When the Going
Gets Tough...

13 March 2017

You know the rest. 

Todd Minikus has ridden all kinds of horses, not to mention hard-bucking bulls at the rodeos in his younger days. 


But the only way he would make the cut was to win the last qualifier of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping at Ocala - and he rose to the challenge.



18 athletes—nearly half the starting field—were fault-free in the first round to make the tie-breaker. 


Going last, Minikus knew exactly what he had to do for the win on the elastic chestnut Oldenburg mare, Babalou. One thing was to ignore the “helpful” advice given to him by a joking Andre Thieme.


Tips like “Everyone is slowing down before that last turn.” 


After all, this wasn’t Minikus’ first rodeo, so he knows not to pay attention to trash talk!



18 athletes were fault-free in the first round

The other key was to go just quickly enough...

...which meant having the self-control not to pull out all the stops as he might on another occasion.


38 riders from 13 countries competed in Ocala, Including Olympic medalists Ben Maher of Great Britain and Cian O’Connor of Ireland.


Minikus told himself, ‘Don’t go too fast.

I didn’t want to end up turning too tight and having a slip or something like that. I was trying to tame it down.” 


The rider admitted, “I have the reputation of going a little too fast once in awhile. I was trying not to make a silly mistake.”


Minikus turned in a 47.77 - second round, a display of precise artistry as well as athleticism. 


He and Thieme, both top pros, were the only riders to handle the jump-off course in less than 51 seconds


Mission accomplished, Minikus now is looking west, thinking about a new challenge from the rest of the world.


But no worries - he’s up to it.


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Text by Nancy Jaffer

Images by Ashley Neuhof