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Ludger Beerbaum: “I hope that Riesenbeck International can be a platform for all the sport’s stakeholders – both to perform and network”

Tuesday, 14 July 2020
Interview

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping
Ludger Beerbaum. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

 

Text © World of Showjumping

 


 

Ludger Beerbaum is doing his part in helping the jumping industry to get back on track in post-lockdown times. In August, he opens the doors at his own state-of-the-art Riesenbeck International for two CSI2* events. Cautiously optimistic, the German legend believes that the industry will recover eventually – but that time, and willingness to live with uncertainty, is needed.

"I do think it will take a while to get back to where we were,” Beerbaum says when asked about how he thinks the Covid-19 pandemic will affect the equestrian industry long-term. “I don’t think there are any clear answers to it, there are so many different scenarios, but no one knows anything for certain at this stage. And while the industry is recovering, I think we have to be aware that there are a lot of open bills that have to be met.”

"In Germany we were really lucky, we never had a lockdown as severe as for example the Italians, Spanish and French had," Beerbaum continues. "It was – and still is – a new experience for everyone, and I think that what we have to learn to live with is the uncertainty. We have to learn to live with the virus and deal with the different scenarios; it might not disappear completely, it can mutate, there can be a vaccine – or not, we just don’t know. So, I believe we need to learn to live with this situation and adapt our mindset to the virus’ presence.”

"Perhaps something positive will come out of this, but for me, it is too early for wishful thinking," Beerbaum continues. "At the end of the day, I think we as equestrians are lucky as we have a sport where we work close to nature. Maybe we will not travel around the world as much as before, probably we are going see less shows in the calendar and jump for less prize money – but in general I do believe it will all be sorted out. It will take time, but it will be ok,” Beerbaum says.

In an attempt to help the industry back on its feet, Beerbaum and his team at Riesenbeck International will be hosting two consecutive weeks of CSI2* events from August 13 to 23rd. "There are different ways to look at it," Beerbaum explains about his motives behind these events. "As a rider, it is an opportunity to keep going – to get the up-and-coming horses as well as the older horses out showing again. Even though everyone surely has their individual goals and motivation, I do believe that at the moment it is actually just about keeping the horses in form. From an organizer’s perspective, hosting these events is also about keeping the wheels in the industry turning. It is clear that it is not about making money – not at all – not for anyone, not at this point in time," Beerbaum says. 

"Having the venue – with two grass arenas, three sand arenas and two big indoors – and the possibilities, as we are now allowed to organize events on a smaller scale, I believe it would be a shame not to do it," Beerbaum continues. "I have my team working here in Riesenbeck, and I hope we can offer a good service to the industry. I hope that Riesenbeck International can be a platform for all the sport’s stakeholders – both to perform and network. It is a venue for training, getting results, developing both horses and riders as well as meeting people, watching horses and scouting.”

At first, Beerbaum was concerned that organising events would be difficult. “However, by now it has been proven that it is absolutely doable," he says. "You just have to respect the Covid-19 protocols. Now in the summer we are still outside, which makes it easier – how it will be in the indoors in the winter, I don't know. I was more concerned before any events started, now that there has been a few, I am not so worried anymore." 

As to his expectations for his own events in August, Beerbaum says: " I hope for good sport, which I think we are guaranteed to have as I am not worried about the quality of the horses and riders that will be present. And while we won’t have a big public, I hope everyone will enjoy following our live stream.”

 

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