Blog Blog Banners Ella Cooper-Levin

We want to introduce you to our second sponsored rider; Ella Cooper-Levin. Join us in following her journey with us!

In this blog, you’ll find Ella’s rider profile where she tells us about her horse, background, goals and achievements. We will keep this page updated with photos and other updates throughout the year. 

The Redback Agri Team were overwhelmed with the response to our newly launched sponsorship offer and found it difficult to pick just two riders to support for the season. However, we were lucky to find two talented individuals who are just as passionate about their sport as we are about our arena grooming product range and we are thrilled for them both to be part of the team. 

Ella’s Instagram Profile –

Rider Profile – Ella Cooper-Levin

Main horse

Name: Eva Amiral (Eva)
Current Level: Level 6 (Advanced)

Eva is 16 years old and is a 1/3 Hannoverian, 1/3 Swedish Warmblood and 1/3 TB. Her sire is my previous horse Amiral Verden (who is now retired) who is out of Flynge Amiral. My mum bred Eva and we have both been training her up the levels. We are training her at home at level 8 (Medium Tour) and she has just started learning her Passage and 2 time changes. I started riding Eva in 2019 and we have slowly been improving and stepping up the levels.

Eva’s nickname is the Spice Queen as she has a lot of power and energy (She loves her extended canter). She is a very expressive horse and While she is very sassy she can be the biggest cuddler when she wants to. She absolutely loves treats and will become your best friend if you give her some. Mum decided to name her Eva, as she was born on New Years Eve. Eva is such a special horse and even if she has some quirks, we love her to bits!

The early years

I have been riding all my life and I actually had my first pony (Dusty) before I was born. I grew up in 2 places, from 4 – 9 years old on a farm just outside Pokeno where my mum ran a riding school. I rode my pony every day and got to make friends with the lessons kids my mum taught. As well as mum riding school she also ran a business called Performance Horse which sold Mountain Horse products. So growing up, I got to go to Horse of the Year every year, and it was my dream to compete there.

In 2010 we moved from Pokeno to a small farm in a tiny country town called Waerenga. Mum sold the businesses and eventually moved to real estate. This year is when I first joined Pony Club (Waereaga PC) and from there I became more involved in PC by becoming a rider representative. It helped that I was at all the meetings as mum was the president.

Mum always knew I would be a Dressage rider as I was a very scared kid, and was terrified to jump cross-country jumps (even though I was determined to be an eventer). I didn’t decide to do Dressage full-time until I was about 13 years old after making it onto the FTV Dressage Champs team as a reserve junior rider. From there, I got the Dressage bug and started to go to more competitions. When I got to High School I was usually the only Dressage rider heading off to the St Peters Secondary School Dressage Championship, but I didn’t let that stop me. Since then, I determined to have horse riding as my secondary career.

Career highlights

 I have quite a few memorable achievements that I am proud of. One of them was winning 3 national series in 2020/2021. I was riding an ex-TB racer, who was not the most flash mover, but with a lot of hard work and determination, I was able to win the TiES series (in Dressage) and 2 Young Rider series. Then 2023 I was able to win another national young rider series in the advanced section.

Another proud achievement is making the NZ team for the Pony Club International Alliance Virtual Show in 2021, 2022, and 2023 and then going on to place 5th, 6th & 2nd overall team in the 2023 competition and 1st overall team in the 2022 competition.

I’m also super proud that I was able to win 2 University of Waikato Blues awards for my equestrian achievements in 2021 and 2023.

Inspiration & role models

My number 1 inspiration will always be my mum. She is the most amazing person in the world and is one of the reasons why I’m able to be at the level I am today. She taught me to work for everything I have and has kept pushing me to keep improving.

The other person who has had a big impact on my life was Bill (William) Miller. Bill was a massive inspiration on my riding early on and had always told me I could make it if I put in the effort. He was a very close friend of ours and I still try to achieve my best in honour of him.

Melissa Galloway and Wendi Williamson have also been very inspirational to me. Melissa is a previous Young Rider, who worked hard to make it to the top and represent NZ internationally. She has inspired me to follow in her footsteps and dream big. She is also an amazing coach and I appreciate the lessons she provides. Same with Wendi, she inspired me to train young horses up the levels and to get my own horse to Grand Prix.

Internationally I have always looked up to Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin with their Olympic achievements and consistent production of top-level horses. Also, Rochelle King-Andrews is an inspiration and I’m constantly tuning into her tik toks for advice to improve my riding or training of my young horse.

I am inspired by a lot of athletes and people and they help give me motivation to achieve my goals and dreams.

Training and routine

A typical training day for me usually starts with a hack down the road. I believe that horses need to spend time outside of the arena. So we spend a lot of time hacking and only 3 days are spent in the arena (which is something that Carl Hester also practices). When I do go into the arena, it is usually to work on specific movements and only for 20 to 30 minutes max.

With Eva at the moment it is practicing canter pirouettes and tempi changes. Im very lucky that mum is my main coach and can give me a short lesson every day, so I always have things to work on or try and improve. Something I have started doing recently with my training is moving the training into my real life. I recently improved my straightness issues in my seat by changing the way I sit when I drive my car or sit on a chair and I’ve noticed a massive difference when I ride.

Favourite aspects of the sport

What I enjoy most about Dressage is being able to form a strong partnership with my horse and being able to show how we work together. I love that I can show how well we both understand each other by doing these amazing movements. I also enjoy working towards a new goals, by stepping up a level or nailing a movement, and I can see how much I have improved/ progressed. While I do love winning ribbons, seeing my score improve is way more rewarding to me.

My favourite thing about competitions is getting to make new friends and meet new people who are in the community. I have made so many friends all over New Zealand, just by meeting them at a show. I have had so many more opportunities put in front of me because I had a connection with them via Dressage.

Goals and aspirations

I have short-term and long-term goals. My biggest goal is that I want to get to the Grand Prix before I turn 25 so that I can compete in the Under 25 Grand Prix class. I also want to represent NZ at an international FEI event (preferably the World Equestrian Games and or the Olympics). In the short term, I want to continue training my young horse (Petal /Fire Lilly) up the levels and get Eva to level 7 by the end of the year. I want to eventually move overseas and compete at big international events. I also want to become a well know Dressage trainer who consistently gets horses to Grand Prix.

The event plan for the year is Horse of the Year, Young Rider Champs, NZPCA NI champs, We may attend the next World Dressage Challenge, depending on where in the North Island they decide to hold it. I am also heading to Kentucky, USA in July for the Pony Club International Alliance Conference.

This photo gallery will be updated during the year to include photos of Vanessa and her team out & about!

Media Updates

Read about Ella in the March Horse & Pony Mag

Horse & Pony Mag March Cover 2024

Horse & Pony Mag March Cover 2024


Horse & Pony Article