What a crazy final day of the 100th CSIO of Germany: In the press conference at noon show director Peter Hofmann had just expressed his happiness about the moderate weather conditions for Saturday’s Nations Cup and the Gala Evening, when after the first half of the 300,000 Euro Grand Prix of Mannheim heavy rain showers and stormy winds broke into the MVV Equestrian stadium like the Mannheim region has not seen them for many years.
The competition with 48 starters had to be interrupted. No fence was upright anymore. In some of the tents the water had come in through the ceiling. The hardest effected was the exhibition area. The stable tents stayed fortunately completely unaffected. After one hour the competition could be continued and most of the 7,000 spectators had stayed in the stadium. As fourth to the last competitor of the initial round over the by Christa Jung designed course Ludger Beerbaum secured himself the 15th and last starting place in the jump-off aboard the Holstein mare Chiara, with whom he had achieved the only double clear round for the third-placed German team in the Nations Cup on Saturday.
In the decisive round the for the Ukraine starting, German-born Katharina Offel took the lead aboard the stallion Zipper with a clear round in 43.66 seconds as fourth starter. But, victory fixed the last two riders of the jump-off among each other: First took the US 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, the lead from Offel in clear 42.73 seconds. Then, came Ludger Beerbaum and rode with Chiara the – as he said later – the probably best jump-off in their common career. The time stopped at 41.61 seconds – the spectators went mad!
A German victory was totally what they liked this outstanding event to finish with! For the internationality of the class stands also the riders covering the next places in the result list: Fourth place went to Swiss rider Paul Estermann and Lord Pepsi, who had opened the jump-off in clear 47.06 seconds. Fifth became Egypt’s Abdel Said aboard Vingino (0/48.25), sixth Switzerland’s Niklaus Rutschi aboard Windsor XV (4/41.41). Ludger 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. I had still been able to watch Beezie’s ride and it gave me some additional adrenalin push".
Beezie Madden was enthusiastic, how fast the water would have vanished from the arena’s footing, "As I went into the arena 14 or 15 starters after the competition had been restarted, I did not recognize anything anymore of the heavy rains. I am very happy how Cortes C has jumped today, after he had done three rounds yesterday. In the jump-off not everything went fluently, especially not before the double combination, but I am satisfied with the outcome".
Katharina Offel was happy to be on the podium together with Ludger Beerbaum and Beezie 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. So I am very happy that I was granted an individual starting place by Peter Hofmann".
The special thanks of Peter Hofmann went to the City of Mannheim, which gave the name to the Grand Prix and was represented by its First Major Christian Specht, as well for its financial as for its ideal support, and to Christa Jung. On the work of the German course designer he could trust in for almost three decades and who would have achieved extra-ordinary performances together with her team already throughout the four CSIO days before the heavy rains and storms would have come and who would had made it possible that after just 45 minutes the competiton could have been continued.
Results of Grand Prix of Mannheim:
1. Ludger Beerbaum (GER) / Chiara, 0 faults in the jump-off/41.61 seconds
2. Elizabeth Madden (USA) / Cortes C, 0/42.73
3. Katharina Offel (UKR) / Zipper, 0/43.66; 4. Paul Estermann (SUI) / Lord Pepsi, 0/47.06
5. Abdel Said (EGY) / Vingino, 0/48.25
6. Niklaus Rutschi (SUI) / Windsor XV, 4/41.41. For more information visit www.csio2015.de/en/