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Ludger Beerbaum accused of welfare concern, plans to take legal action

Ludger Beerbaum (GER) and Chiara - © Lili Weik/FEI

Ludger Beerbaum (GER) and Chiara.

© Lili Weik/FEI


Ludger Beerbaum accused of welfare concern, plans to take legal action

By Equestrian Life

German Olympic showjumper Ludger Beerbaum says he plans to take legal action over a recently-aired TV report that alleges he took part in the illegal training practice known as ‘parallel bars’ (also known as ‘rapping’ or ‘barring’).

The report, aired by TV broadcaster RTL and promoted as a two-year project by an investigative journalist, shows footage of a rider labelled as Ludger Beerbaum taking part in the training practice - which is illegal under both the German Equestrian Federation and FEI rules.

Ludger Beerbaum has claimed the accusations are “demonstrably wrong” and the practice filmed was instead ‘touching’, which is permissible with the German Equestrian Federation.

“The welfare of the horses is the top priority for me and my team. Only a horse that is treated appropriately, professionally cared for and fed, trained and managed can achieve sporting performance. The horses are our capital, which we take care of day in and day out,” said Beerbaum via a statement.

“The scenes in the riding arena shown in the article have nothing to do with parallel bars. This is permitted touching, which was carried out by an experienced, experienced horse specialist. The object seen in the video met the requirements of the German Equestrian Federation for permissible touching: no longer than three meters and a maximum weight of two kilograms.

“The fact that the supposedly two year long “research” could only reveal four scenes showing the touching of a horse shows that this permitted training method is only used very rarely and is not part of our daily work.”

You can read Beerbaum’s full statement here.

The German Equestrian Federation (FN) have also released a statement, explaining they’d been contacted previously by RTL.

"As we expressed to RTL in 2020 and 2021, we take the allegations very seriously. This is precisely why we will carefully analyse the footage broadcast late Tuesday evening and then draw appropriate conclusions on how to proceed. In order to be able to make a serious assessment of the facts, the entire video and evidence material is required. We are therefore asking RTL again to make this fully available to us," said FN Secretary General Soenke Lauterbach.

The complete statement from the German Equestrian Federation can be found here.

Finally, the FEI has also released a statement on the matter.

“The FEI is aware of the allegations made in the documentary broadcast on RTL in Germany on 11 January 2022 and is making enquiries regarding the matter. We are already in touch with the German National Federation and will continue to liaise closely with them in order to assess the appropriate course of action.

“The welfare of the horse is central to everything that the FEI stands for and we strongly condemn all training methods and practices that are contrary to horse welfare.”

The FEI plans to release a further update once more information is available.

The FEI statement can be read in full here.






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