Meet Ella Fruchterman: The 2022 USEF Junior Dressage National Champion

An incoming freshman at Indiana University, Ella Fruchterman is coming off of a whirlwind summer winning triple gold medals at the FEI North American Youth Championships before she rode away with another tricolor Friday at the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions at Lamplight Equestrian Center.

Ella rode Holts Le’mans, her own and Todd Fructerman’s 11-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding to the top of the leaderboard, earning a total of 70.246% to clinch the USEF Junior Dressage National Championship. We caught up with the Minnesota-based junior rider to learn more about her after her big win!

Ella Fruchterman and Holts Le’mans

Tell us how you are feeling coming away with the championship title!

“Right now I feel like I’m on cloud nine, especially coming off of winning triple gold medals at the FEI North American Youth Championships! I was very focused on riding a clean test and I tried to keep a little more cadence and engagement today – while keeping his canter work very uphill. I really wasn’t expecting this and I’m feeling overwhelmed by the support from my parents and my trainer, Angela Jackson. My friends have also been so helpful and supportive this summer. I really wanted to have fun this week and I’ve had a lot of fun. Winning the national championship is the cherry on top.”

If you could rider any horse in the world, who would you pick?

“It’s one of my dreams to ride Cathrine Dufour’s Bohemian – I actually think Holts Le’Mans kind of looks like him!”

Ella Fruchterman and Holts Le’mans

Growing up did you ride any other discipline?

“For a very short amount of time I rode hunters, but then I quickly found dressage. I love that you are always striving to do better. I was talking to Rebekah Mingari last night and she’s like an older sister to me. She always says, ‘Train like you’ve never won, compete like you’ve never lost.’ I’m always going in there striving for 100%, even though that’s most likely not going to happen, but there is something you can work on.”

What is Holts Le’Man like?

“We’ve been together for two years and the trust is definitely there between us now. I go into the ring and I know he’s right there with me and wants to work with me. Outside of the show ring, he’s super snuggly and has a big personality always wanting to know what’s going on. He has a stuffed lama that he loves to cuddle with. He tends to get a bit grumpy if you don’t cuddle enough with him and he always gives me a good night kiss during night check.”

Ella Fruchterman and Holts Le’mans

What do you think about Lamplight Equestrian Center?

“This facility is gorgeous. I love that the rings have a large atmosphere, but once you are inside it feels peaceful and you can focus on your test. At the end of the test, it’s fun when all the excitement of the cheers comes down on you.”

If you could give advice to other youth riders what would it be?

“Never give up! Last year we competed here together and got seventh overall. But we kept training and working on the basics. I’ve spent many hours in the barn and many tough rides where I’ve wanted to quit and didn’t know how it would come together. Also, never compare yourself to others and focus on what you can do.”