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.”