This week I’m chatting with Norwegian international dressage rider, Celina Bodstangen. Based at Aubenhausen and coached by Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and Benjamin Werndl, Celina is now part of the Norwegian Dressage team. Read on to discover more about Celina, her ambitions, and top tips for success
Tell us about you
I have always ridden, but my goal to make dressage the main focus of my life drew me away from my year abroad in London, where I was studying Finance. Returning to my hometown in Germany I met Stefan Münch, the former trainer of Jessica and Benjamin Werndl and began training with him. He encouraged me to make the move to Aubenhausen. Since the start of 2021, I have been training with Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and Benjamin Werndl. Within just four years I managed to work myself up the levels and qualified for the U25 European Championships in 2022. I am part of the Norwegian Dressage Team and am incredibly thankful for the support from Norway.
How did your horses come into your life?
With my mare, Honey, I hope to have an upcoming Grand Prix prospect for the future. I have her under the saddle since 2021 and we have been working towards growing into the sport together. I showed her in her first S-level and hope to debut her in her first competition at U25 Grand Prix level in 2023. I was also lucky to have found Leo, my younger horse, in the beginning of 2022. I took over the reins and have been educating him ever since. He directly won his first young horse competition. I also have more horses under my training which I can talk about at a later date.
How long have you been riding?
Since I was eight years old. However, serious dressage training towards competitions did not start until I was seventeen. I think that was important for me as I don’t want to lose the fun of the competitive sport and my love towards horses remains the core of what I do.
When and where do you ride?
I ride the whole day. My horses and I live in Aubenhausen. Plus, I train some horses as part of my job as a rider. And in the evenings, I work on my Master’s degree.
How did you start riding?
In a riding school on a little black pony named Taylor. We did everything from jumping to dressage and riding without a saddle.
What are you and your horses currently working on?
My oldest one, Honey, is training at the Grand Prix level with me. Leo is turning six and I’ve started to teach him the flying changes. My youngest one will begin to learn more self-carriage. I have a total of six horses that I train and take care of.
What do you love about riding?
The fact that we work with living beings makes this sport very special. The type of bond you can build with horses over the years is incredible.
What would you like to be doing in the future and do you have any goals?
I am unsure where my journey will take me. But I do know it will definitely involve horses and riding. I have many dreams with my horses and hopefully we will be able to represent Norway many more times in the upcoming years. Wish us luck!
Have you ever had to deal with nerves in riding?
Yes, they are completely normal, and they show you that you care. Nerves are just energy that you need to learn to channel into something positive.
How do you deal with them?
I do a lot of visualisation before a test with music that gets me into the right mindset. That way I feel prepared and ready. Also, it helps me to just cuddle with my horse and realise that no result can change my love for them.
Your Top Tip
Invest in training and learn from others.
Down the Centre Line
Who would be your dream horse to ride?
I am already riding my dream horses!
Who is your equestrian hero?
My two trainers: Jessi & Benni
If you could have 5 people to dinner, who would they be?
Steve Jobs, Lionel Messi, Philip Knight, Nick Kyrgios & Michael Jackson
Favourite colour horse?
Favourite horse event?
Lövsta Top 10 Dressage
Favourite way to relax?
Listening to biographies
Knight & Day
If you enjoyed meeting Celina you might like to view more dressage rider “chatting with” interviews here You can keep up with Celina’s progress and check out her instagram page here