In an exclusive interview, German show jumping legend and four-time Olympic Gold medallist Ludger Beerbaum talks about the extraordinary level of the competition on the Longines Global Champions Tour and gives a rare insight into his personal life. The show jumping superstar, only weeks away from his 51st birthday, reveals a surprise twist to one of his Olympic medal-winning performances and what he looks for in a great show jumping horse.
Speaking at the press conference after picking up a Bronze medal in the Longines Global Champions Tour of Valkenswaard Grand Prix presented by Qatar, Ludger said: “I really enjoy coming here, I have also been coming here two decades so I have seen the development here and it is great to see, respect to Jan and his team. They are improving every year, this year with the new stable area the facilities are unbelievable, and I have said that before and I stick to it. I like the atmosphere and it is a horseman’s show.”
Ludger goes on to comment on his first Olympic Gold win in Barcelona where he took a daring turn in the final round to win the medal: “To be really honest now, I did it by mistake! It wasn’t the plan. The time was very tight. In the morning there was a big storm, and I was drawn in the second half. If I had been in the first half I would have been stuck! The arena was underwater and I would have been like Jos Lansink whose horse stopped. I went in the second half of the draw when the sun was out and the ground was nice and I could jump my clear round…then in the second round a lot of riders had time faults and it really wound me up. I thought to myself take the first distance don’t wait! I shocked myself at the approach I took!”
Ludger also talks about his decision to postpone his planned retirement in 2012 after he missed the Olympics: “I had a nasty fall with Gotha in the German Championships and I decided not to jump her for a few months because she was a bit scared still and then I didn’t really want to finish like that so I signed up for another four years.” It’s not just the horses that have to be kept fit! “I have to keep fit now, I watch what I eat and I don’t drink. I run two three times a week. What you ask of the horse you should also be able to deliver yourself.”
Quelle: Longines Global Champions Tour of Valkenswaard
Foto: Stefano Grasso/Longines Global Champions Tour