This week I’m chatting with eighteen year-old American dressage rider Ella Fruchterman. Based at Henderson, Kentucky, where she rides in between her University studies, Ella has already represented her country and has enjoyed considerable success at FEI Junior level including becoming the Junior Champion at the 2022 US Festival of Champions. Currently competing at FEI Young Rider level. Ella is working towards Grand Prix Under at Under 25’s and hopes to represent her country at senior level in the future. Read on to learn more about Ella, her ambitions, and top tips for success
Tell us about you and your horses
I am eighteen years old and compete for the United States. I just finished my freshman year at Indiana University, where I am pursuing a degree in the Kelley School of Business.
Holts Le’Mans, also known as Lemanzypoo, is a twelve-year-old liver chestnut gelding with the biggest personality. He loves treats and cuddles, especially with his teddy bear. Last year, we were fortunate to win the triple gold in the Junior Rider division at the FEI North American Youth Championships, and the Junior Rider National Championship at the Festival of Champions.
Hannah Montana W, Miss Han, is a fourteen-year-old liver chestnut mare who also has a great personality. She is a hard worker, loves to be in the show ring, and is a sweet, steady, sometimes sassy, talented girl. I am so grateful to have both of these partners to work with, learn from, and compete together.
How did your horses come into your life?
My two current partners came into my life as I was preparing to move up into higher levels of the sport. During the pandemic, it was difficult to travel, so we were very lucky to find Le’Mans. A family friend was able to try him in Denmark, and we had to go on faith that he would be a good fit. About a year later, Hannah came into my life through another stroke of good luck. While my trainer was in Europe looking for a young horse, she came across Hannah. The minute she sat on her she knew that Hannah would be a good fit for me.
When and where do you ride?
I ride at Rhine River Farm in Henderson, Kentucky with my trainer Angela Jackson. While college is in session, I ride on the weekends, and I spend summers and any breaks I get at the farm. During the winter season, we also train and compete in Wellington, Florida.
How did you start riding?
I started riding in San Antonio, Texas in 2009. There was a barn right next to my elementary school and I asked my dad to take me for a lesson for my fifth birthday. I fell in love immediately and never turned back.
What you and your horses currently working on?
I am currently working with both horses at getting confident at the PSG level and competing in the FEI Young Riders. I would love to compete this summer at the North American Youth Championships (NAYC) as well as Festival of Champions (FOC). I am also working with Hannah to learn the Grand Prix movements in hopes of moving up to the U25 Grand Prix with her soon.
What do you love about riding?
One of my favourite things about riding is that there is always room for growth. Whether moving up the levels or just getting more confident and confirmed in your current level, there is always something to improve upon. I also love continuing to build my partnerships with my horses. Every horse has something unique to teach you which is so amazing about this sport.
What you would you like to be doing in the future and do you have any goals?
My short-term goals are to qualify as a young rider for NAYC and FOC this summer. Next year I am hoping to qualify to for the Young Rider European tour. It would be an amazing experience to compete in Europe. Ultimately, I would like to be a member of the U.S. senior team.
Have you ever had to deal with nerves in riding?
Absolutely! I think everyone has dealt with nerves at some point. I try not to look at them as a bad thing but rather my body getting ready to do something great.
How do you deal with them?
I like to listen to music and take a little walk before my ride. I remind myself of the work we have put in up to the point of our test and to trust both myself and my horse.
Your Top Tip
My top tip is to not let other people’s success distract you from your own path. It can be easy to get caught up in what/how other people are doing online or even at a show, but everyone’s journey is individual, and it is important to focus on what is best for you and your horse. Progress is never linear in this sport.
Down the Centre Line
Who would be your dream horse to ride?
Glamourdale, he is phenomenal!
Who is your equestrian hero?
If you could have 5 people to dinner, who would they be?
Carina Cassøe Krüth, Cathrine Landrup-Dufour, Max Verstappen, Charles Lecrec, and Taylor Swift
Favourite colour horse?
Favourite horse event?
North American Youth Championships
One of my favourite foods is pancakes
Favourite way to relax?
Bake and spend time with my friends
I prefer to watch T.V. shows but I would say “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days”
If you enjoyed meeting Ella you might like to view more dressage rider “chatting with” interviews here You can keep up with Ella’s progress and check out her instagram page here