Benjamin Ebeling on Illuster Van De Kampert Logs Big Win in Wellington CDI3* Grand Prix Special to Move into Top Ranks of American Riders

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Benjamin Ebeling on Illuster Van De Kampert riding to victory in the Global Dressage Festival CDI3* on a career high score in only their second international Grand Prix Special. © 2021 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

WELLINGTON, Florida, Feb. 28, 2021–Benjamin Ebeling rode Illuster Van De Kampert to victory Sunday in the Global Dressage Festival CDI3* in the pair’s second Grand Prix Special on a score that moved the 21-year-old into the top ranks of American high performance riders.

Benjamin of Moorpark, California and the 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding scored 75.170%, two days after posting a career high Grand Prix result. The Special score was third for a U.S. prospective Olympic team combination, behind veterans Steffen Peters and Suppenkasper and Sabine Schut-Kery and Sanceo. Adrienne Lyle, who is yet to compete Salvino this year but plans to do so in the next month, posted a Grand Prix Special result above 80% last year.

Susan Dutta of Wellington, Florida and Don Design DC placed second on a lifetime best 70.893% following the same achievement in the Grand Prix Friday.

Anna Buffini of San Diego, California and FRH Davinia la Douce also posted a personal best 70.702% for third.

Susan Dutta and Don Design DC at the Global Dressage Festival. © 2021 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Ben Ebeling is helped most by his father, 2012 Olympic team rider Jan Ebeling, and Germany’s Christoph Koschel who is based in Wellington in winter as well as former U.S. team rider and 5* judge Gary Rockwell with tips from six-time Olympian and former team coach Robert Dover.

“Today was the most comfortable that he’s felt in that arena,” he said of the Global centerpiece international ring that has no general admission spectators but plenty of VIP table holders and other riders in the international and national competitions going on together at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.

“Of course it’s a big atmosphere for any horse, but he’s naturally a hot horse, the arena can be a bit of a challenge for him. Every time we go in there he’s settling down and for me mentally, that’s a big win.”

An emotional Benjamin Ebeling on Illuster Van De Kampert as he sees the scores posted after his CDI3* Grand Prix Special ride. © 2021 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Ben has ridden all his life and initially pursued jumping before switching to dressage and moving up through the age dvisions that have taken him to competitions on both sides of the Atlantic. He moved to the senior tour from the Under-25 division just six weeks ago.

The coronavirus-enforced break from Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh has enabled him to “ride horses all day long. I’m really thankful for that as I know a lot of people want that opportunity and are not able to have it.

“I’m just so thankful for my dad’s training ever since I was a kid. All my jumper trainers–Americans Will Simpson and David O’Brien and Dietmar Gugler of Germany–have helped a lot, too.

“For me, I just get on a horse and I’m happy to be riding. When I’m on a horse I feel at home. Everything else leaves my mind–there’s nothing bad in the world, there’s nothing wrong. It’s just me and the horse.”

Results:

CDI3* Grand Prix Special

Judges: Peter Storr Kari McClain Michael Osinski Agnieszka Majewska Cesar Torrente
Place Score Nation Athlete Horse E H C M B
1. 75.170 USA Benjamin Ebeling Illuster Van De Kampert 75.638 75.957 74.149 74.574 75.532
2. 70.893 USA Susan Dutta Don Design DC 71.915 68.723 70.106 73.085 70.638
3. 70.702 USA Anna Buffini FRH Davinia la Douce 68.191 71.383 71.277 70.213 72.447
4. 70.383 USA Nick Wagman Ferano 70.426 69.681 72.234 70.319 69.255
5. 69.489 USA Mette Rosencrantz Dzeko 68.511 70.426 70.106 70.213 68.191
6. 69.255 USA Sarah Lockman First Apple 69.043 71.596 68.83 71.702 65.106
7. 68.447 CAN Ariana Chia Fiderflame 67.66 69.255 67.234 70.106 67.979
8. 66.468 USA Katie Johnson Quartett 65.213 67.872 67.979 65.213 66.064
9. 65.638 USA Mikala Münter Salsa Hit 65.638 66.277 62.766 67.66 65.851
10. 63.277 COL Maria Alejandra Aponte Gonzalez Duke De Niro 64.043 63.83 62.021 63.83 62.66
11. 62.213 USA Dawn White-O’Connor Bailarino 60.745 63.723 62.021 63.617 60.957
RET. USA Ashley Holzer Valentine