“As you know, I like winning. She’s good under pressure and has the capability for winning. So, it’s awesome,” said Pan American Games show jumping bronze medalist and FEI Nations Cup veteran Todd Minikus about his student and 2019 USEF High Amateur Owner Rider Horse of the Year Award winner Catherine Wachtell of Long Valley, N.J.
Wachtell, a full-time Georgetown University law student who will graduate this spring, was joined by Minikus, as well as family and friends, at the USEF Annual Meeting held Jan. 11 in West Palm Beach, where she accepted the award, earned after a season of stellar performances over fences on Coverboy, her 13-year-old Dutchbred gelding.
Bred by VDL Stud and the Meeuwes family, the horse was auctioned as a three-year-old under the name Collalbo at the inaugural WEF Sport Horse Auction in Wellington. His image on the cover of the auction program caught Wachtell’s eye.
“We’ve been with Todd for a couple of years. He made us winners,” Wachtell said. “He changed my attitude and mental approach to riding, and success started coming right away. I really believe in Todd. I trust him when he says take this track or that approach. He’s a winner and has the experience to prove it.”
Last season, the Minikus-schooled duo’s strong performances included reserve in Ocala in the CSI2* Grand Prix, a win in the 1.40m on the Global Champions Tour and reserve in the HITS $100,000 high amateur class.
“This horse couldn’t be better than he is now. We stepped him up for Week 2 at WEF entering the Under 25 classes,” Wachtell said.
The pair proved they were more than ready and finished third out of 55 entries in the $25K Hermès U25 Grand Prix at the Winter Equestrian Festival.
“I feel lucky to have achieved this award with this horse. It’s every horse girl’s version of the American Dream,” Wachtell said of her Horses of the Year win. “It’s rewarding to have built such a strong partnership with this animal, and that wouldn’t have been possible with any other horse. Or trainer.”
After joining the ranks of show jumping professionals in 1980, Minikus made his Grand Prix debut in 1985. Since then, he has forged an enviable career highlighted by more than 100 Grand Prix wins, five FEI World Cup Show Jumping Finals, six Nations Cup teams and was named Horseman of the Year by the American Horse Show Association.
When not competing nationally and internationally, Minikus offers sales and training services just minutes from Wellington and the Winter Equestrian Festival show grounds. Learn more at www.toddminikusshowjumping.com.