Ludger Beerbaum Ludger Beerbaum dominates at the Hermès Grand Prix

Ludger Beerbaum Ludger Beerbaum dominates at the Hermès Grand Prix

The Kaiser came, saw and conquered! But a princess almost stole the show. Luger Beerbaum’s goal was very clear at the Grand Palais this year; he wanted to make his mark at the Saut Hermès.

That goal meant winning the Grand Prix, “one of the most prestigious Grand Prix on the circuit, if not the most prestigious,” pointed out the German rider. The most successful rider on the circuit is at a point in his career where he is putting the finishing touches to his amazing record by seeking to add certain illustrious titles that have so far eluded him. At the Grand Palais, he had entered just one horse, Chaman, and he only arrived yesterday to allow his fanciful stallion to get used to the specific environment of the venue’s noble glass – roofed nave. Today, he moved onto the serious business. The first step was to surmount the thirteen obstacles and sixteen difficulties of the initial course.

Along with thirteen other riders, he succeeded in doing this with no problems, since the course was not overly difficult. So the jump – off had some serious contenders, with fourteen riders in total. The danger could come from anywhere! Hence his delight, after winning the class with a textbook round: “I was really pleased with the way the horse jumped today, and the way I rode. I felt as if the horse and I were one. When we are on the same wavelength, it’s a bit like slalom skiing where the transition from one gate to another is really smooth. When the horse is so receptive and responsive, everything becomes easy. Winning is one thing, but to win like that, with a feeling of total empathy, is something that does not happen every day. I’m really happy.”

While Beerbaum is an old hand on the circuit (the rider with the most wins since his Olympic title in 1998), his challenger, Reed Kessler, is thirty years younger. Thirty years less experience. She took part in her first Olympics last year, at the age of 18. A truly precocious talent! The young American rider and her Olympic mare Cylana were just two tenths of a second from creating an amazing surprise. It all came down to a bad distance coming out of a corner; some thing that Reed quickly rectified with incredible aplomb and control by adding a stride. It was that extra stride that cost her victory, but Reed Kessler amazed the Parisian public with her performance. “Second place is still fantastic and, particularly, it gives me confidence for the World Cup final in two weeks.

My mare has been jumping all winter in the large arena in Palm Beach, so this was about getting her used to a smaller space, which is what it will be like in Göteborg. This performance at the Grand Palais has allowed me to find my marks.” A highly pertinent and professional analysis; indeed, the French public discovered a truly great rider on Sunday afternoon at the Grand Palais.

Categories: News, Show Jumping