BY EMILY RANDOLPH
Katy, Texas – March 24, 2021 – The 75th anniversary edition of the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show kicked off on Wednesday, March 24, attracting top hunter and jumper riders from across the country to the Great Southwest Equestrian Center in Katy, Texas.
“We’re really happy with the turnout, and we’re looking forward to three great weeks,” said hunter/jumper competition manager Oliver Kennedy. “Last year, we were ready to roll and have a great 75th anniversary edition, but COVID forced the last-minute cancellation. Now, we’re celebrating the 75th edition a year later with increased prize money for the jumpers, great hunter derby money and really good competition.”
Kennedy continued, “It’s fun to come back to Texas and see all of the friendly faces of people that I know that have come from both coasts to be here to have a great horse show.”
Among those making the worthwhile trip to Texas is Michael Tokaruk of Germantown, Tennessee, who topped Wednesday’s 1.25 m Open Jumpers aboard Cupid Shuffle.
“Cupid Shuffle is an amazing horse,” said Tokaruk of the 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, owned by Ava Hernandez. “I’ve had him in and out of the barn four times now, so I know him very well. He came back to me about a month ago now. This was my first time back in the ring showing him, and he felt great. He’s such a trier, and he’s so smart.
“I rode him earlier in his career after Charlie Jayne sent him to me when the horse was eight,” continued Tokaruk. “Now riding him later, he’s just so fun and made. He’s so game; it’s really a blast to ride.”
In addition to taking the win with Cupid Shuffle, Tokaruk finished in second aboard Diams de la Pomme, owned by Jean-Maurice Brahier. Rounding out the top three in the 1.25 m Open Jumpers were JJ Atkinson and Golden Cassini.
“It’s good competition here,” said Tokaruk, whose Tokaruk Show Stables brought many horses to Texas for the duration of the three-week Pin Oak Charity Horse Show. “It’s a nice show to come to whether you’ve got a real made, seasoned horse like Cupid or if you’ve got a green horse. They do a really nice job, so we’ve been enjoying it so far.”
In the hunter rings, Didi Mackenzie and her own MTM Do Right swept the opening day of the High Performance Conformation Hunter division, winning both of the over fences classes, as well as the under saddle. In the 3’6” Green Conformation Hunters, it was Jordan Gilchrist who topped both of the division’s over fences classes. The Flower Mound, Texas-native won the first class aboard her own Shy Boy and topped the second class riding CR Marvel, owned by Linda Veins.
Running March 24 – April 11, the 75th annual Pin Oak Charity Horse Show features three weeks of top hunter, jumper and American Saddlebred competition while benefitting the Texas Children’s Hospital. Highlight events of Week 1 include a $30,000 United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) International Hunter Derby on Friday, March 26, and the $30,000 Pin Oak Charity Grand Prix on Saturday, March 27 at 7 p.m.