Wellington, Fla.—March 20
Ben Ebeling took first place Sunday, March 20, in the FEI Grand Prix freestyle CDIO3* aboard Indeed, earning a personal best of 78.41 percent, while the Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team finished second overall in the FEI Dressage Nations Cup USA CDIO3*, held March 15-20 in Wellington, Florida, on a final team score of 432.26, just narrowly edged by the German team who finished on a score of 433.33. Canada finished third in the Nations Cup on a final score of 409.09.
“It’s been really awesome to watch this horse develop, first, of course, under my dad, who did a fantastic job of training her. I’m lucky enough to have the support of Vantage Equestrian Group to be able to have the ride on her,” Ebeling said of their personal best in the freestyle, which was not part of the team competition. “These past couple of months have been serious development for her, and I feel it almost every week with her at home. She continues to get better and impress me. I think she just loves being at the show. It’s like her favorite thing, and she wakes up a lot when she’s here. She’s turning into a really consistent, steady horse, and I’m really excited for her future.”
Ebeling (Moorpark, California) and Indeed, a 14-year-old Danish Warmblood mare owned by Vantage Equestrian, lead the Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team in its first outing of the 2022 season. The team, under Chef d’Equipe George Williams, was comprised of three large tour combinations and one small tour combination, with the large tour participants earning a 1.5 percent addition to their final scores in alignment with the CDIO3* Nations Cup format.
Ebeling won Friday’s FEI Grand Prix Special, receiving a 73.64 percent from the judging panel, helping secure the highest score for the team on the second day of Nations Cup team competition. The pair earned a 71.32 percent in the FEI Grand Prix on Thursday to help keep them neck-and-neck with the German team. The Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special were used to determine the team competition.
“One thing that I always find with the USA teams is that there is so much team spirit. There are team dinners, and we’re all laughing and having so much fun. Maybe it’s because I’ve grown up around it a little bit, but I’ve always felt the same way since I was a young child. A team like this gives a lot of really good experience,” Ebeling said. Of his mount Indeed, who is a newer ride for him this season, he continued, “She is so much fun. I love riding Indeed. I think it’s so much about my riding, but more about my coaching, from Christoph Koschel, and my dad, Jan Ebeling, who did a fantastic job training this horse. I’m just lucky that I get to ride her. She’s got a lot of power in there, and today you could really see it, and I really felt it. For me, that’s something that I’m really excited about.”
In their first senior team appearance, Bianka Berktold (Loxahatchee, Florida) and Imperial, her own 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare, impressed in their debut, earning a 72.67 percent in the FEI Intermediaire I on Friday, after receiving a 72.44 percent in the FEI Prix St. Georges on Thursday to take first in the class. The pair earned high marks from the panel in both tests, including several 8s to reward their walk tour and final salute.
Aboard Kylee Lourie’s Quartett, a 15-year-old Brandenburg gelding, Kate Duerrhammer (Greenwood Village, Colorado) produced a solid score for the team in Friday’s FEI Grand Prix Special, receiving a 70.52 percent from the judges. On Thursday, after a significant rainfall which caused a delay to the first day of competition, the pair scored 70.15 percent in the FEI Grand Prix to lead Team USA, finishing third behind German riders Michael Klimke with Harmony’s Sanrino RHP, owned by Harmony Amateur Sports Foundation, (71.15) and Christoph Koschel on Diamante Farm’s Dünensee (71.02). Duerrhammer’s score put the U.S. team in reach of the top two podium positions.
Duerrhammer finished her weekend by clinching second in the FEI Grand Prix freestyle CDIO3*, riding Quartett to 75.09 percent, ahead of Klimke in third on Harmony’s Sanrino RHP (73.78).
“He’s a very consistent, reliable horse, and you can always count on him,” Duerrhammer said. “It’s the end of a very long, hot week, and he just went out there and tried as hard as he could and completed everything. The music was made for him by Terri Gallo, and it really fits him. I wanted something that was fun and upbeat. He’s just a really pleasant horse and makes you feel like you’re having a good time.”
Susie Dutta (Wellington, Florida) and Don Design DC, a 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Tim Dutta, persevered through Thursday’s weather-delayed start to their FEI Grand Prix to secure a 69.08 percent for the team. The pair showed off strong piaffe and passage work and earned consistent scores in their trot tour. In the FEI Grand Prix Special, the pair were eliminated following their post-test inspection when stewards found a trace amount of blood.
Watch Ebeling’s team-leading Grand Prix Special ride on Indeed: