In The Arena with Todd Minikus
Todd Minikus started riding when his grandfather bought him a pony as a gift for his first birthday, and he was soon graduating from ponies to hunter jumpers. Todd went professional in 1980, competing in his first grand prix in 1985. His accomplishments over the more than thirty years since turning professional have shown time and again that Todd is an equestrian not to be underestimated. Together with his attitude, Todd's performance is a positive influence and makes him a valued member of the Vita Flex Victory Team.
Todd's career has been marked by highlight after highlight. In 1997, Todd won the Budweiser American Invitational in Raymond James Stadium together with Ravel. To date, Todd has won the American Grand Prix Association Budweiser Grand Prix of Indianapolis five times. He has also claimed the 2001 Rolex/U.S. Equestrian Team Show Jumping Championship and competed on six Nation's Cup Teams and in five FEI World Cup Show Jumping Finals. In the 2000 Sydney Olympics, he served as the Alternate for the U.S. Equestrian Team Olympic Show Jumping Squad.
According to Todd, other riders have claimed that he is "half horse," an assertion that he takes as the highest compliment. With over 100 Grand Prix wins to his credit, it is clear how Todd earned that praise.
In 2011, Todd had a close call in a training accident that resulted in a broken collarbone. While many equestrians suffer this same injury, Todd's story is a little different: while recuperating, he contracted Legionnaire's disease which sent him to intensive care. Todd proved his resilience by coming back strong and winning his first return Grand Prix.
Todd started 2013 with a round of top finishes at the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival competing against other champion equestrian athletes with Quality Girl and Macoemba. Todd and Quality Girl, whom he had just begun working just prior to the start of the Circuit, won the G&C Farm 1.45m Jumper Classic. Todd went on to place within the top 10 in the World Cup Qualifier, finishing 9th with Macoemba. Of the champion athletes that helped him start the year strong, Todd says that "to be able to feel that power, speed and athleticism and the amount of effort the horses give that is a special thing."
Most recently, Todd rode Quality Girl to win three consecutive victories at the Live Oak International Horse Show in Ocala Florida, claiming the 1.30m Waldron Wealth Management Power & Speed class, E2 Show Jumpers Welcome Stake, and CSI2* Grand Prix. The victories earned Todd the G&C Farm Leading Rider bonus. In early May, Todd continued the streak on Uruguay when the pair claimed the Old Salem Farm Grand Prix presented by Suncast at the Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows.
Todd keeps a busy schedule, competing regularly while training approximately 25 horses that include grand prix athletes and green horses alike. Todd notes that at his career stage many riders transition to working only with top horses, but he enjoys working with horses at all ages and experience levels, enjoying the challenges and successes together. In his words, "I have lumps and bumps from riding young horses or inexperienced horses and I thoroughly enjoy them."
Todd attributes his great success in the ring to hard work, on his part and on the part of his equestrian partners. Todd pays close attention to his horses, looking out even during routine tasks like currying or brushing for signs of soreness or unusual responses so that he can act to alleviate any ache or pain that his horses might be feeling. As Todd says, "I like [to be] hands on, then I can get a real feel for what is going on with them."
Competing and training with his equestrian partners is an important part of the big picture for Todd. He reports that "there is a huge amount of work that goes on behind the scenes and like racecar driving or any other team sport…the team is the key."
Todd says that Vita Flex allows him and his horses to work as a team to cross the fine line between first and second place, helping to ensure that Todd and his horses stay in the winner’s circle with equine supplements that can help improve horses’ soundness and keep them in their comfort zone, especially in what he views as the all-important turns.
Todd also has some advice in line with his equestrian philosophy to inspire other riders: "Take care of your vehicle. The management of the horse is the most important thing."