Ludger Beerbaum retires from the sport
Ludger Beerbaum. A name that has been more closely connected with the international equestrian sport for the past decades than hardly any other. A name, that is listed on countless winners’ boards worldwide. Today, the 59-year-old announced at the CHIO Aachen that he is ending his sporting career.
A legend leaves the stage. 40,000 spectators in the Main Stadium in Aachen paid witness to the official end of the sporting career of Ludger Beerbaum. A career that began in 1985 in Dublin, Ireland with his first appearance on the German Nations’ Cup team. He represented his country’s equipe 133 times and that was followed by an unbelievable 24 Championship appearances. His lifework: 20 international medals, of which 12 were gold, claiming individual Olympic gold in Barcelona in 1992 was the highlight. The Spanish metropolis was also the place where Ludger Beerbaum retired from the German Nations’ Cup team in 2016. However, he continued competing at international level. Until today. The Rolex Grand Prix at the CHIO Aachen, which he has taken part in an incredible 35 times, was to be his last class. That he had decided and picking up just four faults he impressively demonstrated his riding skills one last time.
A few years ago, the show-jumper already said he didn’t want to be competing at the age of 60. And then he added with a grin. “But I haven’t put that in writing.” Today, on July 2nd, 2023, a few weeks before his 60th birthday on August 26th, the time had come. And he couldn’t have chosen a better venue than the CHIO Aachen, the place that he associates with so many fantastic victories and emotions, for the last lap of honour for Germany’s most successful show-jumper of all time. Beerbaum won the Rolex Grand Prix on the Holy Grass three times and he won the Mercedes-Benz Nations’ Cup with the German team six times at the Soers. So, the sold-out Main Stadium made the perfect setting for the words that Ludger Beerbaum wanted to address to the audience, that had cheered him on over decades and carried him to huge accomplishments: “Aachen is unique. You have all carried me on to success for so many years with your enthusiasm and always stood by me through all my victories and defeats,” he said, whilst the applauding crowd all got up from their seats. And then Ludger Beerbaum thanked his sponsor, Madeleine Winter-Schulze, and his long-standing groom, Marie Johnson, “for everything”, before setting off on his final lap of honour and enjoying the so unique Aachen atmosphere that he had just mentioned beforehand: Standing ovations for a unique career and a sea of white handkerchiefs for a horseman that has written equestrian sport history in Germany.
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