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2023 in review: Lisa Fundis – “Respect is the basis of everything”

Friday, 29 December 2023

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Lisa Fundis with Philipp Weishaupt and Zineday at the FEI Jumping European Championship 2023 in Milan, where they finished with individual bronze. All photos © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.


Text © World of Showjumping



For the past eight years, Lisa Fundis has worked as Philipp Weishaupt’s show groom at Ludger Beerbaum’s yard in Riesenbeck, Germany – and for the whole team in Riesenbeck, 2023 was an exceptional year. “At every show, there was a lot of pressure, and we were always competing with the best horses and riders there is,” Lisa says as she reflects on 2023. “We try to support our horses and riders as much as possible at the shows, while the staff at home have to keep the horses happy and fit,” Lisa says about the big operation in Riesenbeck, where the show grooms from the team riders most of the time travel together. “There are so many people involved, not only those you see at the shows; we had huge support from home.” 

So many emotions 

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. “There are so many people involved," Lisa tells about the team in Riesenbeck.

“The year started great in Leipzig where Zineday jumped in his second World Cup with only a time fault and then we continued on to Doha,” Lisa tells. “The first week there, Ludger, Christian and Philipp were all placed in the Grand Prix, which was special.” 

However, Ludger Beerbaum then sustained a fracture to his thigh – which left him side-lined for much of the spring season. “Ludger’s accident was a huge shock for us, but in that moment, we really stayed together as a team, and we fought for each other,” Lisa explains. “His accident pushed us to our highest at the first LGCT of the season where Riesenbeck International won the team class, before Philipp won the Grand Prix with Just Be Gentle and Christian came second with Nice van’T Zorgvliet. I must say that I have never felt so many emotions in such a short time as that week in Doha.”

“As a team, we came home stronger than ever before,” Lisa continues. “But, then Philipp broke his leg and it all felt too much for me – I was already at The Dutch Masters, but just had to pack up and drive back home. It took a long time for Philipp to recover, so then Christian had to step in and do all the Globals. He and his show groom Sofie Karlsson did an amazing job, and we tried to support them as much as we could.”

Opting for grass arenas

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. "We were over the moon with his performance, which was one of the highlights of the year," Lisa tells about Zineday placing third in the Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen.

Instead of doing a smaller show as a comeback, Philipp returned from his injury in Hamburg in May. “With Coby, he was straight away placed in the five-star Grand Prix in Hamburg – which I think was quite a statement from both of them after such a break,” Lisa says. “Then we did La Baule and it was not our best show, but at that point I am sure Philipp was already planning for the Europeans – although he never mentioned it to me back then. However, I know him, and I had a feeling, since he kept searching for the grass arenas.” 

And then came Aachen… “When we were in Aachen, Philipp decided to jump the Rolex Grand Prix with Zineday - and I must admit that we had a discussion about it. From my side, I thought it was too early; Zineday is only nine, and we know how special he is. They jumped double clear and had one down in the jump-off, but there was never a second of disappointment – we were over the moon with his performance, which was one of the highlights of the year. Meanwhile, Christian and Sofie did well in Monaco, so there were many things happening at once, and emotions were running high. And then to top it off, Ludger decided to announce his retirement – which was a big surprise for all of us. There have been many people involved in his career but seeing how he and his groom Marie Johnson have worked together for nearly 40 years, is amazing.” 

We see when we get there 

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. “My way of thinking after all these years is seeing what happens once we are there, and to simply try our best,” Lisa tells about her approach to the many important events.

After placing third in the Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen, Philipp and Zineday were selected for the German team for the Longines FEI Jumping European Championships 2023 in Milan. “My way of thinking after all these years is seeing what happens once we are there, and to simply try our best,” Lisa tells about her approach to the many important events. “In Milan, we could not have asked for more. Zineday was outstanding and when you saw the podium with Steve [Guerdat], Philipp and Julien [Epaillard], that is in my eyes what top sport should look like. It was special to travel there with the team from Riesenbeck; with Eoin [McMahon], Mila and Heather, as well as Christian [Kukuk], Mumbai and Sofie. Ludger was there for us, and it felt like he was even more proud of everyone than ever before. We have been so happy to do the shows together, and for me, showing up as a team as we have done the whole year, is something I am very proud of.” 

With Eoin and Mila winning team silver with the Irish team and Philipp the individual silver, Team Beerbaum returned from Milan with two medals – only to continue to Riyadh and Prague to finish off the LGCT season on a high note. In Riyadh, Riesenbeck International was crowned the GCL Champions of the year, while Christian and Checker 47 won the LGCT Grand Prix, then moving on to Prague, Riesenbeck International went to the top in the GCL Super Cup. 

“I think we gathered any energy we had left from the year and put it all in this weekend in Prague,” Lisa says. “It was nice to share it with so many people; it was really a shared win.” 

Respect is the basis of everything

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ. "For us to stay together no matter what, supporting each other through the good and bad, that is what I wish for," Lisa says about the new year ahead.

“It is a miracle,” Lisa laughs when asked how the close-knit team in Riesenbeck handles the intense traveling and the pressure that comes with top-level competition, while at the same time getting along with each other. “I think it is the respect we have for each other and the work that we do,” she says. “I think that is the basis of everything. We know each other well enough to give everyone the space and time they need; you have to know when to listen, and when to speak up. Most of the time, everyone just needs someone to hear them out. We share our private lives as well and support each other in everything. It is a miracle it all works so well, but it makes me so, so happy.”

“We have big goals and big dreams, but we know that a season like this probably won’t happen again,” Lisa says about the new year ahead. “After all, we are Team Beerbaum; we are realistic. Most of all, I hope our team stays as strong as it is. Everything can change so fast, with horses being sold or someone getting injured – so much can happen. For us to stay together no matter what, supporting each other through the good and bad, that is what I wish for.” 


29.12.2023 No reproduction of any of the content in this article will be accepted without a written permission, all rights reserved © World of If copyright violations occur, a penalty fee will apply. 


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