Benjamin Ebeling: My Dream is to Follow in My Father’s Footsteps

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FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final 2024 in Riyadh with Benjamin Ebeling - Photo by Susan J. Stickle

Edited Press Release

He will be the youngling at the 37th FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final, which will take place in Riyadh from April 16-20, 2024: Benjamin Ebeling from the USA is one of the finalists at the young age of 24. Who does he thank most for this success, what does this participation in the final mean to him, and why will he feel a bit like a child again?

“My aspiration is to walk the path my father has paved,” he said with determination. Benjamin Ebeling, the USA contender of just 24, stands out as the youngest finalist at the 37th FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final. Who does he credit most for this success, what does reaching the Final signify to him, and why does it evoke a sense of youthful excitement?

The FEI World Cup™ interview with Benjamin Ebeling…

You are the youngest in the starting field for the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final 2024 in Riyadh this year – does that feel rather cool or perhaps a little scary?
Benjamin Ebeling: I’m honored to be a part of this year’s World Cup Final. I’ve been lucky to have been in starting fields with the top athletes in the world before, so I am feeling excited for the opportunity to get to do it again.

You’ve achieved victory in three out of four FEI Dressage World Cup™ Freestyles this season. What significance do these successes and the World Cup™ hold for you?
Benjamin Ebeling:
The success I’ve experienced this season is truly thanks to my coaches – both Christoph Koschel and my father, Jan Ebeling, have been instrumental in developing the partnership between Indeed and me. While I am delighted with how well this year has gone, I must express my gratitude to both of them first.

All three finalists from the USA are making their FEI World Cup™ Final debut in Riyadh. Does this reflect the current state of dressage in the USA? Is the dressage sport undergoing significant changes in your country?
Benjamin Ebeling:
It’s truly exciting that my teammates and I are all making our World Cup Final debuts. I believe this signifies a positive trend in our country, where many accomplished team athletes are transitioning into coaching roles (such as Christine Traurig, George Williams, Robert Dover, and others). This transition enables younger athletes to learn and receive support from seasoned professionals, offering fantastic opportunities like the one we’re experiencing. I believe USA Dressage has done an excellent job of establishing a pathway for our Juniors, Young Riders, and U25 athletes to progress into elite competition.

Your partner in the Final will be the 16-year-old Indeed – what makes her special?
Benjamin Ebeling:
Indeed is the Queen, and she is well aware of it. She has got such a big personality, I just love it, she brings a smile to my face every day. Alongside that personality comes her enthusiasm when there’s a big crowd. What truly makes her exceptional is her love for dancing in front of audiences – it’s no surprise that she’s a perfect contender for the World Cup Final.

Roughly two years ago you took over Indeed from your father. Did he hand her over ‘voluntarily’ or how did this transition happen?
Benjamin Ebeling:
Indeed was originally my father’s ride. At that time, he was heavily focused on developing his up-and-coming Grand Prix horse, Bellena, and his new star, Jubi’s Tenacity. He discussed with Indeed’s owners and proposed that I would take her over riding her while he concentrated on his younger horses. The owners of the Vantage Equestrian Group were enthusiastic about the idea, and I consider myself fortunate that it has turned out so well.

Can you share details about your Freestyle routine? Who designed it, and what aspects do you particularly enjoy? How would you describe the complexity and structure of your routine?
Benjamin Ebeling:
Karen Robinson, with whom my family has collaborated closely for over 20 years, designed my Freestyle. It’s quite challenging, with a difficulty level of 10 when executed perfectly, so it’s definitely not easy. In terms of structure, I’ve focused on highlighting my horse’s hind-leg collection while also showcasing her relaxation in some of the most demanding movements.

Of course, we would also like to hear about your music. What’s the genre and why did you choose this specific music?
Benjamin Ebeling: The music I’ve chosen reflects Indeed’s personality. I see her as confident, bold, and strong-willed. That’s why I’ve selected songs by artists like Beyoncé, Rihanna, and Gwen Stefani, whose music embodies that strong female attitude that resonates with Indeed.

To what extent does your Freestyle reflect the person ‘Ben Ebeling’?
Benjamin Ebeling:
While the floorplan is certainly a reflection of the exercises I love to do on horses, the music is all for Indeed. I think this combination perfectly represents our partnership.

What are you most anticipating as you approach the Final? Do you have a particular goal in mind?
Benjamin Ebeling:
When growing up I would accompany my dad to all the FEI World Cup™ Finals with his mount Rafalca, dreaming of being in that position myself one day. Participating in this event will be a surreal experience – it will bring back memories of my childhood dreams of following in my father’s footsteps. That said, my primary goal is to deliver a safe and flawless test, ensuring a positive experience for both my horse and me at our first major championship.