Ben Ebeling’s Experience at Robert Dover Horsemastership Clinic

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Editor’s Note: Benjamin Ebeling is an 18-year-old dressage and jumper rider from Moorpark, California whose family is steeped in dressage, and participated in his first Robert Dover Horsemastership Clinic in Wellington, Florida.

Ben Ebeling competing Behlinger at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival. He rode the horse in the Robert Dover Horsemastership Clinic. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

This is my first year in Wellington, after my mom and Ann Romney bought a facility, Tierra Contenta, in Wellington, Florida together last year. I could not be more excited to be here, and be part of this winter festival involving so many different equestrian disciplines. My experience at the Robert Dover Horse Mastership clinic was incomparable.

Last summer, I was part of the North American Junior Rider Championships gold medal team on my horse Behlinger (Breitling X Weltmeier), owned by Beth Meyer, Ann Romney, and my mom, Amy Ebeling. I proudly finished fifth in the individual competition. I was so excited when I found out that I was able to attend and ride my horse in the Horse Mastership Clinic, after applying as a wild card. As an overview, this clinic was amazing because it brought young riders with similar goals and interests together, combining training, horse care seminars, physical fitness, and really great social aspects to bring us all together.

The training that I received from both Olivia Lagoy-Weltz and Robert Dover was great, especially because they were able to use their vast knowledge of training to find exercises that helped my horse, Behlinger at his weakest points.

With Mr. Dover, we worked primarily on collection. One of the many pieces of advice he gave me during the collection exercises was to always think forward into the collection. It is important to keep the rpm’s up, but the gears low so that you still have power, but are not going very fast in miles per hour. This unlocked Behlinger’s pirouettes in a way that he had not been able to do before. The result was a tighter, refined pirouette.

With Mrs. Lagoy-Weltz, having straight and expressive changes was the theme. A particular exercise she created was to canter on a circle, and after each quarter of the circle perform a flying change. Doing the changes on the circle allowed me to shift my horse onto the outside rein and leg aids easier, so the changes came out completely straight, despite being on a curve. These straight and expressive changes transferred perfectly onto the diagonal tempi changes.

Although the training was a big part of the Robert Dover Horse Mastership Clinic, a big chunk of the event was focused on us learning the importance of mental and physical wellness, for both the horse and the rider. A few exhibitors that came in to talk to us and demonstrate their practice was Cavalor feed company, a sports psychologist, a farrier that based his work highly around precise technology, and an expert with bits, along with many others. This aspect of the clinic was just as important as the training, as it taught a new generation of USA riders about how to correctly care for themselves and their horse.

Ben Ebeling and Cadillac.

This clinic was absolutely amazing, not only because of the learning aspects, but also because young riders from around the country got to know each other. I could not be more thankful for the parties that took place during the week that were specifically set up to bring the participants together. Diamante Farm’s hula party was so fun and I know that everyone had a great time. Because my parents own a ranch in Wellington, we were also able to host a party that brought together not just the group from the Winter Intensive Training program run by Lendon Gray and the Robert Dover group, and a few of the jumpers from the George Morris clinic as well.

I look forward to keeping in touch with all of my new friends when I return to California on Monday to chase my other passion of show jumping. I will be showing in Thermal, California at the Horse Shows In The Sun Coachella Desert Circuit. My horse, Caddilac FS-Z, has recently reached the Grand Prix level, and It will be fun to solidify his performance at this level throughout the next few weeks. Caddilac is a grey Zangersheide Gelding with great scope and a perfect character. It has been a dream to bring this horse up the levels for the past year with help from my coach, Will Simpson. My goal for both my show jumper and my dressage horse this year is to qualify and be selected for the California Young Rider teams in order to compete both at the North American championships..