Michael Tokaruk and Steel the Love Steal the Top Prize in the $30,000 Grand Prix at Brownland Farm

Michael Tokaruk and Steel The Love steal the top prize in the $30,000 Grand Prix at Brownland Farm. Photo Lili Weik Photography

Franklin, TN – September 7, 2020 – Michael Tokaruk and Tokaruk Show Stables (TSS) wrapped up a fantastic week at Brownland Farm, topping it off with the win in the $30,000 Grand Prix with Shelby Beard’s Steel The Love. Tokaruk out galloped a jump off field of 15 horses to steal the top prize. The Tokaruk Show Stables riders added plenty of ribbons to the stable’s banner this past weekend.

“Steel” was sent to Tokaruk in January last year in Wellington. Beard, of Midland, TX, let Tokaruk take control of the program for the the now 11-year-old gelding. The Dutch Warmblood jumped his first grand prix in Gulfport and has been knocking on the door for a win. Steel had just started to earn top ribbons in the large 1.35m divisions at the Winter Equestrian Festival before the COVID-19 shutdown. Tokaruk spent quality time on the horse during the pandemic break to return to the show ring in July to place second in the $30,000 Brownland Grand Prix and fourth in the prix in August. This past weekend was his time to steal the show.

Steel The Love and Michael Tokaruk sail over a jump sponsored by the Jaeckle Centre, where Michael also provides training. Photo Lili Weik Photography

“He’s very brave and reliable,” explained Tokaruk. “I have 1,000 percent confidence in him, he rides a little like an equitation horse and he’s very straightforward. We’ve established a partnership over the long term and haven’t had the pressure of having to win and sell him fast. He only does one class a week, I know that he’s not going to spook and will always do his job.

“I can’t ever thank Shelby Beard enough for trusting me with this special horse,” added Tokaruk of Collierville, TN. “It’s been a fun process working with her and Steel to make him a grand prix winner! She is such a great owner, there are very few owners who give you the reins to bring the horse along. He’s been a lot of fun and it was really fun to win one with him. Thank you to the best team at Tokaruk Show Stables and of course, my amazing sponsors!”

In addition, Tokaruk took home two jumper championships and two reserve championships. Blue Sugar OTJ, owned by Lauren McCaulley, earned the championship in the 1.15m division and Tokaruk’s Corcovado BG racked up the most points in the 1.20m jumpers with Tokaruk aboard.

Michael Tokaruk and Ice Breaker landed the reserve championship in the 1.20m jumper division. Photo Lili Weik Photography

Ice Breaker, a 7-year-old mare owned by Sarah Deweese, rounded out the 1.20m division taking the reserve championship with Tokaruk in the irons. This horse also came back in July better after the training break, capturing wins in the 1.20m with Tokaruk and top 3 ribbons with Deweese in the Low Adult Jumpers in Kentucky, before the second shut down.

Meanwhile, Cameron Tokaruk, who is now Michael’s wife, also landed a reserve championship in the .85m jumpers for Tokaruk Show Stables with D’Almgravin, owned by Ravello Farm. This was Cameron’s first time in the show ring at a top-rated horse show. She is happy to just learn more and helps immensely with the riding, preparation and care of all the horses.

Pandemic Break is Useful

The happy couple secretly tied the knot in New Orleans in early July after a December engagement. The pair decided the pandemic situation was not going to get better in the near future, so they opted to elope.

During the pandemic break, Tokaruk also concentrated on riding and training, developing a few training videos explaining cavalettis, flatwork and training routines that he then shared on Instagram. His playful personality and jumper ring expertise has earned 20,000 followers.

“You don’t have to jump huge jumps to make your horse more rideable. The older horses loved the break, staying fit with flatwork, the greener horses got valuable time and training, which you can’t do when you’re showing week after week,” explained Tokaruk.

The showing break offered opportunity to get projects done at the farm and one-on-one time with clients. The stable opted for shows closer to home once showing resumed so they wouldn’t be stuck if shows cancelled at the last minute. Brownland Farm is close to home for Tokaruk as well as Kentucky, and both offer lots of space and room to work horses.

Rider Anna Marie Mayes, 18, of Memphis, looks at the pandemic break as a blessing in disguise. She started riding with Tokaruk in January during the Winter Equestrian Festival. After the shutdown, Mayes had time to basically start over with her horse, working on basics.

Anna Marie Mayes and Balou Bailando in the Low Junior/Amateur Owner Jumpers. Photo Lili Weik Photography

“Michael makes sure you are prepared and doesn’t over-face you, it’s always about the horse and what the horse is ready to do,” commented Mayes. “His program is all about making the horse better, which is a great perspective. And the care is outstanding, he pays attention to the details of every horse. My horse is really confident now – he’s a totally different horse.”

Mayes is a Senior at St. George’s Independent School in Collierville, only ten minutes from the barn. She’s at the barn six days a week spending as much time there as she can. Mayes is working on college applications and would like to ride on a team. Auburn University is her number one pick so far, although the pandemic has made it difficult for team recruiting as well, so she is covering the bases and getting the academic requirements done while the recruiting sorts itself out.

“I am looking forward to Florida in the fall and moving up to the 1.30m and medium junior jumpers and being competitive. Maybe a Welcome Stake at Brownland and my long-range goal is a grand prix. I’ll maybe start doing some USET Talent Search classes as well,” said Mayes. “I’m really grateful to be part of such a great program and I’m really excited to learn more. I have learned so much already in such a short period of time.”

More Tokaruk Show Stable Wins

Mayes won a Low Jr/AO Jumper class with her Belgium Warmblood, Balou Bailando. Mayes has had a great season so far including a championship in the Low Jr/AO Jumpers at the Mid-South Classic in July and has earned numerous first and second place finishes in the division and the classics.

Other jumpers in the Tokaruk fleet made gallant efforts with Tokaruk in the tack including Celine Burme, owned by Trefoil Farm, who went double clear and finished fifth in $7,500 1.35m Open Welcome Stake. Katherine Pugliese’s Cristiano, earned top ribbons in the 1.30m including sixth in the $5,000 1.30m Stake class. My Lord Castnoo, owned by Martin Huygens, also earned top ribbons in the 1.30m division.

Evie Jaeckle rode several of The Jaeckle Center’s horses to victory including TJC’s Yo Gotti and TJC’s Nymeria, winning Modified Jr/Am Jumper classes and taking a second place with each to boot. Jaeckle also rode TJC’s Bakara La Mulotiere to earn good ribbons in the Low Jr/AO Jumpers as well. Tokaruk has been giving some lessons at The Jaeckle Center, a state-of-the-art facility providing Equine Performax Veterinary and Therapy Services. The center offers both equine and rider training and conditioning programs and is located just 15 minutes south of Franklin, Tennessee.

Julia Petree’s Smooth Criminal jumped to two second place ribbons in the training jumpers with Tokaruk and had good rounds with Petree in the High Adult Jumpers.

Tokaruk Show Stables riders Jami Miller with her Darco 22 put in good rounds in the Hopeful Jumpers and Brittany Kasprack with Loeonardo Van De Neerheide did well in the High Adult Jumpers.

Tokaruk plans to spend another week at Brownland, then hopefully Kentucky before heading to Florida mid-November – all COVID permitting! He is also judging the Region 3 Maclay Regional Championships in Wellington, as a USEF “R” Licensed Official, September 20, 2020.

As always, Tokaruk Show Stables has a quality selection of horses for sale for all levels and all rings. Contact Michael Tokaruk at 202-413-2303 or email: mtokaruk@hotmail.com or message him on Instagram or Facebook.

About Tokaruk Show Stables

Tokaruk Show Stables trains and sells hunters, equitation horses, and jumpers.They focus on teaching horses and riders to be their best — at some of the biggest horse shows across North America. Michael Tokaruk and the team at Tokaruk Show Stables work with quality horses and ponies and cater to serious riders in the Memphis and Mid-South region.

The facility is located in Collierville, Tennessee with 24 large stalls with plenty of lush grass paddocks for turnout. They have a large all weather sand ring and several large grass fields for riding. Horses receive the finest training, care, feed, and daily attention as they are valuable athletes and are treated as such. Michael and the TSS staff customize a training and care program for every horse to suit its individual needs.

Michael’s ability to ride earns him quality horses for sale that he successfully campaigns and promotes until sold. Contact him to sell or buy your next quality show horse.