Ocala, Fla.—March 24
Heading to the final jump in the second round of the HITS Equitation Championship during the final week of competition at HITS Ocala, Adelaide Toensing had exactly one thought running through her head.
“Ice water in your veins, tunnel vision. Ice water in your veins, tunnel vision—that’s what [trainer] Mark [Jungherr] always tells us,” said the 17-year-old. Sure enough, she stayed calm and finished perfectly to win the day over Briley Koerner, with Abigail Lefkowitz galloping up the standings to take third.
Adelaide Toensing was thrilled to top the HITS Ocala Equitation Championship. Photo by Mollie Bailey.
She put in two consistent rounds with her partner Consanto to win the day. Photo by Mollie Bailey.
By the time Toensing and her mount Consanto got to the second round, she’d already finished the hardest challenge of the day which came up in Round 1: a grid set across the middle of the Ocala Horse Properties Stadium that had riders’ nerves quaking and horses slamming on the brakes. Course designers Werner Deeg and Matt Mindek set a ground rail, then a crossrail, bounce to a vertical then one stride to an oxer. They set another bounce of verticals, too, which tripped up other riders.
“All the rails are the same color and looked really close,” said Toensing of the grid. “It walked really short and he’s a little bit of a long-strided horse, and he’s long. It was a little harder for him to push himself together, but he was perfect.”
This grid set across the middle of the Ocala Horse Properties Stadium tripped up plenty of competitors. Photo by Mollie Bailey.
Toensing jumped through a bounce once in the schooling area to remind Consanto how that worked, and when he nailed it, she moved on. It was a decision she made herself, as trainers—including Toensing’s coaches Jungherr and Kristi Smith—are whisked away and riders’ cell phones confiscated during the class, which junior riders must qualify for by placing first through third in a major equitation class during the 10-week HITS Ocala circuit.
Toensing consulted with barnmate Clara Bechtold—who finished eighth on a horse she doesn’t know well— during the course walk. Riders are allowed a groom, and Toensing was thrilled to have Alex Carlton at her side, whose main job, aside from setting jumps, was to convince Toensing that she wasn’t going to get sick when she went in the ring.
Rider Adelaide Toensing, groom Alex Carlton and Consanto were ecstatic when they heard that they won the HITS Ocala Equitation Championship. Photo by Mollie Bailey.
Toensing felt especially happy to win the class on Consanto, a true partner. She’s in charge of his daily care, and he learned the equitation right along with her.
“We’ve been growing up together,” said Toensing, Charlotte, Vt. “He was so different when we first got him, and he’s so perfect now. His rideability is so much better; he looks up the lines to the next jump. Before he wouldn’t pay attention, and now I’ve learned how to get him to focus.”
A stellar second round boosted Briley Koerner to second. Photo by Mollie Bailey.
Abigail Lefkowitz leapfrogged up the leaderboard to finish overall third. Photo by Mollie Bailey.
For full results, click here.
For more about Adelaide Toensing’s unusual routine at home and to read lots more stories about HITS Ocala, be sure to check out the April 17 issue of The Chronicle of the Horse magazine here. Want to see beautiful pictures of open hunters in Ocala? We’ve got ‘em here.