuit will return next year in 2018 with the same schedule. Great American Insurance Group will again sponsor the Great American $1 Million Grand Prix for what will be the fifth consecutive year.

Hunter Holloway Captures Win in $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby in Ocala

The final week of the 2017 HITS Ocala Winter Circuit drew to an end last weekend as an eager crowd gathered to witness 28 riders and their elegant mounts compete for one of the most prestigious hunter victories, the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby.

Last week’s hunter event marked the second USHJA Hunter Derby at HITS Ocala this winter season. It was a big class that carries very prestigious honor, and the top placings were stacked with young, talented equestrians.

The top contenders were all competitive and accomplished jumper riders in the junior/amateur-owner divisions as well as several Grand Prix winners – but this day was all about the hunters, and these stellar performances did not disappoint the crowd.

Hunter Holloway of Topeka, Kansas walked away with the blue-ribbon victory aboard Any Given Sunday, owned by Hays Investment Corp. In the Week IV Hunter Derby, Holloway and Any Given Sunday received the second place prize, but this time, they were picked to sit at the top of the leaderboard.

Second place went to Personalized, owned by Further Lane Farm, and ridden by Brian Moggre. Moggre has shown tremendous success in the jumper ring, including a huge win in last year’s $250,000 Black Barn Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Final at the HITS Championship in Saugerties.

Moggre and his beautiful mount stepped up to the plate in Saturday’s derby to walk away with the red ribbon.

Cassandra Kahle, also a seasoned Grand Prix rider, took home third place piloting Baranus, owned by Redfield Farm. Kahle has won several Devoucoux Hunter Prix at HITS’ Shows and a tremendous amount of ribbons at HITS. The Canadian equestrian also took home fifth place in the $500,000 Diamond Mills Hunter Prix Final last September in Saugerties.

Tracy Fenney rode MTM Outbid, owned by MTM Farm, to the fourth place spot. Fenney is also a winner of many Grand Prix at HITS Ocala and, like Kahle, took home a ribbon in the top five in the Diamond Mills Hunter Prix last year with third place. Fifth place in last week’s Derby went to Cassius, ridden by Caitlyn Shiels and owned by Don Stewart.

The enchanting stage was set for the field of top-caliber contenders with a lovely course designed by Tim Hott of Cumming, Iowa.

Unique to the derby format, in addition to the base score, two judging panels awarded an Option Bonus Score consisting of one additional point for every higher height option fence jumped. As 12 returned for the second round, judges awarded a Base Score, Option Bonus Score and a Handy Bonus Score, assessing the handiness of the round.

The top twelve returned for the second round of the two-round derby.  Holloway and Any Given Sunday entered the second round sitting in third place. They opted for two height options, and earned a total that moved them ahead in the pack for the eventual win thanks to their total of 19 handy bonus points. They earned a high second-round total score of 204, combined with a first-round total score of 175 for a very high overall score of 379.

Moggre and Personalized came into the second round sitting in fourth place tie with the eventual sixth place, Robert Lee and Intrepid. After a first-round score of 172, the pair made a major comeback, opting for two height options to step into second place with their second-round total of 194 for an overall score of 366.

Cassandra Kahle was behind in the pack with a first-round score of 160, they made a major comeback in the second round, opting for all four height options to garner a second-round score of 200, boosting their overall total to 360 for third place.

Fenney’s fourth place ride aboard MTM Outbid was second place coming into the second round after a first-round total of 179. Combined with their second-round score of 167, that gave them an overall total of 346.

Caitlyn Shiels and her fifth place mount, Cassius, earned a first round score of 165 combined with their second-round score of 166; they finished the class with an overall score of 331 for the final spot in the top five.

Adelaide Toensing Tops the Field in HITS Equitation Championship

The lights of the Ocala Horse Properties Stadium gleamed down on competitors for the return of the HITS Equitation Championship. Adelaide Toensing took home the evening’s top honors in Ocala, Florida.

After ten weeks of qualifying opportunities throughout the HITS Ocala Winter Show Circuit, thirty-two juniors took their chance at the technical course, set at 3’6”, designed by Tim Hott of Cumming, Iowa.  Competitors were judged by two sets of officials who evaluated their abilities as emerging horsemen and women. The course tested not only their competence in the ring, but also their efforts in the schooling area, as all riders turned in their cell phones and left their trainers in the stands.

A warm-up judge was solely assigned to evaluate how efficiently the riders utilized their time in the warm-up ring and their effectiveness in schooling their horses. Riders banded together as they walked the courses, warmed up and competed all on their own, forming a sense of camaraderie among opponents.

© ESI Photography. Adelaide Toensing

The course included gymnastics, trot fences, oxers, verticals and combinations in the first round, with the second round displaying a more technical, jumper-style course, including an open water element as an option fence.

As the top 12 returned to contend for the blue in the two-round championship, Toensing was feeling confident after sealing the second-highest score of the first round, an 84, to continue into the second round. Toensing earned an 85 in the second round, keeping their scores consistent throughout each challenge. The combined scores produced a winning total of 169.

Coming in behind Toensing for second place was Briley Koerner. She received a 78 in the first round, improving to an 88 in the second round, the highest of the second-round course, to produce a total of 166.

Third in the ribbons was Abigail Lefkowitz with a total score of 163.5 – comprised of her first-round score of 77.5 and improved second-round score of 86.

Todd Minikus Takes the Blue in $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix during Final Week at HITS Ocala

Competition continued during the final week of the Ocala Winter Circuit with the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix

The order of go was stacked with talent, including Florida equestrian Todd Minikus, who would eventually win the class, young star Lillie Keenan, who rode in the FEI Nations Cup™ Ocala for Team USA, and Irishman Cian O’Connor, who placed third in last weekend’s AIG $1 Million Grand Prix at HITS Coachella.

Thirty-three challengers turned out for their shot at the top prize, and nine went clear to advance to the jump-off course set by Werner Deeg of Germany.

Four jumped clear over the shortened course in a race for the win, where it all came down to speed and agility.

Minikus rode Valinski S, owned by Michael Dorman & Wyndmont, Inc., to the win, going sixth in the order in the jump-off. They stopped the clock in a cool, fault-free finish in 33.348, two seconds ahead of the eventual second placer.

Tracy Fenney, a force to be reckoned with in the Grand Prix at HITS Ocala, took home the red ribbon and second place prize aboard MTM Como No, owned by MTM Farm. They passed the timers in 35.637 for the ultimate second place spot on the leaderboard.

Venezuelan equestrian, Emanuel Andrade, is a speedy rider and has laid down numerous quick and competitive rounds in the Grand Prix. Andrade rode for Team Venezuela in the FEI Nations Cup™ Ocala and placed highly all weekend.

Andrade piloted Reus De La Nutria to a 35.983-second finish, just three-tenths of a second behind Fenney for the third place prize.

Fourth in the ribbons was Isabelle LaPierre of Canada and her own Cesha M. LaPierre and Cesha M have been consistent contenders in the Grand Prix Ring at HITS Ocala this season, including a win in the Week IV $50,000 HITS Grand Prix. Their clean time of 37.073 earned them their spot in the top five when the class was finished.

Rounding out the top five was Lillie Keenan riding Be Gentle, owned by Chansonette Farm, LLC. They powered through the course but an unfortunate rail would give them four faults as they crossed the finish. Their quick time of 35.365, however, would settle them with the fifth place prize.

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Todd Minikus and Babalou Take Top Honors at Longines Final Leg in Ocala

Todd Minikus and Babalou. (FEI/Debra Jamroz)

Ocala, FL, (USA), 12 March 2017 – As the final pair to enter the turf field at Live Oak International, the USA’s Todd Minikus and Babalou delivered a commanding, double clear performance to win the $100,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Ocala, the closing leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2016/2017 North American League season.

Until Minikus crossed the timers at 47.77 seconds, Germany’s Andre Thieme and Conthendrix held the lead as the seventh pair to ride in the 18-horse jump off. Thieme stopped the clock at 49.39 seconds with zero faults across the shortened track. France’s Alexandra Paillot rounded out the international podium with a third-place, double clear finish aboard Polias de Blondel. Their round clocked in at 51.68 seconds.

“I could have the reputation of going maybe a little too fast, once in a while,” said Minikus. “I was basically not trying to turn too tight or make a silly mistake by going too fast. And Andre was pretty quick. It was a great event and I’m very excited to be back. The two times I’ve been here, I’ve ended up winning so I’m all about Live Oak.”

From a starting number of 38 entries, nearly half of the field went clear in the first round over a fair, yet testing, course built by Bob Ellis (GBR). The first round featured 13 obstacles and 16 jumping attempts, with triple and double combinations. Ellis also utilized the field’s slope to test adjustability, scope, and carefulness at strategically placed verticals and wide oxers.

“My plan was to provide some good sport, which we had,” said Ellis. “We had a few clear rounds; more than I had expected, I have to say. But a great jump off. These guys made it very, very exciting.”

It was the final round that highlighted the day’s top combinations when only five pairs jumped double clear. Galloping lines and rollback turns asked multiple, difficult questions that caused rails to drop throughout the course, particularly at a careful vertical that followed on a bending line from the Longines oxer.

After a streak of faults in the riding order, the odds looked to be against Minikus to ride clear. But proving that the best had yet to come, he seamlessly and efficiently rode through tight turns to find the correct distances and came away with the coveted win.

Noticeably missing in the jump off were 2016 Rio Olympics pairs Ben Maher (GBR) and Tic Tac and Scott Keach (AUS) and Fedor, with four and five faults, respectively. And the winner of last year’s event, Marilyn Little (USA), also narrowly missed advancing with an unlucky rail in the first round.

The rankings have decided which 14 riders have earned bids to the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final in Omaha, Nebraska (March 29 – April 2). The top seven athletes from the East Coast (USA), top three from the West Coast (USA), and the two best-placed athletes from Canada and Mexico have qualified through the Longines FEI World Cup™ North American League.

Full results: http://www.longinestiming.com/#!/equestrian/2017/1301/html/en/longinestiming/resultlist_04.html

Quotes:

Bob Ellis (Course Designer): “We did a little bit of damage to the ground over the last few days so it was mainly looking for some grass. I thought the footing for today was excellent.”

Todd Minikus (1st): “Actually the pressure was in the qualifying class. I had two jumps down, eight faults, and then I was driving back to Wellington very worried I wasn’t going to get qualified so it was a bumpy road the whole way until the last jump there.”

“I’ve been riding [Babalou] since she was 5 years old so it’s hard to even remember what she was like as a young horse, other than she was kind of mean. She’s kind of short necked so that’s just the way her neck places itself. Sometimes you’ve got to give a good release to jump.”

“I think the grass is a nice change. I’m not the biggest fan of grass. But it is a nice change from the everyday, showing on the all-weather footing. I think you do have to alter your style of riding a little bit. For example, you have to go back to a more sophisticated turn on the grass. I hate riding in the rain so I’m so glad it didn’t rain. But today I thought the footing held up awesome. We were going fast enough and the horses felt comfortable so it was all good.”

Andre Thieme (2nd): “I was pretty sure that I would end up in the top three with that. But I was also pretty sure I was not going to win it with that. But then one after another had rails and didn’t catch my time so then there was that final moment where I said, ‘Maybe.’ But then I saw [Minikus] warming up and I knew [it wasn’t going to happen]. He was on it and I saw it. So I was afraid of [Cian O’Connor] and of [Minikus]. I have to say that after winning the $10,000 leading rider award, I felt like a winner.”

Full Standings for Eastern Sub-League: http://results.hippodata.de/2017/1301/docs/longines_fei_world_cup_nal_esl_standings_after_ocala_2017.pdf

Don’t miss a hoofbeat! Watch it all LIVE on www.feitv.org.

Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping – check out the latest on www.fei.org.

Social media: #FEIWorldCupNAL #RidetoOmaha #FEIWorldCupFinals #TwoHearts #Longines @LonginesEq

By Esther Hahn

FEI Media Contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Todd Minikus Victorious Again in $86,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic

Photo courtesy SocialCircuitEquine.com.

Wellington, FL (February 13, 2017) – Todd Minikus has once again topped the bill during week five of the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival, claiming his fourth consecutive win of the week by placing first in the $86,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic. Minikus, aboard Wyndmont’s Zephyr, clocked in the final round at a swift 35.98 seconds.

Sunday’s win was just the cherry on top of a streak of victories for Minikus so far this season at the Wellington, Florida show series. The string of high-stakes wins that Minikus has already collected include three $35,000 classes, the $50,000 National Guard Grand Prix, and the FEI $216,000 Ariat® Grand Prix. Minikus and Zephyr also saw victory earlier this same week, having captured the first place title in the FEI 5* $35,000 1.45m class. As the blue ribbons continue to stack up for Minikus, the show jumping superstar is a top competitor to watch at this year’s Winter Equestrian Festival.

Many of Minikus’s exceptional results so far this season have been achieved aboard Zephyr, a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Landor S x Calvados), who is a newer mount for Minikus. “I have ridden so many horses in my life that there is not much that I have not seen or felt at this point,” Minikus said. “It does not take long for me to adapt to different horses really. I like that challenge of getting on new horses. When you are as old as I am, you don’t need much practice,” he joked.

Minikus’s wife and supporter, Amanda Minikus, was thrilled with this week’s results with Zephyr. “Todd started riding Zephyr in November of this past year, and this time they just nailed it. They really make a fantastic combination – every time they go out so far, they’ve been unbeatable.”

Minikus plans to continue with his impressive track record throughout the upcoming weeks of competition at the Winter Equestrian Festival, which runs through April 2, 2017 at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. It is the world’s largest and longest-running hunter/jumper show circuit, attracting top horses and riders from all over the world to Wellington annually.

Todd Minikus is a U.S. Pan American Games Team Bronze Medalist and FEI Nations Cup veteran with well over 100 Grand Prix wins under his belt. In addition to competing nationally and internationally, Minikus also offers sales and training services. To learn more about Todd Minikus, visit www.ToddMinikusShowJumping.com and follow him on Facebook and Instagram @Todd_Minikus.

Contact: Amanda Minikus
amandajl16@aol.com
562-762-3762
www.toddminikus.com