Ben Ebeling and Escona 8 End Third Week of Adequan® Global Dressage Festival on a Win

Jan 28, 2024 - 7:06 PM

By Summer Grace for Wellington International 

The 2024 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) closed out week three with a full day of competition concluding with the Buffalo Wild Wings Prix St. George Future Challenge as part of the Future Challenge Young Horse Series at AGDF. The festival runs seven weeks of CDI competition over the course of three months in Florida’s winter equestrian destination of Wellington, FL. The U.S. anthem sounded proudly across the stadium as young professional Ben Ebeling took his place with Escona 8 at the head of the lap of honor as the only combination to break into the seventieth percentile on 70.588%. 

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Ben Ebeling & Escona 8, winners of the Buffalo Wild Wings Prix St. George Future Challenge Qualifier. Photo © SusanJStickle.com

“I am so fortunate to have this horse,” Ebeling gushed. “I’ve had her since she was five or six and along with help from my dad and Christoph Koschel we have been able to really develop her into an amazing young horse. I’m so excited about her and she keeps surprising me.” 

The enthusiasm from Ebeling’s father, who also doubles as his trainer, and mother, who doubles as his manager, was obvious as the ACR Enterprises Inc’s nine-year-old Rheinlander mare (Escolar x Sir Donnerhall) secured her spot in the final. 

BenEbeling.Escona8.BuffaloWildWings.4G3S7762©susanjstickle.com
Ben Ebeling & Escona 8 presented as winners of the Buffalo Wild Wings Prix St. George Future Challenge Qualifier by Caitlin Lane with AGDF, Dr. Diane Fellows of Buffalo Wild Wings and Judge at C Sandra Hotz. Photo © SusanJStickle.com

“I’m really excited to qualify for this great challenge and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” he continued. “She is still young and has some things to work on but overall the trend is great; her trot work is my main highlight because it just feels like you are floating, and I struggled a lot in the beginning with her on the three and four tempis but now they are one of the things she does best!”

Ebeling’s fellow American Rebecca Cohen joined him for the lap of honor, having received the second best score of 68.774% with her own nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Dream Boy x Florencio 2), Kai Van Wittenstein P.

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Eva Levy & Living Diamond, winners of the CDIY FEI Young Riders Freestyle, sponsored by Prestige Italia USA. Photo © SusanJStickle.com

Starting off the day in the Equestrian Village International Stadium was the CDIY FEI Young Riders Freestyle, sponsored by Prestige Italia USA. The national anthem of Jamaica rang out as Eva Levy took the top call. The class was a head-to-head duel between Levy and Australia’s Kate Kyros with Levy pulling ahead by a little less than 3% with a winning score of 69.470%. Levy guided her newly-acquired nine-year-old Hanoverian gelding Living Diamond (Livaldon x Furst Rousseau) to the judge’s highest marks, earning two scores above 70%. Kyros earned a 66.875% with Heather Kyros’ 11-year-old KWPN stallion (Apache x Harmony’s Rousseau), Intro K, as the class concluded. 

“I have actually never ridden that freestyle to music before,” Levy admitted. “My plan was just to ride the pattern and stick with the music.” 

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Eva Levy & Living Diamond presented as winners of the CDIY FEI Young Riders Freestyle, sponsored by Prestige Italia USA, by Judge at C Elke Ebert and Aileen Ariaz. Photo © SusanJStickle.com

Levy’s gamble worked out in her favor as Living Diamond was shining bright during  the performance. 

“The trot half passes worked out a lot better than I expected, and he was really with me even though he can be a bit nervous with noise or music,” she detailed. “I was just happy he stayed with me; I’ve only had him since August so this is our first CDI together.” 

While their partnership has been a learning curve, Levy has felt the raw pieces time and time again, and knows it is just a matter of practice and persistence to put it all together. 

“I’m so excited because every day our warm ups have been really amazing,” she said. “Now the goal is to try and reproduce how he felt in the warmup in the show arena and execute everything the same way.”

The 2024 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival will resume February 7, 2024, with both national and CDI-W competition. For more information and results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com

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