Ben Ebeling & Indeed Victorious at Ocala Freestyle Under Lights at Spectacular World Equestrian Center to Boost Confidence Heading to Europe
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
OCALA, Florida, April 15, 2022–Benjamin Ebeling rode Indeed to victory in the Hampton Green CDI3* Grand Prix Freestyle Friday night under lights at the World Equestrian Center crackling with atmosphere and a crowd celebrating the first dressage competition in the spectacular Grand Arena.
The 22-year-old Benjamin was awarded 76.940% for the second straight musical performance win in just three Freestyles since he took over competing the 14-year-old Danish Warmblood mare four months ago. The horse had been developed by his father, Jan Ebeling, who competed for U.S. at the 2012 Olympics.
The Big Tour success on Indeed along with that of Illuster van de Kampert that he has partnered through Young Riders and Under-25 to senior American Nations Cup teams at the most prestigious events in the U.S. and Europe, as well as Status Royal, on which he has just begun Grand Prix, boosted both his and the horse’s confidence heading into a European circuit aimed at earning a place on the U.S. squad at the world championships in Herning, Denmark this summer.
Alice Tarjan on Donatella M that began Grand Prix this year placed second on 74.040%. Alice of Oldwick, New Jersey, on Saturday will compete Serenade MF in the Grand Prix Special, one of three horses the amateur rider has bought online as youngsters that she is now competing at international Big Tour, with more in the pipeline.
The 25-year-old Kerrigan Gluch competing the P.R.E. gelding Mejorano in their first Big Tour Grand Prix Freestyle was third on 73.725%. Kerrigan moved to Ocala when Hampton Green owner Kim van Kampen, owner of Mejorano and one of the most prominent supporters of P.R.E. horses in the world, relocated from Wellington to this “horse capital.” Kerrigan has become a a fan favorite in her hometown.
Ben Ebeling, who has based himself in Florida in winter and at Hagen, Germany in summer, borrowed the freestyle from Illuster van de Kampert. The self-proclaimed “Star Wars nerd,” who based his black tailcoat and helmet to represent Darth Vader “with the red for his lightsaber,” was happy to end his American winter circuit with a win before heading to Europe.
“We always talk about keeping the momentum going and I think for her especially, and a little bit too for my confidence with her, these last two classes have been outstanding for me to continue that,” he said. “I can’t thank my owners enough, Vantage Equestrian, and of course my mom for helping me with Illuster. I’m just really lucky to be in this position.”
Alice Tarjan said of Donatella M the 11-year-old Oldenburg mare “doesn’t have the best hind leg mechanic, and the changes were really difficult to put on the horse. Had that horse not had such a good work ethic and try every day, I don’t think there is any way she could do it. Two years ago, I didn’t have a clean left lead change. It was a disaster. It took a village to get a clean change on that horse, so the fact that she can actually do 15 clean one-tempis is sort of a miracle.”
Despite the challenge, Alice knew what she had in Donatella and has enjoyed the process of bringing her along. “It’s fun seeing the progression,” she said. “That’s why I love doing it. You get a glimpse of it when they’re four or five and you’re like, ‘Wow, look at this!’ but it takes you years to develop it and show it off here.”
Kerrigan Gluch rode Mejorano HGF, an 11-year-old PRE gelding, in their first CDI Freestyle, emotional for the rider knowing that the music originally came from Hampton Green Farm’s Olympic horse Grandioso, who is also Mejorano’s sire. Grandioso was ridden for Hampton Green by Jose Daniel Martin Dockx on Spain’s team at both the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, 2014 World Equestrian Games and the European Championships in 2013 and 2015.
Kerrigan said she felt the freestyle highlighted Mejorano’s trot half-passes and the piaffe/passage in a high degree of difficulty, noting that the compact gray “thrives in those moments.”
She ticked off a goal on her list by competing in this Freestyle.
“When I saw this facility before I moved here, I said, ‘I want to go down that chute and under the lights. I don’t know when it’s going to happen, but it’s a goal’,” she recalled. “I didn’t know if there would be people in the stands, and it was very full. It was incredible to trot in and see everyone there under the lights. It was a dream come true. To be able to do that tonight in front of a big crowd and representing Kim and Hampton Green Farm well and proud and showing off the breed is really special.”
CDI3* Grand Prix Freestyle
|Judges:||Omar Zayrik||William Warren||Sarah Geikie||Marian E. Cunningham||Gabriel Martin Armando|
|2.||74.040||USA||Alice Tarjan||Donatella M||73.45||74.95||72.25||75.125||74.425|
|3.||73.725||USA||Kerrigan Gluch||Mejorano HGF||74||73.975||75.625||71.125||73.9|
|4.||73.675||USA||Anna Marek||Fire Fly||73.7||74.25||73.375||72.375||74.675|
|5.||71.205||USA||Susan Dutta||Figeac DC||71.1||69.75||71||71.375||72.8|
|6.||70.875||USA||Kevin Kohmann||Mr Bumblebee||68.975||72.025||70.625||73||69.75|
|7.||69.715||USA||Nora Batchelder||WGangster Girl||69.4||71.425||70.125||70.125||67.5|
|8.||68.100||NED||Ivo Jührend||Cover Girl||68.125||69.5||68.5||67.375||67|
|9.||66.625||SUI||Barbara Bertschinger||Sir Schiwago||62.825||68.375||67.125||65.75||69.05|
|10.||66.605||USA||Amina Bursese||Fiti AL||64.9||68.625||65.25||67||67.25|