The relieving news reached Ludger Beerbaum in the hospital in Doha. After more than a year, the disciplinary commission of the German Equestrian Federation (FN) has closed the proceedings against the 59-year-old show jumper. According to a TV report in the “RTL Extra” program, the commission had been investigating for several months whether unauthorized training methods had been used in the Beerbaum barn. She was unable to determine any violation of the rules.
“I see this as a clear acquittal,” commented the rider on Tuesday. “The whole procedure took far too long and this decision was foreseeable.” Beerbaum, who fell at a tournament in Qatar on Thursday and is therefore still in a clinic, said after the TV show had been broadcast: “The contribution by ‘RTL extra’ is demonstrably false, defamatory and defamatory in many respects.”
Beerbaum had to wait many months before the commission concluded: “There is no evidence that the horse was inflicted with significant pain in the video sequence underlying the procedure.” According to the TV report in January 2022 had there was initially a lot of fuss about Beerbaum, who was finally annoyed by the long wait for the result of the association examination.
The public prosecutor’s office in Münster was much faster. In September last year, she had already discontinued preliminary proceedings against the four-time Olympic champion on charges of a criminal offense under the Animal Welfare Act. The statement said there was insufficient suspicion.
RTL had shown secretly recorded videos in which Beerbaum allegedly trained show jumpers at his facility in Riesenbeck using the illegal method of the so-called parallel bars. The association then examined “only a single sequence” from the report, as the statement says. “In the other sequences, either the people involved could not be identified or there was no initial suspicion of a violation of the performance test regulations (LPO) from the filmed behavior.”
According to the announcement, FN legal advisor Constanze Winter said: “This was a legally very difficult case. The only question was whether the video sequence revealed a violation of the Performance Testing Regulations (LPO) and not whether the now banned method of touching was used as described in the guidelines.
The difference between touching and bars is complicated, the border is fluid. Touching, which is still permitted in January 2022, is “professional sensitization of the horse by specifically touching the horse’s legs during the jumping process”, as the rules say. If the bar is not only touched, but hit, it is called parallel bars. It was “difficult to convey where the limits are,” said FN Secretary General Soenke Lauterbach at the time.
To Beerbaum’s annoyance, the FN Secretary General also said: “In an initial assessment of the scenes, we came to the conclusion that parts of the documented events clearly do not correspond to our description of the touching. For example, a backswing can be seen before the touch bar touches the horse’s legs.”
Beerbaum, on the other hand, had asserted that it was not parallel bars and explained: “It is a matter of permitted touching, which was carried out by an experienced, experienced horse specialist.” Since the middle of the previous year, touching has also been forbidden in addition to parallel bars.