Dressage rider Endel Ots rode away from the 2011 Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF Festival of Champions with a successful Small Tour under his belt, as well as being named the alternate for the U.S. Dressage Team at the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico. Ots competed Kristin and Steve Cooper’s KWPN gelding Toscano at Gladstone, where the 25-year-old rider held his own against veterans Steffen Peters, Heather Blitz and Cesar Parra.
“The whole weekend was really wonderful. I am very honored and excited to be an alternate. Anne Gribbons told me that both she and Steffen were alternates at one time, and then they made the team in later competitions,” Ots said. “It has been my dream to be part of a team and represent my country in international competition. I am so lucky to have the horse that I’m riding and to have such a great team that stands behind me, including my trainer Lars Petersen, Toscano’s owners Kristin and Steve Cooper, Melissa Taylor, Caroline Roffman, my dad and so many others. I owe them the credit.”
Ots and Toscano, or Teddy as he is called, placed fifth at Gladstone in the FEI Intermediaire I Test with a score of 71.053 percent. The highly respectable placing came in a class dominated by Peters, Blitz and Parra, who will all compete for the U.S. in the Pan Am Games along with Marissa Festerling.
“Teddy was super for every ride at Gladstone. I had some mistakes in the Prix. St. George but they were all mine. I got a little too excited in my aids and Teddy made some mistakes. In the Intermediaire, I was much more calm. I wanted to show what Teddy could do, and it was nice because every judge said, ‘The horse and rider [were] in great harmony,’” Ots said, adding that he had a few highlights at the show. “One was when we came out of the ring after our Intermediaire ride, Lars said ‘Good job,’ and that really meant a lot to me.”
Ots said he and Toscano will do some trail riding and easy work before heading to training camp Oct. 1. “I am also working on my mind-set when I go into the ring so that I can stay on top of my game,” Ots said. “I am staying at Silke Rembacz’s farm, and she and Lars will be helping me before training camp.”
While Ots is a rising superstar on the American dressage field, he has a tremendous amount of experience on his resume. He worked and trained in Illinois for seven years and for his father at Ots Sunrise Farm in De Pere, Wis., a well-known Friesian and Warmblood boarding and training facility. He has numerous CDI wins to his credit, including the CDI Dressage at Devon Intermediaire I and Intermediaire I Freestyle.
Ots, who has trained horses to the Grand Prix level and is known for taking young horses to top championship titles, has recently combined his talents with that of fellow dressage rider Caroline Roffman. The two have started a training and sales center in Wellington, Fla., where they hope to develop world-class clientele.
For more information on the new training and sales center, as well as Ots, visit his web site atwww.otsdressage.com.