In Memoriam: Hans-Heinrich Isenbart (GER)

Hans-Heinrich Isenbart (GER), who will be remembered by many as “the voice of equestrian sport” in Germany, passed away on 25 December 2011 at the age of 88.  He was born on 5 February 1923 in Vienna (AUT) into a family that had a passion for horses going back generations. As a young man he had wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and become an army officer, but his Jewish origins meant that career was denied to him in the Germany of the 1930s and 40s. He later studied law and passed his exams to become a riding instructor.

After World War II, he worked as a journalist for German broadcaster NDR, covering political and economic issues, and later took over sport coordination at ARD in Munich, where he remained until his retirement in 1987.

One of the highlights of his career in television was doing the live commentary on the equestrian competitions at the 1956 Olympic Games in Stockholm. From then on he was present at nearly all the major equestrian events, including one of the biggest and most popular horse shows in the world, CHIO Aachen (GER). For all almost 60 years, “the voice of equestrian sport” continued to commentate at events and speak at seminars and congresses. Hans-Heinrich also wrote books and even made a film on horses.

Hans-Heinrich Isenbart’s funeral was held on 10 January in the Niedersachsenhalle indoor arena in Verden (GER) where, during his long career, he had been a Master of Ceremony at many gala evenings and had commentated numerous horse shows. Nearly 700 mourners attended the emotional service.

Hans-Heinrich Isenbart will always be remembered for his great eloquence, but also for his life-long dedication to horse welfare. His famous words at the end of every single broadcast were, “Und vergessen Sie die Pferde nicht!” (And don’t forget the horses!)

The FEI expresses its sincere condolences to the family and friends of Hans-Heinrich Isenbart, to the German Equestrian Federation, and the German equestrian community.

Photo caption: Hans-Heinrich Isenbart (GER), “the voice of equestrian sport” in Germany, passed away at the age of 88.