By Brenda Mueller for Chicago Equestrian
Michael Tokaruk and Vanrock put in clear rounds to win the YJC 7-Year-Old Midwestern League Championships at the Kentucky National Horse Show. Photo Shawn McMillen.
Lexington, KY – September 19, 2015 – Michael Tokaruk of Germantown, TN, and Alex Turner’s Vanrock, were the only combination to jump clean all three rounds of the 7-Year-Old Midwestern League Young Jumper Championships, earning them the coveted title.
Vanrock (Vancouver – Wonder Why, by Cento) jumped clean on Wednesday and won the speed round on Thursday, giving him the chance to go last in the final round of the championship, which definitely helped Tokaruk’s strategy. Up until the pair’s round, no 7-year-old had jumped clean, but there were several four faulters including Aaron Vale and Margie Goldstein Engle. If Vanrock had a rail, he’d have to jump off against some of the best in the business. The duo was unscathed by the pressure and put in the only fault free round for the win.
When Tokaruk purchased the horse in August after months of searching for the perfect match for Turner, he knew the horse had a great resume with previous owner/rider David Beisel from Ohio, but didn’t know he’d be sitting in the top spot after three rounds in the Rolex Stadium at the Kentucky Horse Park. Surrounded by top grand prix riders with their young horses and hundreds of grand prix wins between them all, Tokaruk knew he had to be clean to avoid a jump off with riders that could be faster.
“I couldn’t have asked for more of him today,” said Tokaruk. “I’m hopeful it’s just the beginning of things to come with this horse. It was an honor just to be there in the final round among such great riders, much less to come out the winner. The jumps were the biggest of the week, as it should be, we just had to do our job. It’s nice to have such success in a short period of time. I owe it all to the owners, David Beisel and the horse. He wants to win.”
Suzanne Mayo of the Kentucky National Horse Show presents the award to Vanrock and Michael Tokaruk with owner Alex Turner and barn manager Cameron Callaghan. Photo Shawn McMillen.
The little Irish Sport Horse, Vanrock, and Tokaruk, hit it off from the beginning, winning the first 1.15m class they ever showed in at the Tennessee Hunter Jumper Classic in late August and won the 7-year-old qualifier class last week at Brownland Farm as another warm-up before this week.
“We were as prepared as we could be, only owning him for a short time,” added Tokaruk. “Melanie Smith Taylor came and helped me with the horse which was great.”
Photo by Joy Rollefson
Tokaruk also gives credit for his success to Diane Carney and the George H. Morris Gladstone Program that he participated in at Annali-Brookwood Farm in June. Tokaruk took a lot of what he learned from the program and has applied it to his training, obviously with great success.
“When he cleared that last jump I was in a daze- ‘that just happened’,” said proud owner, Turner. “We came here ready to play and both of them gave it their all every time. They never gave up! I can’t wait to show him at the next show and have as much fun riding him as I do watching him. I couldn’t be more blessed with such a wonderful horse and to call him mine, as well as a great trainer to help us both excel together as a team!”
Turner, of Cordova, TN, will show the horse some in the Adult Jumper division while Tokaruk keeps the ride to continue bringing along the horse.
Tokaruk runs Tokaruk Show Stables where he successfully teaches and trains hunters, jumpers and equitation riders. He has a nice selection of quality hunters and jumpers for sale.