Jan Ebeling was all smiles at the Flintridge CDI* Y/J, May 26–29. Back home in California for only a little over a week from his successful trip to Europe, where he and Rafalca finished 11th at the Reem Acra/FEI World Cup Dressage Final in Leipzig, followed by CDIs in Hagen and Austria, he displayed characteristic poise and sensitivity while riding Rosenzauber 8 in the Pan American Games qualifying tests. They won all three with scores over 70%: 70.263% in the CDI Prix St. Georges, 70.072% in the CDI Intermediaire I and 70.292% in the CDI Intermediaire I Freestyle.The horse he calls “Rosie” is a 10-year-old black Hanoverian mare by Rotspon out of Shining Sun and owned by Deborah Harlan. “I love her; she’s just a blast to ride,” Ebeling says. “She’s green but she’s a really nice horse, and she certainly can move. My assistant, Carly Taylor-Smith, rode her while I was away.
She kept the horse going long and low, just basic work. We needed to get this show in to qualify for Gladstone. She’s not as fit as she needs to be, but I know she can score really high.”
Ebeling jokes that he never wanted mares, and now he’s practically swimming in them: In addition to “Rosie,” there’s his World Cup partner Rafalca, a 14-year-old Oldenburg mare by Argentinius out of Ratine, and Sandrina, a 13-year-old Oldenburg mare by Sandro Hit out of Stutbuch. “There’s a saying in Germany that a good horse has no color, meaning a good horse is a good horse, whether it’s a black horse, a mare, whatever,” he explains. “I couldn’t be happier with the horses.” He also has a young stallion with whom he’d hoped to do the 6-year-old Young Horse classes at Flintridge. Says Ebeling, “He’s really been on the back burner. I haven’t even had him out at a show because it’s been so busy with the other horses. I guess it’s a nice problem to have!”
Of his experience at the World Cup in Leizig, Ebeling says simply, “It was unbelievable. The place is huge. Between all the vendors and all the jumpers and the dressage riders and the vaulters, plus the classes that were not part of the World Cup, it was a zoo! But I loved it. It’s amazing when you go into an arena with that kind of an atmosphere. Rafalca was awesome, she was right on. I think the music gets her in a really good frame of mind.”
The pair went on to the CDI Hagen and then the CDI Achleiten, Austria. Ebeling hadn’t originally planned to do the third CDI in Austria. “We wanted to do two shows and then go home, but [USEF technical advisor] Anne Gribbons suggested we stay and do one more. Then it was time to come home—we do have a ranch here!” He’s referring to The Acres in Moorpark, CA, which he owns with his wife, Amy Roberts Ebeling. Amy and the couple’s 11-year-old son, Ben, made the trip to Europe with him. “It was great that they could come and spend some time,” he says.
Ebeling is clearly proud of his son, who also rides. “Ben is a good sport, but he rolls his eyes when we’re talking about dressage; he thinks it’s way too slow. He jumps, and he just wants to go fast.”
Asked whether a trip to the World Equestrian Festival CHIO at Aachen might be next on his schedule, Ebeling says, “It really depends on what the others are doing or not doing. If it happens, it would be fantastic. I would be back on a plane so fast!”
As for the Pan American Games, he said, “It’s one step at a time right now. I’m really hoping that Aachen is the next step, and then Gladstone. And then we’ll see.”