Renowned dressage rider and trainer, Endel Ots, proved his ability once again to bring young horses into the winner’s circle during week 5 of the 2020 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival.
Riding the American bred mare, Sonnenberg’s Everdance (by Johnson x Zeoliet) owned by Dan and Gina Ruediger of Sonnenberg Farm, Ots swept the national small tour winning the Open Intermediate 1, and the Open Prix St Georges amongst heavy competition in each class.
“I was really happy with her,” Ots describes about his first outing with Everdance, “She’s a super show horse who is very focused in the show ring and 100% honest.”
Connecting with Sonnenberg
Ots explains that he has been working with the mare for only two months and tells how he first learned about the young horse. “We were in Chicago last August and Sonnenberg Farm brought a horse who won the 4-year-old young horse division championship. That got my attention, then I looked into their farm and discovered they had a number of successful US bred horses. After the US Nationals Championships in Chicago, I connected with Dan (Ruediger) via email. Come to find out, their four year old was their fourth horse competing in Chicago and their third national or reserve national champion.”
“Dan sent me some very nice videos of their young horses and said they were interested in sending me one to develop for their farm.” Ots goes on to say that after finishing up a clinic in Colorado a few weeks later, he flew from Denver to Oregon to see Sonnenberg’s young horses for himself and was taken with Everdance. “So, she’s been down here for two months, and I’ve been working on getting her ready for the international ring,” he smiles.
First Time Out
The AGDF 5 National was the duo’s first time out. “I wanted to get a feeling for her in the show ring to see how the training was developing over these past couple months and to assess where we are and see how she is in the ring. I was hoping to get a good feeling for her reactions and what she wants to do and how she works in the warm up and in her tests.”
Ots says that everything went according to plan. “On the first day, it was very windy and rainy for the Prix St Georges, so we kept the warm up quite short. She did a great job in the test going around the ring, and the test was very clean.” The team scored a 74.118% and took home the blue ribbon in the class.
Ots continues to describe the show, “On Saturday’s I-1 test, it was a beautiful day and I wanted to make sure I could push her a little bit more and play with the gears in the trot and the canter. I just had one mistake on the three-tempi line when we started doing one-tempi’s on there. It was just a little miscommunication between both of us, but other than that it was a very good test. I was very happy with how much she stayed with me and her effort,” he adds. Their score of 73.676% earned the team another first place.
Then, Ots explains that he decided to have another go at the Prix St Georges on Sunday. “I was so happy with her performance in the I1, but I really wanted to go back in and play again in the Prix St Georges and make sure I could get the same feeling but with a little bit more ‘go’ and try to own the test a little bit more, especially considering the weather factor on Friday.” The decision paid off with the pair taking another first place win with a score of 74.118%. “She had a very clean, solid test,” Ots describes, “I was really happy with her and I’m looking forward to the CDI coming up.”
Qualify for the Nationals
Ots explains he is now focusing on getting Everdance qualified for the Inter-1 Championships, just like he did last year with his own horse, Lucky Strike. He feels that his clients, Dan and Gina Ruediger, owners of Sonnenberg Farm, are pleased with the plan.
Sonnenberg Farm, LLC, is a top breeding and training facility of KWPN dressage horses in North America, located in Sherwood, Oregon. Throughout the years, Sonnenberg has bred and trained many North American KWPN Keuring Champions/Res. Champions as well as multiple USDF Horse of the Year Champions, USDF/ODS Region Champions and USEF/Markel Young Horse/Developing Horse National Reserve Champions.
Originally from De Pere, Wisconsin, Ots, who now calls Wellington, Florida home, has been competing since a young age and has been enjoying international victories for the past several years. Ots is known for his ability to develop horses and riders for top sport competition.
Text by Johnny Robb
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