Excerpt from the June issue of Heels Down Magazine.
Filipino rider Ellesse Jordan Tzinberg on being among the first to represent her home country in dressage
When a rider aims to represent their country on an international stage, it’s often a matter of beating out a multitude of other talented, well-financed riders for a few precious spots on a traveling team. In the case of Ellesse Jordan Tzinberg who rides for the Philippines, the challenges are a bit different: her country has very little awareness of the sport, no funding or development programs, and not a clue about what it takes to send a dressage rider to the Olympics.
Nonetheless, the 25-year-old Grand Prix dressage rider has made her own opportunities, learning by trial and error along the way, and hopes that her success can pave the way for other Asian riders to make it in the sport.
“It’s nice that I don’t have to compete with anyone else from my country for the international opportunity, but the challenge is that we’re doing a lot of ‘firsts’,” said Ellesse. “It’s a lot of just being there and learning and not being afraid to look stupid.”
The Guinea Pig
After graduating from the University of San Diego and purchasing a horse that wanted nothing to do with dressage, Ellesse sold everything and moved to Sweden in 2014 to train with Swedish dressage Olympian Charlotte Haid-Bondergaard and her husband, Rasmus. Considering Ellesse found their names on Google and decided to move to Sweden on a bit of a whim, it was a lucky doorstep to land upon. The decision ultimately launched her dressage career.