Michael Tokaruk and his crew have set up camp at Lamplight Equestrian Center in Wayne, Illinois for the Equifest circuit, and it is his first time at the premiere event, he’s making the most of it with a slew of wins across the divisions.
“We usually do Kentucky or some other shows in the summer, but I came up here last August while the show was going on just to shop for and try some horses, and I felt like it would be a beautiful show to come to,” said Michael earlier this week. “Great weather in August, it’s such a pretty show, a nice part of Chicago, the footing is good, the jumps are good and the prize money is good. A lot of things that you want in a horse show are all right here! We just decided to put it on the calendar for this year and so far so good here at Lamplight. We’re loving it!”
It would seem that Lamplight loves him back, as he and Mattie Hatcher’s Cristiano clinched the opening $5,000 1.40m class on Tuesday with a clear opening round and fiery jump-off time.
His strategy for the day was to get some snorts and bucks out of the way early on, and Michael and the eight-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding (Click and Cash x Carman-Ghia) skipped around the 1.30m earlier in the day to give him a better shot in the next step up.
“[Cristiano] was awesome. I actually rode him in the 1.30m earlier and he was fresh. It’s Tuesday, we got here yesterday and he just felt quite fresh. So I wanted to do a smaller class with him,” Michael explains. “Sometimes he can be a bit green and a little unfocused still. He’s only 8 so he’s still learning his job at the upper levels. We got the freshness out in the 1.30m and he was awesome in the 1.40m class! He was really quick and careful and had his game face on which was great.”
Next week it will be Cristiano’s owner and NAJYRC Junior Team Gold Medalist Mattie Hatcher showing him in the high juniors, so he’s been well setup for success – which is what’s most important of all to Michael when it comes to his students.
Michael has also had winning results in the hunter ring, taking the Championship in the Performance 3’6″ Hunters aboard Sleepy P Ranch’s Major, looking cool as a cucumber on the striking bay and rocking his signature mirror shades. The gelding scored an 85 in his first round and won the Under Saddle.
Major scoring an 85 on his way to the Championship in the 3'6 Performance here in Chicago during WCHR week!
Posted by Tokaruk Show Stables on Thursday, 3 August 2017
He also won the 1.20m Open Jumpers aboard Alex Turner’s Vanrock, and in fact has been casually riding no less than seven different horses himself and coaching multiple students throughout the week.
“It’s a team effort for sure. We had about nine horses showing today and they all seemed to be going one after another, but everybody kept it running smoothly.”
Tokaruk Stables will be sticking around for week III of Lamplight’s Equifest, and we wish them the best of luck! You can keep up with Michael by visiting tokaruk.com and by following Tokaruk Show Stables on Facebook.
Michael told JN in our first interview with them that he wouldn’t accept a sponsorship from a company he doesn’t believe in – he is partnered with Draper because his horses wear their therapy products every day. See what Draper and their cellient fiber can do to improve your horse’s performance, comfort, and career longevity at the link below.