According to US Dressage development coach, Charlotte Bredahl, the future’s looking bright based on the caliber of the riders and their horses currently enrolled in the programme that is aimed at producing combinations for future international competitions. She has been observing many of them during the course of the 2022 Global Dressage Festival.
“Fortunately, the majority of the riders and horses come to Florida in the winter,” she said. “I make a point of watching them all season when they’re showing.”
Charlotte herself competed on five horses up to grand prix and has among many other noteworthy achievements, one team bronze Olympic medal and team silver medal at the North-American Championships.
“The programme is not age-related at all,” said Charlotte, who has been development coach for three years. “The horses have to be within a certain age range to be considered, but that does not apply to the riders and it’s really about upcoming combinations. It could be, for instance, an Olympic rider with a new upcoming horse.”
Leading rider, Laura Graves, is among the 20 individuals selected for the programme. “She was ranked number one in the world not too long ago,” said Charlotte. “And she’s coming up with a really really talented horse, SenSation HW.”
For Charlotte, the most satisfying aspect of the job is seeing the progress made by those on her watch. Ben Ebeling, 21, is a product of the pipeline, having started out as a young rider.
“One that stands out because he came up through the young rider programme and went very quickly up to the elite rider programme is Ben Ebeling,” she said. “He’s really been through the pipeline – that’s what we call it. We have the young rider programme and then we have the young horse programme and from there riders and horses can progress to the development programme and then hopefully on to the pre-elite and the elite.”
Currently, Charlotte believes the potential for results in finding international competitors is unprecedented. “We have many very talented combinations,” she said. “We’ve never had so many on their way up. Some of the combinations just need another year. All of them are showing that they will absolutely be at grand prix level. The majority of them are either getting really close to grand prix or they are showing grand prix.”
Next year’s Global Dressage Festival is going to be a benchmark for the progress of the development programme riders. “It will be very exciting to see them perform next winter season,” said Charlotte. “They are a super talented group.”
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