What a crazy final day of the 100th CSIO of Germany: in the press conference at noon on Sunday, show director Peter Hofmann expressed his happiness about the moderate weather conditions the show had enjoyed for Saturday’s Nations Cup and the Gala evening that followed. But come Sunday, heavy rain showers and stormy winds broke into the MVV Equestrian stadium halfway into the €300,000 Grand Prix CSI5* of Mannheim. It was weather like the Mannheim region has not seen for many years.
The competition of 48 starters had to be put on hold, as every fence in the arena blew over during the storm. The hardest effected was the exhibition area, where water came in through the ceiling of some of the tents. Fortunately, the stable tents stayed completely unaffected, and ater one hour the competition was restarted, with most of the 7,000 hardy German spectators still in attendance in the stadium.
As fourth to the last competitor of the initial round over the Christa Jung-designed course, Ludger Beerbaum secured himself the 15th and last starting place in the jump-off aboard the Holsteiner mare Chiara (Contender x Coronado), with whom he had achieved the only double clear round for the third-placed German team in the Nations Cup on Saturday.
German-born Ukraine rider Katharina Offel took the early lead aboard the stallion Zipper with a clear round in 43.66 seconds, but the victory narrowed down to the last two riders of the jump-off. American rider Beezie Madden and the Belgian gelding Cortes ‘C’, who had saved victory for their team the day before in the jump-off of the Nations Cup, took over the lead from Offel in a clear 42.73 seconds. Then, came Beerbaum with Chiara to lay down – as he said later –probably the best jump-off of their career. When the time stopped at 41.61 seconds the spectators went mad! A German victory was everything they wanted after an outstanding event and a very unusual day.
Then, came Beerbaum with Chiara to lay down – as he said later –probably the best jump-off of their career.
Offel finished in 3rd, and 4th place went to Swiss rider Paul Estermann and Lord Pepsi, who had opened the jump-off in clear 47.06 seconds. Fifth went to Egypt’s Abdel Said aboard Vingino, and 6th to Switzerland’s Niklaus Rutschi aboard Windsor XV.
Beerbaum stated in the press-conference that he would have had the right pants’ on today and would already have been lucky with his starting place at the end of the starting list, before the competition would have started. But, as well in the first round, when not everything would have been perfect yet.
“It was for me, of course, a big advantage that I could compete as last starter in the jump-off,” Beerbaum said. “I was able to watch Beezie’s ride and it gave me the motivation to go for it.”
Madden, a veteran of sudden storms and heavy rainfall creating adverse riding conditions
“It was for me, of course, a big advantage that I could compete as last starter in the jump-off,”
during the Florida winter circuit, praised the recovery of the Mannheim arena.
“As I went into the arena 14 or 15 starters after the competition had been restarted, I didn’t see any trace of the heavy rains,” she said. “I am very happy how Cortes C jumped today, especially after he had done three rounds yesterday. In the jump-off not everything went smoothly, especially not before the double combination, but I am happy with the outcome.“
Offel was happy to be on the podium together with Beerbaum and Madden. “I like already for many years to come for the Mannheim May Market Horse Shows, and the Ukraine would have liked to compete with a team in the CSIO, but this was not possible,” She said. “So I am very happy that I was granted an individual starting place by Peter Hofmann.“
The special thanks of Hofmann went to the City of Mannheim, which gave the name to the Grand Prix and was represented by its First Major Christian Specht, and to Christa Jung. He has worked with the German course designer for nearly three decades and the extraordinary course building of Jung and her team throughout the four CSIO days before the heavy rains and storms made it possible that after just 45 minutes the competition continued and culminated in a fantastic end to the weekend.
See full results of the €300,000 Grand Prix CSI5* of Mannheim at this link.