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RINGSIDE WITH THE PLAID HORSE
Michael Tokaruk and his Tokaruk Show Stables of Collierville, TN, clinched numerous top honors at the historic Pin Oak Charity Horse Show during the past three weeks, including the Leading Open Jumper Rider along with the $5,000 bonus!
The Pin Oak Charity Horse Show is known for its rich history, time-honored traditions, equestrian excellence, and extraordinary giving. As one of the oldest and most prestigious horse shows in the country, Pin Oak is also one of Houston’s unique social and fundraising events. Pin Oak has donated nearly $7 million dollars to support the healing of sick children and is committed to supporting the growth of Texas Children’s Hospital. Tokaruk Show Stables is honored to support the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show.
“This is our third time now at Pin Oak. We love coming here! They do such a good job and it goes to a great cause, it’s wonderful. There’s a lot of pomp and circumstance to the show and it just feels so much more special to show there,” said Tokaruk. “It was definitely a goal to win the Rider Bonus in coming here to Pin Oak. It’s a strong group of horses and riders in Texas. Everybody goes fast – I mean the speed limit in Texas is like 80 miles an hour so they all go fast! It’s a good group of riders so to come out on top after the three weeks is really meaningful. I owe it all to the horses first off, and then to everyone who supports me, the owners, the clients, the sponsors, the staff at the barn. Everybody does such a great job and makes my life as easy as it can be so it’s a real team effort.”
Tokaruk piloted his own My Lord Castanoo,a nine-year-old Belgian Warmblood by Nabab De Reve, to the 1.40m Open Jumper Championship during Week II and the reserve championship during Week I. The pair also earned a victory in the Venice Equestrian Tour $25,000 Grand Prix earlier in the season. Tokaruk is pleased with progress this green horse is making and enjoys bringing the horse up the ranks.
Diams De La Pomme, owned by Jean-Maurice Brahier, helped Tokaruk earn the Leading Jumper Rider title by winning the 1.35m jumper class and flying into second place in the $5,000 1.35m Speed Stake. The mare also took home the reserve championship in the division during Week II.
“Such a fun, sporty little mare,” said Tokaruk. “I’m so happy with her in our first show together! Thanks so much to owner Lauren Hough for sending such a nice horse to show and sell!”
Tokaruk racked up jumper points on Cameron Tokaruk’s D’Almgravin winning the 1.25m out of 40 horses and the Championship in both Week I and Week II.
Tokaruk is known for his ability to build confidence in horses and riders and takes time to bring them up to the next levels. His resume is filled with winning stories of horses he shows and sells to new owners, creating matches for success in the show ring. Clients love Tokaruk’s attention to detail and his ability to prepare them for the show ring. His program is consistent and clearly works.
Team Tokaruk riders added plenty of ribbons to the tackroom banner as well. Brittany Kasprack, Olive Branch, MS, and Gaesbekers Gabbertje won the Low Amateur Jumpers and added the reserve championship tricolor to the Tokaruk Show Stables banner for Week II. Kasprack also rode Gambit to a victory in both the Ariat and THIS Adult Medal classes.
“[Gaesbekers Gabbertje] is relatively new to me. I got him in October,” explained Kasprack, who runs four chiropractic clinics. “He is kind of an expert and I am very much an amateur so he’s teaching me the ropes. I can’t even say his show name! He’s teaching me a lot, trying to make me brave. He’s only nine but he has done the 1.50m and I was doing the meter tens when I bought him. So we’ve now made it to the 1.20m so taking it slow.
“I’ve been riding with Michael for a little over a year now. When we go to the shows, the nice thing is it’s easy. With Michael, you’re doing so much more at home that when you go to the show, it’s literally, I’m not going to say it’s a joke by any means, but it’s a much lower difficulty level because we’ve already seen every single challenge they’re asking of us, and that’s a big thing. When you go out to the barn to ride your horse, even if it’s not a lesson day, it’s a working day. It’s not just oh, I’m gonna hack on a loose rein, I’m gonna be an amateur, like I’m just gonna drop my reins and ride around and have a good day! No, he’s not going to stand for that, so he’s going to make sure that you’re working all the time.“One of the nicest things about Michael’s barn is that he’s not so big that you’re just a number and he’s very personalized. I mean, they know everything about the animals, and I think that some of these barns – I see them with 30-40 horses at the show and that’s amazing, but you may not get that same one on one experience that you get in that smaller setting like Michael’s. I definitely feel very, very privileged to be a part of it.
Ava Hernandez,Overland Park, KS, and Cupid Shuffle, a 15-yer-old Dutch Warmblood, won the $2,500 NAL Low Junior Jumper Classic and ended up reserve champion for Week II! Tokaruk won the 1.25m Open Jumper class on the veteran jumper on the opening day of the show. Cupid Shuffle is a horse Tokaruk is familiar with and says the horse is always game and fun to ride. Tokaruk is happy to work with the horse again and especially with the talented Hernandez in the irons.
Evie Jaeckle from The Jaeckle Center won some top ribbons in the 1.20m Jumpers on Clochard and a second place finish in the $2,000 Amateur Adult Jumper Stake aboard TJC’s Lil Jon during Week II. Jaeckle, of Thompsons Station, TN, also rode TJC’s Taio Cruz in the 3’3” Amateur Owner Hunters 18-35 taking home first and second in the over fences, a third place in the Amateur Owner Hunter Classic and fourth in the Stake during Week I.
Anna Marie Mayes and Balou Bailando won the Low Amateur Jumper Classic and earned the championship honors as well. Mayes, 18, from Memphis, TN, also collected a blue ribbon in the Platinum Performance Talent Search on Gambit.
Mayes recently signed with Auburn Equestrian for her college commitment. She will participate in the NCEA Equestrian program while completing her studies.
“All of her hard work and dedication to the sport is paying off!” said Tokaruk. “She is a great student, rider, and young lady. Everyone at Tokaruk Show Stables is excited to see her take her talents to this great Division 1 NCAA program.”
RINGSIDE WITH THE PLAID HORSE
BY EMILY RANDOLPH/RANDOLPHPR
Katy, Texas – April 11, 2021 – Three weeks of top competition at the 75th annual Pin Oak Charity Horse Show concluded on Sunday, April 11, with a full line-up of junior, children’s and pony classes at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center in Katy, Texas.
Among Sunday’s equitation winners were Avery DeYoung of Houston, and Anna Marie Mayes of Memphis, Tennessee.
DeYoung, 16, earned her Sunday victory in the United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) 3’3” Jumping Seat Medal aboard Landlysts Coquett, owned by AS Texas.
“This is the first week that I’ve ever ridden him,” DeYoung said of the grey 16-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding. “He was really, really good. He was such a cool horse and so fun to ride. For the course today, it started off with an oxer, so I knew that I needed to get a pretty good canter to start. Once I did that, all the jumps rode up perfectly; the lines were just right out of stride.”
DeYoung has spent the past four to five years training with Peter Pletcher at PJP Farm in Magnolia, Texas. She also consistently catch rides horses – including Landlysts Coquett – for Samantha Buncher of Sky High Equestrian Center, also in Magnolia.
“I really like it because it grows my riding a lot,” said DeYoung of catch riding. “Whenever I get on a new horse, I have a little bit of a feel of what it could be like because I’ve ridden so many horses. I also have the opportunity to go in a lot of different classes, so that’s a lot of fun to get to do new and different stuff.”
As a nearby Houston-native, one thing that is not new to DeYoung is the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show. The high school sophomore first competed in the show roughly 10 years ago, and it’s been a favorite of hers every year since.
“I like Pin Oak because I have a lot of great memories,” said DeYoung. “I won my first championship on my pony, Bella, in short stirrup at Pin Oak when I was maybe 7, so it brings back a lot of great memories and a lot of good, fun times with all of my friends.”
For Mayes, this year marked her first visit to Katy, and to Pin Oak, but following a successful two weeks and a win in Sunday’s Platinum Performance/U.S. Equestrian (USEF) Show Jumping Talent Search, she plans to be back.
“What a great, great show!” said Mayes, who trains with Michael Tokaruk of Tokaruk Show Stables in Collierville, Tennessee. “They make it a great exhibitor and spectator show. For people who haven’t been, it’s a show you have to go to at least once. It was on my bucket list, so I can gladly say that I’ve checked it off, but it will definitely not be my last.”
Part of what made the show a standout for Mayes was her level of success with new horse, Gambit, her mount for Sunday’s Talent Search class.
“This has been his first show in the States,” said Mayes of the 10-year-old Brandenburg gelding that was recently imported by owner Brittany Kasprack. “We’re very much still getting to know each other.”
With no prior experiences to call on or expectations set with Gambit, Mayes went in with the sole goal of having a positive, enjoyable round, and it was mission accomplished.
“I haven’t done equitation in a little over a year, so we’re both kind of doing it together, which is fun,” said Mayes. “It was a great course this morning. There was a triple, and one of the great things about Gambit is that he stays so straight through the triple. It really allows me to focus on myself and my equitation, almost kind of, ‘sit still and look pretty.’ That’s definitely one of my favorite qualities about him – how straight he can stay in the in-and-outs and combinations.”
From Texas, Mayes will return home to Tennessee and will compete throughout the summer before heading to Auburn University in Alabama, where she will begin her freshman year and ride as a member of the school’s National Collegiate Equestrian Association team.
Sunday’s equitation schedule also included the WIHS Equitation Hunter and Jumper Phases and the Hamel NHS 3’3” Medal, with wins going to Carlee McCutcheon, Brooke Brombach and Peyton Addington, respectively.
To purchase competition photos, visit www.AndrewRyback.com.
RINGSIDE WITH THE PLAID HORSE
BY KRISTIN PITZER
Katy, Texas – April 10, 2021 – The stakes were high in the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show’s $100,000 Wells Fargo Grand Prix, held April 10 at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center in Katy, Texas. Thirty-one horses were slated to compete, and from the start, it was a battle against the clock, with Rowan Willis ultimately emerging victorious.
The third horse in the order, Ashton Dakota, ridden by Willis, was the first to jump a clear round within the time allowed. From that point on, it took another 20 horses before another team managed to jump around the course without knocking a rail down or taking a time penalty. That pair, Abracadabra WKT and Daniel Bedoya, who won Thursday night’s $25,000 Walter Oil and Gas Pin Oak Grand Prix, were the sole other duo to make it back for the jump-off round.
As Willis, of Ocala, Florida, went in for round two, he knew Bedoya would be riding behind him to give it his all. Despite the added pressure, Willis navigated Ashton Dakota to a clear second round in 34.539 seconds, and as he left the arena, he felt like he and the gelding had put forth their best effort. Bedoya started off well, but after two rails down, Willis secured the win.
“I’m feeling great,” Willis said. “My horse was fabulous tonight. He really tried for me, and he covered the ground well. It’s my first time jumping in Texas, so what a great way to start. I’ll have to come back!”
Willis knew from walking the course that it was going to be difficult, as some of the distances were a little bit shorter and there was a tight time limit. He tried to just jump a clear round and make it a good experience for his horses.
“It wasn’t easy, but I thought it was a really good course,” Willis said of the track set by renowned course designer Michel Vaillancourt. “It’s $100,000, so we need to work for it.”
Willis and Ashton Dakota collected $30,000 for the win. The 2008 grey gelding has been owned in partnership by Willis and several of his owners since January.
“He’s relatively new, and he’s been getting better and better,” Willis said. “I’m really excited about him for the future. He just wants to jump, and he tries so hard. I really have some high hopes for him.”
In addition to Ashton Dakota, Willis had three other horses on the order of go. He landed in 16th with Ekita Eindeken Z with two rails down and took 24th with Wellington Grey Goose. The fourth horse was scratched.
With a time of 38.780 seconds, Bedoya and Abrakadabra WKT finished in second place, winning $22,000. The 2008 Holsteiner mare is owned by Monica Hanks. Taking third were Dollar Cash and Trapp O’Neal, whose one time fault kept them out of the jump-off. Placing fourth were Gatsby and Daisy Ford with two time penalties.
After his successful evening in Katy, Willis hopes to make the trip to Texas again in the future.
“It’s lovely to come to a show like this,” Willis said. “They put it on really well and looked after us. It was a great atmosphere, with a lovely, big arena. Thanks to the sponsors for putting it on. It was fun jumping tonight.”
The 75th annual Pin Oak Charity Horse Show wraps up on April 11. The event features three weeks of top hunter, jumper and American Saddlebred competition, benefitting the Texas Children’s Hospital.
RINGSIDE WITH THE PLAID HORSE
BY EMILY RANDOLPH/RANDOLPHPR
Katy, Texas – April 9, 2021 – Jef Lauwers and Calipso earned a commanding victory in the $30,000 La Primera Hacienda United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) International Hunter Derby on Friday, April 9, at the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show in Katy, TX.
From a field of 23 entries, Lauwers and Calipso led from beginning to end of the two-round class, marking both a winning debut for Calipso in the horse’s first USHJA International Hunter Derby and Lauwers’ first International Derby win.
“It’s amazing. Pin Oak is one of the most special shows that we go to, so it’s always exciting to be here,” said Lauwers, who is based out of PJP Farm in Magnolia, TX. “It’s such a gratification to do well at this horse show.”
With scores in the first round of 85 and 88 from the two judging panels, coupled with four high option points added to each score, Lauwers and Calipso concluded the first round on a total score of 181. Going into the second round, Nada Wise and Vendetta Semilly sat in second place with scores of 86 and 82 plus two high option bonus points for a 172 total.
While Wise and Vendetta Semilly, owned by Royal Sport Horses, attempted to give Lauwers a run for his money in the handy round, the results would remain the same through to the end
“I saw Nada going into the ring, and she sliced a jump so well. It was unreal how she did it,” said Lauwers. “I don’t know how she did it! But then I was thinking, ‘Okay, she did the low options. I just have to get the high options done and make it smooth and make it great so it would all work out. I tried to just keep a smooth ride and make him jump the best that he can over those high jumps.”
While Wise’s handiness would be rewarded, earning her a total second-round score of 185.5 for a 357.5 overall total, it wouldn’t be enough to catch Lauwers and Calipso.
With scores of 88 and 87, coupled with three high option bonus points and six handy bonus points from each judging panel, Lauwers and Calipso finished with a second-round score of 193 and an overall total of 374 for the win.
Finishing in third place with a total score of 356 were Frank Owens and Carrida, owned by DS Holdings LLC.
“[Calipso]’s just been amazing!” said Lauwers of the 7-year-old Holsteiner owned by Johnnie Martin-Carey. “We got him from Europe when he was six years old, and he was a stallion. We went through a lot, but we got better every day. He’s a really sweet boy. He loves his mom.
“Whenever he sees his mom [Johnnie Martin-Carey], he pulls up, and he’s like, ‘where are my bananas?’ said Lauwers. “Johnnie’s such a support and to have her as the owner for this horse is unbelievable.”
While Lauwers may have topped the USHJA International Hunter Derby, Wise did get her own derby win earlier in the day.
From a field of 35 entries, Wise rode Moonlight Mile, owned by Stacey Thompson, to the win in the $15,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby. Finishing in second place were Carlee McCutcheon and her own Explanation. Third place went to Lauwers and She’s All That, owned by Linda Yarborough.
Running through April 11, the 75th annual Pin Oak Charity Horse Show features three weeks of top hunter, jumper and American Saddlebred competition while benefitting the Texas Children’s Hospital. The third and final week continues through Sunday, with the featured $100,000 Pin Oak Charity Grand Prix beginning at 7 p.m. (CDT) on Saturday.
Learn more about the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show by visiting www.PinOak.org, and find the horse show on Facebook here. To purchase competition photos, visit www.AndrewRyback.com. For additional coverage throughout the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show, follow The Plaid Horse on Facebook and Instagram
RINGSIDE WITH THE PLAID HORSE
BY KRISTIN PITZER
Katy, Texas – April 8, 2021 – Going into the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show’s $25,000 Walter Oil and Gas Grand Prix, held at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center on April 8, Daniel Bedoya’s plan with Abracadabra WKT was to take it easy and save the mare for the $100,000 Pin Oak Charity Grand Prix, to be held April 10. Abracadabra WKT, or “Abby,” had spent time the prior winter recovering from an injury, and he didn’t want to push the mare too much.
In a starting field of 28 riders, the pair, along with seven others, jumped a clean first round. They were second-to-last in the jump-off, and by that point, only one other horse-and-rider had jumped a clear round without a time penalty.
“Sometimes going at the end is an advantage,” Bedoya said. “I saw that I didn’t have to go flying, and it worked. I slowed down a little to the last jump. That almost cost me the class, but it was OK. The aim is still Saturday. If we won today, great; if we didn’t, it was fine.”
Bedoya and Abby jumped a clear round in 42.182 seconds, winning the class and a check worth $7,500. Bedoya said the mare feels great, and he has a good feeling about her going into the big grand prix at the end of the week.
Bedoya has been riding Abby for nine years. She was originally purchased by her owner, Monica Hanks, to be a hunter, but over the years, the mare made the switch to the jumpers.
“She was a very special hunter at the beginning, and then as she matured, she got hotter and hotter, and she didn’t like the job,” Bedoya said. “We decided one day to put her in the jumpers, and we never looked back. She started winning, and she’s won quite a few grand prix classes now.”
He added that the 13-year-old Holsteiner can be a bit temperamental and difficult to ride, but with such a long relationship together, he knows her well. He’s planning to take her to Tryon, NC, and to do a few more shows this year, and Bedoya then hopes to take her to the South American Games in 2022.
Bedoya thanked Hanks and her husband for being great friends, clients and partners, and added he is excited to start competing with their new horse, Quimi Del Maset. The Hanks purchased the 7-year-old Warmblood, who is a half-brother to Bedoya’s old grand prix horse, Quattro, to follow in Abby’s footsteps.
From Magnolia, Texas, Bedoya has been attending Pin Oak for more than 20 years. He enjoys having the prestigious show so close to where he lives.
“It’s always special to win at home in front of your friends and your family,” Bedoya said. “It’s been a great horse show. Pin Oak always does a great job.”
Colleen Acosta and Lancome took reserve after jumping a clean round in 44.060 seconds. The 2011 Belgian Warmblood mare collected $5,500 for owner L.O.O. LLC. Coming in third were Untouchable 32 and Joshua Tabor, who jumped a clear round in 47.792 seconds, and rounding out the top four with zero jumping faults and three time faults were Carvelo Z and Bree Garey with a time of 50.580.
The 75th annual Pin Oak Charity Horse Show, which continues through April 11, features three weeks of top hunter, jumper and American Saddlebred competition, benefitting the Texas Children’s Hospital.