More than just a jumping rider
Even though one could read in the Gazet and the Republic that Ludger Beerbaum learned to ride on a donkey, we want to put away the pretty fairy tales, and honor the truth. “The Donkey did exist. He was at Count Metternich’s stable in Adelebsen, but I sat on him less than three times” Says Ludger Beerbaum.
The truth about the start of the world’s most successful active rider in the world is not bad either: His father Horst wanted his eight year old son to start taking riding lessons in the local riding school. Unfortunately he was afraid, and didn’t want to ride. He has a friend to thank that he did finally start riding, the friend took him with him to the stable after school, and quickly those fears subsided. His talent soon became apparent. Ludger began his career through a foundation which worked out just right for him. Together with the talented mare Wetteifernde, he based himself with the late Herman Schridde, who regrettably died too young, and then Paul Schockemöhle. Both stables were decisive factors in his unequalled career.
He won four Olympic gold medals, and more German national titles than any other rider. In the Olympic games there were many dramatic moments. In 1988 he won with the team riding on a borrowed horse (The Freak), after his horse, Landlord had injured himself. In 1992 he had to jump off his horse Classic Touch at a full gallop because a rein had broken. On the next day he won the Olympic individual gold medal. In 1996 the German team won, and Ludger had great chances at another individual gold with Ratina Z, but just before the individual final, she came up lame. In 1997 the pair clinched the win at the European Championships in both the individual and team competitions. In the year 2000 Ludger rode Godfever at the Olympic games in Sydney, however they earned a drop score in both rounds.
Then in 2004 Ludger hit rock bottom, and the pair was catapulted out of the competition due to the cream Soderm, containing 1 mg Betamethasone, which was used to treat Goldfever’s mud fever. It would have been one further team gold medal for Germany. This cream is now permitted for use at competitions. In 2008 the team came home from Hong Kong empty handed. As Ludger returned, a huge debate began on doping, and what medications should be allowed or prohibited. As always, Ludger spoke openly about his views. He believed the rules and standards must be unified worldwide. He also said that things that were allowed in the past have been rightly banned. He stood and continues to stand by these statements, despite heavy criticism of what were termed by some as a ‘doping confession’. He also campaigns for the riders rights in the ‘International Jumping Riders Club’ To win for one’s self is nice, but what Ludger Beerbaum has recently enjoyed is training other riders.
Since 2015 he has found a further field of interest. Together with Freiherr Constantin Heereman he has built a large riding center, and home of Riesenbeck International. Here there will be Competitions, clinics, and seminars offered. Ludger Beerbaum wishes to pass along his knowledge, and as always with a focus on the wellbeing of the horse. The company Ludger Beerbaum Producte GmbH was founded in May of 2015 for this reason, and to produce concentrated feeds, and nutritional supliments that will be sold under the brand name "Ludger's." That is his greatest concern. Ludger is never happy when his day is not completely full. He takes care of his riders and horses, deals in successful jumping horses, has a large and successful stud, is concerned with the rights of his colleagues, and is always popular with the media.
Together with Swiss watchmaker Longines and CEO of Beijing Dashing Equestrian Cultural CO Ltd. Jing Li, Ludger is initiator of Longines World Equestrian Academy. This academy aims at promoting the equestrian discipline of show jumping in China by teaching best practice to professionals working in this sport through a whole program designed by Ludger Beerbaum and implemented by a team of experts under his supervision
Luckily, this busy rider always has his family close by; his beautiful home is on property of the stable. Ludger values this private sphere. Here, he can charge his batteries with his grown-up son Alexander, his two young daughters Cecilia and Mathilde and his step-daughter Vivien. His partner, the British born Arundell Davison, has everything well and truly in hand.