Update 3/1/19: It was initially reported that at least four horses died in the early morning fire at Gestüt Erlenhof, the Rothenberger family farm in Bad Homburg, Germany. The family has since confirmed that five horses perished, including: Paso Doble, Sanneke's former junior mount; Kid Gentleman, on whom Sönke learned show jumping; the promising young mare Fayola; the stallion Zum Glück; and a Swedish young rider's pony. Additionally, Sönke's mares Luna and Cantata are in critical condition having suffered severe burns.
The family posted the following note of thanks in a statement on their website:
Thanks to Sanni, who has suffered burns on the thigh and a slight smoke poisoning, because she thought only of the horses and not of herself. To Sönke, who also suffered slight burns on his face, but suffers much more because he could not do more. To our stable staff, who returned to the stable immediately after a short health check in the clinic to help. To our family, to the many friends who immediately helped without question. To the veterinarians who took care of our horses. And last but not least, the police forces and the fire brigade, who have done everything they can to stop the horror.
We can not put it into words yet, so at the moment one thing must be enough: THANK YOU!
2/28/19: The equestrian community is reeling from the news of an early morning fire at the Rothenberger family farm in Bad Homburg, Germany.
Just after 6 a.m. today, a fire of unknown origin broke out at the family’s stable, Gestüt Erlenhof. Sönke Rothenberger and his sister, Sanneke, were notified of the fire by a dog barking and worked together with the fire department, which arrived quickly on the scene, to rescue as many horses as possible.
According to a local report, over 30 horses were in the barn at the time. Many were removed from their stalls while others escaped into the woods. Sönke’s World Equestrian Games and Olympic mount Cosmo is among those saved. Sadly, at least four horses were lost to the flames and several others were injured. The names of the perished horses have not yet been released.
Bei einem Brand auf dem bekannten Gestüt Erlenhof in Bad Homburg sind vier Pferde gestorben. Sie hätten den Großteil ihres Lebenswerkes verloren, teilten die Besitzer mit. Olympiapferd Cosmo konnte aber gerettet werden. Der Schaden geht in die Millionen.https://t.co/8lfrL8EeaI— hessenschau (@hessenschau) February 28, 2019
Sanneke was hospitalized for smoke inhalation but is said to be doing well.
Sven and Gonnelien Rothenberger along with their daughter Semmieke were away at CDI Lier in Belgium when the fire occurred. They returned home to devastation, including the collapse of their large indoor school and several other buildings destroyed.
“It is already clear that we have lost a large part of our life’s work: our riding hall, our stable, several young horses and retired horses,” the family stated. They also asked for privacy during this difficult time.
Our hearts go out to the Rothenberger family. We wish them strength and healing in the wake of such a tragedy.
Photo by Shannon Brinkman.
Written by Leslie Threlkeld
Having grown up on horseback, Leslie Threlkeld, Managing Editor at NOËLLE FLOYD, treasures her career in the equestrian industry as a writer, photographer, and eventing technical delegate. Leslie thrives on frequent travel but never tires of returning home to the serene mountains of North Carolina.