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German international Grand Prix dressage rider Ellen Richter has represented her country at both Junior and Under 25 level where she was part of the gold medal winning team at the 2021 European Championships as well as enjoying considerable individual success. Having completed a masters degree, Ellen finds time to combine her career alongside riding at her family’s privately owned stables and competing.

Tell us about you and your horses

Ellen Richter. German international Grand Prix dressage rider
Meet Ellen Richter. German international Grand Prix dressage rider
My name is Ellen Richter, I am twenty-eight years old, and I am a German dressage rider. I started riding before I could even walk. My parents also rode when they were younger which is why my sister, and I were in contact with horses literally our whole lives. I was lucky enough that I had the opportunity to ride several championships from junior level to U25.   My current top horse ‚Vinay NRW came into my life six and a half years ago when we were looking for a young horse. In addition, I currently have two more promising 5-year-old horses. One is self-bred by my parents and the other one is owned by the Schockemöhle stable.


When and where do you ride?

We have a small private stable at home where I ride my horses every morning before I start my normal office job at 9am or 10am.

Who do you train with?

Ellen and Vinay who she calls her dream horse
  My regular coach is Oliver Oelrich for more than ten years already. I try to train with him at least once a month. When I was still a student, I had a lot more time and drove to Olli’s barn once a week, but sadly my time is much more limited since I started working in the office. My parents still have an eye on my riding as well, but no longer on a daily basis.  

What you and your horses currently working on?

With Vinay I am not working on specific movements as he knows all the Grand Prix stuff. I just try to keep him happy and loose in his body by doing lots of gymnastics. Both 5-year-olds obviously still need to learn a lot, but my number one priority is that they learn to enjoy the dressage work and that they gain the strength they need to be good at the higher levels someday.  

What do you love about riding?

Ellen and Vinay after wiining the Kür gold medal at the German Championships
First and foremost, I just love the horses as animals. Once they trust you, they give you their all and you can achieve a lot together. And of course, I also really love the daily work with them and everything that belongs to it. What I love about the equestrian sport is that every day is different as you are working with living beings. You also constantly must use your brain a lot to find out ways to understand the horses and their different needs. I think horses teach you so much for your whole life which I am really thankful for.


What would you like to be doing in the future and do you have any goals?

I hope that I have the possibility to ride and train high quality horses for a long time to come. I just try to enjoy the ride without wanting to force anything. The horses lead the way anyway. Asking for a goal, I would love to train more horses to Grand Prix Level. To ride at CHIO Aachen one day would be a dream of mine.

It takes a team to do dressage, who is in your support team?

My support team is my family and my trainer. Without them nothing would be possible.

Have you ever had to deal with nerves in riding? 

Ellen Richter with the rest of the Under 25 year old gold medal winning team at the European Championships in 2021
Ellen with the rest of the Under 25 year old gold medal winning team at the European Championships in 2021
Yes, in the past I had to deal with nerves a lot. It took me a long time to figure out how to not put so much pressure on myself. But once I realised that I am doing it for the horses and that I only want to present them in the way they deserve it, everything around it became less important.


How do you deal with them?

At a competition, I just try to concentrate on the horse and myself. I try to really be in the zone and in the moment.

Do you have any rituals before competing?

Nothing specific. I always need the same processes as routine. And enough time is important for me that I don’t get stressed.

Your Top Tip

My top tip is to always stay humble and be patient. You have to take it day by day. The horses teach you that automatically. And at the same time, you should never stop questioning yourself and be open for new learnings. It takes a lot of self-criticisms to get to the top. I think it is the same as in other sports or in life in general, if you stop getting better, you stop being good.  

What is the best piece of advice that you have ever been given?

In terms of riding: inside leg, outside rein.  


Down the Centre Line


Who would be your dream horse to ride?

I think there are a lot of great horses out there. It may sound stupid, but my personal dream horse is my own Vinay. I really do believe that his mix of rideability, character, work ethic and quality is very rare. Beside Vinay, I wouldn‘t say no to a ride on Freestyle or Cosmo.  


Who is your equestrian hero?

Isabell Werth. It is fascinating how many different horses she has trained up to Grand Prix level and how she manages to get the best out of every horse she rides. I also really love Catherine Laudrup-Dufour‘s and Charlotte Dujardin‘s way of riding.  


If you could have five people to dinner, who would they be?

Alexej Nawalny, my grandparents who died two years ago, Usain Bolt, Barack Obama and Claudia Obert (German comedian) for the fun.


Favourite colour horse?

The colour doesn’t matter for me as long as the horse has the right character and quality

Favourite horse event?


Favourite food?

I love Italian food


Favourite way to relax?

A good movie/TV-series or just sleeping

Favourite film?

Movie: The Last Song, The Greatest Show. Series: Queen of the south, Suits



Want More?

If you enjoyed meeting Ellen you might like to view more dressage rider “chatting with” interviews here .  You can keep up with Ellen’s progress and check out her instagram page here    

Sharon Howe

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