Ben Ebeling
Written by by Ben Ebeling
Wednesday, 06 June 2018 17:30

California’s Ben Ebeling and his USEF European Young Rider tour teammates are en route to Hagen, Germany for the Future Champions CDIO, an event that greatly inspired Ben a few years ago. Here’s his second blog post and stay tuned for more soon. The Acres Dressage, California Dressage Society - Ventura County Chapter

European Young Rider Tour Ends on a High Note.

 

June 21, Hagen, Germany, conclusion of the European Young Rider Tour: I had an unforgettable experience competing in the Future Champions FEI CDIO-Y in Hagen, June 14-17.

When our team first arrived, utilizing the safe and comfortable Gellison’s Horse Transport, we all settled right in. The shavings were great, the stalls were nicely-sized, and anything that we needed was available and ready at the showgrounds. I remember the minute my horse settled in and I was just about to leave him for the night, I had a feeling of pride, happiness, and a sort of nostalgia that made me recall the times I was at this show-grounds watching my dad compete!

As I said in a previous blog post, I had been training with the USDF Youth Coach, George Williams. I could not be more thankful for the coaching sessions he taught Bugatti and me, as we learned some great lessons in just a few weeks. However, when I arrived in Hagen, my father flew in to teach me. I was very grateful for this; he came all that way in order to see and coach me at my first international competition.

The training days went very well. We arrived on Monday, June 11, and did not show until Thursday. I feel that coming to this show in particular a few days early was a very smart idea on our coordinator’s part, as it allowed for my, Callie’s, and Anna’s horses to all get a good look at the show arenas, warm-up areas, and the facility in general. Coming into the Thursday team competition, my horse could not have felt more comfortable in his environment.

On Thursday, we had our Young Rider CDIO Nations Cup. The order was to be me, Anna (Weniger), then Callie (Jones). As I began warming up my horse, I could feel that both he and I were in the zone, thinking about having the best possible test. As I went into the show ring, I could feel his energy pick up. Therefore, I decided to draw some risk: I asked for his biggest, most powerful trot that my mind could muster up. Using this new found show arena energy and some good techniques that George and my father had been working with me on, we had a super trot tour, not scoring below a 7 on any movement. The rest of the test went very well and very clean, landing me with a score of over 67%. I could not have been happier with my horse; I truly felt that this was the best he had ever gone with me.

As for Friday and Sunday, I continued to build on his show arena energy and improved my score each day. I am proud to say that I had three very clean tests (despite one mistake in my threes during the Freestyle) throughout Hagen. My Freestyle music (made by Applause Dressage) is a mix of Bruno Mars and Coldplay. I feel that it fits my horse perfectly, and it was a dream to perform it here at Future Champions.

On Saturday, our day off, there was an amazing riders’ party at the show-grounds. There was a great DJ, hundreds of Young Riders dancing, and good times to be had. The best part? There was no drama at all. Everyone was having a good time with each other, meeting new friends, and promising to cheer them on in the next day of competition.


USEF European Young Riders mix speed & fun into their trek to Hagen, Germany

June 11, en route to Hagen, Germany: It has certainly been a successful first week here in Europe. I have been having lessons with George Williams, the US Youth coach everyday this past week. My rides with him have been awesome, and I am so thankful for the help. My teammates Anna Weniger and Callie Jones are fun to be around, and are great riders. We have gone out on a few occasions to do team building exercises, such as mini golf and pizza parties. We all get along great, and besides comprising a team of three good riders, we are very supportive of each other as friends.

 

My mom and I were luckily able to go to the German Championships in Balve and watch the international riders compete against each other. Sonke Rothenberger and his horse Cosmo were breathtaking. Luckily, I was able to catch some of the jumper championships as well, in which both Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Markus Beerbaum went clear— some familial competition is always exciting. On our way back home from Balve, my mom and I took the Autobahn, and reached speeds upwards of 120 miles per hour. To say the least, it was a heart-pounding experience.

 

On Sunday, June 10, I competed at my first dressage show in Europe. This show was a national competition, hosted in Blom, Netherlands, and was meant to be a practice run to get into the arena and have a clean test. After a 40-minute drive and a good warm-up, Bugatti and I were able to achieve a nearly clean test, although keeping the expression quite conservative. Both George and I were very happy about how this test went, and we both could not be more proud of my young horse Bugatti. Luckily, I was able to watch some of the senior riders after my test, and I was very impressed with how their horses went.

Today, my team and I packed our stuff and headed to the Future Champions CDIO Nations cup in Hagen. We are all very excited to compete as a team at this show, and hope to do well. As I mentioned in a previous blog, watching the Young Riders at Hagen was what inspired my dressage pursuit. I believe the year was 2013; I was over in Germany with my father, Jan Ebeling, watching him train with his coach, Johnny Hilberath. It so happened that we were in Osnabrück at the Horses and Dreams event while the U25 Championship was happening, and I decided to watch these younger riders who were only a few years older than me. What most inspired me was the control, beauty, and professionalism that these riders displayed at such a young age. As my now good friend Juan Matute Jr. came into the arena, I was awe struck by his riding in particular. After watching his ride, I knew I wanted to be a serious competitor in the sport of dressage along with my already budding showjumping career. It is truly an honor to be at this show now, earning a spot on an international team just as I had hoped all those years ago.

The first day of competition in Hagen is on Thursday, June 14, followed by the Individual competition on Friday, and then the Freestyle on Sunday. Wish me and my team luck!

Author Ben Ebeling is a member of the United States Equestrian Federation’s current Young Rider Tour. He is the son of U.S. Olympic dressage rider Jan Ebeling and Amy Ebeling, who operate The Acres training facility in Moorpark.


USEF European Young Rider Tour is Underway!

 

by Ben Ebeling

June 3, from Wuustwezel, Belgium: Well, this concludes my first full day in Europe. Yesterday, my horse Behlinger and I flew into the Amsterdam airport from Los Angeles. I could not have been happier with how the flight went, especially considering he was the only horse traveling. During the flight, I was able to check on him multiple times to ensure his safety and comfort.

What many people don’t know is that at the back of some KLM 747 planes, there is a door leading to where the cargo and horses are. After a 10-hour plane ride, Behlinger was transported to the animal hotel at the Amsterdam airport, a location where all of the animals are kept after their flights to go through customs and wait for transport. When I got through customs and immigration and picked up my bags, I met Behlinger at this animal hotel. Luckily, the process that is required for him to leave this location was relatively quick, considering he was the only horse there. I was able to walk him around for a bit so that he might stretch his legs, and then I loaded him onto a horse trailer that brought him to Jewel Court Stud in Wuustwezel, Belgium.

I unloaded him, took him for a walk in the arena, filled his water buckets, fed him his grain and hay, and then let him go to sleep. He seems to love the amazing facility, which is packed with great attributes such as a hotwalker, gallop trails, and three arenas. I checked into my hotel, the Hotel Klokkenhof, and soon thereafter went to bed.

Today, I woke up at about 7:15 eager to get to my horse. I arrived to the stable at about 7:30, and fed Behlinger, picked his stall, and met up with my fellow teammates and the US Equestrian Dressage Youth Coach, George Williams. My teammates’ (Callie Jones and Anna Weniger) horses seem to be doing quite well, having just returned from a show a few days ago and achieving great scores. I let Behlinger eat and returned back to the hotel to eat breakfast myself and get dressed in my riding attire. I returned to Jewel Court at about 11, and I was able to lunge my horse and then get on and do some very light walk/trot/canter.

USEF European Young Rider Tour is Underway!

I took him into both the indoor arena and the outdoor arena, which both seem to have fantastic footing. While in the outdoor arena, Behlinger seemed to be very intrigued by the robotic lawnmowers that patrol the gardens. Coach Williams was right there to make sure everything was OK with my horse, which I greatly appreciated. After my ride, I took Behlinger on a walk around the property and grazed him a bit. In the coming days, I will increase his work load gradually, as the plan is to have him back to full work by Wednesday.

I eagerly anticipate my practice show in Blom this coming weekend where I will ride a Prix St. Georges in preparation for the Nations Cup in Hagen, Germany. Going to compete in Hagen will be a dream; this was the show that inspired my Dressage riding. Lastly, I took a picture of the corn that is just starting to peak out from the soil. The corn grows so fast that by the time I leave in six weeks, it will be almost as tall as I am!

More soon…!

Author Ben Ebeling is a member of the United States Equestrian Federation’s current Young Rider Tour. He is the son of U.S. Olympic dressage rider Jan Ebeling and Amy Ebeling, who operate The Acres training facility in Moorpark.