Owner & Head Trainer of
USDF Bronze Medalist
USDF "L" Judges Candidate
2018 ADA 3rd Level Freestyle Champion
Kimberly Bench has been active in the West Michigan horse community for over twenty years as a rider and competitor and began her professional career in 2003. Over this time she has steadily developed her skills by working with some of the industries top professionals as well as literally hundreds of horses ranging from off the track thoroughbreds to advanced Dressage and Event horses and everything in between.
Kimberly works with riders and horses of all levels and backgrounds with the goal to provide a solid, classically based foundation that will allow every rider to succeed whether recreationally or in competition.
Kimberly’s passion is Dressage and she is involved at both the local and national level. She has served as past President of The All Dressage Association and is currently the Vice President of the Board as well as the Chair of Clinics and Education (The ADA is a USDF Region II GMO/Group Membership Organization). She has also served as a past delegate at the USDF National Convention and Symposium.
Kimberly loves teaching and sharing her love of Dressage. She instructs her students how to use human and equine bio-mechanics and physics in order to work harmoniously with their equine partner. A combination of visual examples, demonstrations and practical exercises are used to teach students how to ride more comfortably and effectively. She also uses her understanding of equine behavior to improve confidence and communication between the horse and rider.
Both Kimberly and her students have enjoyed many successes, awards and championships at shows throughout Michigan and Region II. She is dedicated to her own on-going education and participates regularly in shows, clinics, lessons and other educational opportunities. She was recognized with her Certificate from USDF University in 2017. She believes a rider is never truly 'finished' and is committed to continually expanding her own education in order to provide the best possible knowledge and experience to her clients.
Kimberly is also an experienced businesswoman. She began her career in the horse industry while still in high school, working as an office assistant and stable hand for a local riding stable starting in 1997 as part of a school-to-work program through Kenowa Hills High School. Following graduation, she attended Northwood University in Midland, MI, where she majored in Marketing and Business Management with a minor in Advertising. Shortly after college, Kimberly returned to the farm where she grew up and quickly moved from a substitute instructor to a part-time associate trainer.
In 2005 she moved to the former Rockford Equestrian Center. She was asked to teach a few students but before long she was teaching over 25 students and several training horses.
In 2007, Kimberly was hired as the Assistant Trainer by FEI level Eventer and Olympic hopeful, Erika Treis-Petersen of Great Lakes Equestrian Center in Holland. This was an excellent opportunity to take both her riding and teaching skills to the next level, and in 2009 she left her office job to focus on teaching and riding full-time. She continued to grow her program at GLEC, and by summer of 2010, had over 40 regular students.
In 2011, Kimberly followed her life-long dream of owning her own farm and established Benchmark Dressage. The facility now services almost 50 families, 20 horses and employs several part-time assistants and working students.
Kimberly continually sets new goals for herself and recently completed the first three sessions of the USDF "L" Judges-training program at Albion College, with the goal of earning her "r" status. She currently has two personal horses and plans to compete both in 2019; a Hanoverian mare named Dior VT at 2nd level and an Oldenburg mare named Remembrance FV who is aiming for an FEI debut.
- 2018 - Showed "Remembrance FV" at 4th Level
- 2018 - 3rd Level Freestyle Champion - ADA with Remembrance FV
- 2018 - 3rd Level Freestyle Champion - GLRSSC
- 2017 - Rides regularly with USDF Gold Medalist, Katrina Hiller
- 2017 - Rode with Fred Weber at WinterSpring Dressage multiple times
- 2017 - Received Grant from The Dressage Foundation for 2 week intensive study with Katie Hiller, WI.
- 2017 - Parts B & C of the USDF "L" Judges Training Program
- 2016 - Janet Foy "on the levels" Symposium
- 2016 - Rode with Susan Jaccoma
- 2016 - Part A of the USDF "L" Judges Training Program
- Winter 2016 - Winter Season in Wellington as part of the team at Katrina Hiller Dressage.
- 2015 - USDF Online Podcast featured speaker
- 2015 - Article Published in USDF Connections Magazine
- 2015 - Clinic with JJ Tate at Gaea's Farm (WI)
- 2015 - Student Stephanie Van de Ven earned USDF Bronze Medal
- 2015 - Student Rebecca Bruening - Reserve Champion Adult Amateur at Waterloo USDF Summer Series
- 2015 - USDF Bronze Medal
- 2015 - 5 day "bootcamp" with Katie Hiller at Gaea's Farm in Walworth, WI
- 2015 - USDF Gold Medalist Katrina "Katie" Hiller at Benchmark Farm (April & August)
- 2015 Audited Lilo Fore Clinic at Southview Farm
- 2009-2014 Regular instruction from USDF Silver Medalist, Sue Thome
- 2014 - 'Training the Trainers' clinic w/ Gold Medalist/Grand Prix trainer, Catherine Haddad
- 2013/2014 - Young Horse Clinic with USDF Gold Medalist Michael Bragdell, head trainer at Hilltop Farm
- 2014/2015 - Rode regularly with USDF Gold Medalist, Fred Weber
- 2013 - Audited 2 separate clinics with International trainer, Cathrine Haddad
- 2013 - International Dressage Summit (Wellington, FL)
- 2013 - Attended MDA Clinic "Rider Tests" with "r" judge Kerry Petty & FEI "C" judge Maryal Barnett
- 2011 - Audited Olympian Steffen Peters Clinic at Albion College
- 2011 - Rode own horses "Rustic Ridge" & "Davino" with Trish Helmer
- 2011 - Audited "C" Session of the USDF "L" instructed by Alexandra Howard (Camp Lake, WI)
- 2011 - Attended MDA "On the Levels" Clinic at MSU
- 2010 - Year End Champion - Training Level with Rustic Ridge
- 2010 - Lessons with FEI rider/trainer Laurie Moore
- 2010 - Rode Rustic Ridge with USDF Gold Medalist, Fred Weber
- 2010 - President, The All Dressage Association
- 2010 - Served as Region II delegate at the USDF National Convention
- 2009 - Rode Rustic Ridge with USDF “r” Judge Sue Hughes
- 2009 - Silver Certificate for scores earned on "Buy Me Diamonds" at ADA
- 2009 - Audited Spanish Riding School clinic at Great Lakes Equestrian Center
- 2009 - Board of Directors, The All Dressage Association
- 2007-2010 - Trained under USEA Gold Medal Eventer Erika Treis-Petersen
- 2005-2007 - Associate Instructor at Rockford Equestrian Center
- 2001-2003 - Associate Instructor at a local hunter/jumper facility