This week I’m thrilled to be chatting with Ben Franklin who is a British competition dressage rider and trainer. Having enjoyed many successes at all levels he is also a trainer and works with young horses all the way through to Grand Prix, as well as horses in other disciplines. Read on to discover more about the highly talented Ben, his horses, his plans for the future and his top tips.
Tell us about you
I am a professional Dressage rider and trainer based in Beaconsfield, UK and am fortunate to train my lovely string of horses with Carl Hester. I really enjoy the fact that my work takes me further afield and I enjoy working with clients in Dubai, America, and Germany.
How did your horses come into your life?
My sister was initially the keen rider in the family and I was encouraged to go along for moral support!
How long have you been riding?
I started a little later than most and was 14 years old.
When and where do you ride?
Riding professionally has presented me with opportunities to ride both within the U.K. and abroad. I enjoy training and have regular training with Emily Baker and Millie McBride in addition to my sessions with Carl.
How did you start riding?
Having ridden for leisure with my sister I was given the opportunity to ride a friends flatwork horse and the Dressage bug was formed, with access to training and being open to any learning opportunities I could possibly get my hands on, my passion developed!
What are you and your horses currently working on?
I have a range of horses in training from an exciting young stallion by Vivaldi who has just returned from backing to one of my more advanced horses perfecting the piaffe and passage work – my training sessions throughout the day consist of pole/cavaletti work, flatwork, hacking, in hand training and test riding.
What do you love about riding?
I love the challenge of each horse and what they teach us. Having a lot of mares in the yard has taught me to be open minded and that one system certainly doesn’t suit all. Every day you learn something new from both the horses and the people that we encounter as a result of these beautiful animals.
What you would you like to be doing in the future and do you have any goals?
I would really enjoy setting up a training academy to further educate the younger generations of riders. My own personal riding goal is to enjoy successfully competing at International Grand Prix a string of home-produced horses that we’ve either bred or sourced foals.
Have you ever had to deal with nerves in riding?
I had a nasty accident whilst riding in my younger years which really affected my confidence. It really changed how I approach both my own riding and those whom I help when things are more challenging.
How do you deal with them?
I work on a regular basis with a sports psychologist to keep focused and my riding goal orientated. We incorporate groundwork training with the horses to explore their characters and build their confidence which is very interesting as there are many similarities with how the different characters deal with situations which can be similar to their human counterparts!
Your Top Tip
Invest as much time and effort as possible in your own health and fitness; a supple, balanced rider is key and helps to prevent injury.
The Final Furlong
Who would be your dream horse to ride?
I would love to feel the power and athleticism of Fiontini whom won a hat trick of gold medals at the World Championships for Young Dressage Horses in 2015, 2016 and 2017; she is currently competing Grand Prix with Patrik Kittel.
Who is your equestrian hero?
Carl Hester whom I’m very fortunate to train with. I love how happy and supple the horses feel with the exercises we use in training.
If you could have five people to dinner, who would they be?
Whoopi Goldberg, David Attenborough, Dawn French, Muhammad Ali, and Jamie Dornan
Favourite colour horse?
Jet black or dark bays seem to be rather popular in my stables!
Favourite horse event
Aachen horse show in Germany. Such a lovely atmosphere with the opportunity to enjoy multiple horse sports at one venue
Italian – every time!
Favourite way to relax
Spending time with friends and family in our holiday cottage in Castleton, Peak District