By US Equestrian Communications Department
Up-and-coming talent had their chance to represent the U.S. in the FEI Dressage Nations Cup™ Netherlands CDIO4* at CHIO Rotterdam. The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team of Ben Ebeling and Indeed, Kerrigan Gluch and Mejorano HGF, Kevin Kohmann and Duenensee, and Lina Uzunhasan and Furst Fabelhaft UZN gained valuable experience on the world stage. They earned a sixth-place finish under the guidance of Chef d’Equipe George Williams against a solid field of competitors.
“When you come over and compete in this kind of environment, I do think there are learning opportunities,” said Williams. “For some of the horses, it is going into a much more electric environment than what they have been used to. So it is making sure that the horses have real confidence going into this kind of environment. It shows [the athletes] how important it is to be able to up your game in top international competition. I do think it was a very positive experience for them and a real building opportunity.”
Competition began Thursday with the FEI Grand Prix Test, and Gluch (Ocala, Fla.) and Mejorano HGF were the lead-off combination for The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team in their senior team debut. They had lovely piaffe movements that helped them to score 67.304%. Also making their senior team debut, Uzunhasan (Sint-Oedenrode, Netherlands) and Furst Fabelhaft UZN were next to head down centerline for the U.S. The pair had solid tempi changes and trot work that secured a score of 67.348%. Ebeling (Wellington, Fla.) and Indeed were the most seasoned U.S. combination of the team, and they delivered a steady test, earning a score of 67.565%. Kohmann (Wellington, Fla.) and Duenensee were the final U.S. combination in the FEI Grand Prix Test. While Kohmann was previously on a senior team for his native Germany, he made his U.S. senior team debut in Rotterdam after becoming a citizen in 2022. Kohmann (Wellington, Fla.) and Duenensee had a consistent test to earn a score of 69.326% and finish as the top U.S. combination on day one of combination.
Ben Ebeling and Indeed
(Shannon Brinkman Photo)
The U.S. team returned to the dressage arena on Saturday for the FEI Grand Prix Special and FEI Grand Prix Freestyle, with two combinations competing in each of the classes. Uzunhasan and Kohmann competed in the FEI Grand Prix Special, while Gluch and Ebeling competed in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle. Uzunhasan and Furst Fabelhaft UZN, a 2014 Rhineland gelding owned by UZN Holding, were the first U.S. pair to go on Saturday and collected a score of 64.596%. Kohmann and Duenensee, a 2009 Hanoverian gelding owned by Diamante Farms, had a flowing test to earn a score of 67.298%. Gluch and Mejorano HGF were the first U.S. combination into the arena for the Freestyle, and they made a statement by earning a personal best-score. Gluch and the 2011 Andalusian gelding owned by Hampton Green Farm earned high marks for their music, choreography, and degree of difficulty to receive a score of 75.350%. Ebeling and Indeed followed suit with another impressive ride to score 75.690%, earning similarly high marks for their music, choreography, and degree of difficulty.
“What made me very happy was how they came back today,” Williams said on Saturday. “They definitely came back with a very healthy fighting spirit. I think they really showed what they are capable of today. For me, it is very exciting about the future and watching how they develop because I think it was a very positive experience. Today they proved that they belonged to be there. I think it really speaks well for the future.”
With a points-based system used to determine the team placings, the U.S finished in sixth with 85 points. France won with 11 points, Germany was second with 38 points, and Sweden was third with 44 points.
“It was a young group, and we came into this with realistic expectations. We thought it was very important for them to gain this kind of experience,” said Williams. “With my background as the youth coach, I’m always looking to the future and trying to look at it in the sense of where we are going so that our younger combinations have chances to experience competitions like this. I was really quite happy with how they rode and, overall, with how they did.”