Spitzensport und „ein bisschen Heimspiel-Feeling“

July 21. 2023

Ludger Beerbaum and Karsten Lütteken on the development of their equestrian center

Top sport and "a certain home game feeling"


"The sporting side is absolutely in the foreground," emphasized the host of Riesenbeck International, Ludger Beerbaum, at the start of the weekend. With the Longines Global Champions Tour leg and parallel two- and three-star tours as well as the U25 German Championships - there will undoubtedly be enough on offer for the spectators in sporting terms. The latter were already plentiful on Thursday. This, in combination with the first very positive feedback, makes Ludger Beerbaum and RI Managing Director Karsten Lütteken optimistic. "But I'm a bit humble there, let's hope that everything continues to go so well until Sunday evening," says Ludger Beerbaum.


Around 400 horses have moved into their stalls at the facility. 312 permanent stalls were built in 2021 for the European Show Jumping Championships, an event that Beerbaum and Lütteken say is a milestone on the way to hosting a Longines Global Champions Tour leg this weekend. A further 100 stalls are located in stable tents, which can withstand adverse weather conditions thanks to a grid in the floor.


Many of the concepts and adjustments to the infrastructure tested at the 2021 European Championships are also proving useful this weekend. In addition to the six stables with more than 300 boxes, there is the construction of a plateau around the 1.3-hectare grass stadium. "Two years ago, we built a concrete edge around the grass stadium with a plateau and thus raised grandstands and standing room. For the spectators, this offers a much better view of the sporting action than standing on the rail right next to a big jump," explains Karsten Lütteken, in Riesenbeck managing director and tournament director in personal union. Truck roads, electrical and water lines for stands and the VIP area were further additions to the infrastructure that are now paying off again.


Among other things, the sporting events will be accompanied by live broadcasts, in addition to the streaming providers ClipMyHorse.TV and Global Champions Tour TV, as well as by linear television. Westdeutscher Rundfunk will broadcast the second round of the Longines Global Champions League on Saturday and the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix on Sunday live on television. For Karsten Lütteken, this is "yet another special distinction," since linear television can sometimes reach a completely different audience. Lütteken knows that the Longines Global Champions Tour is also fully on board. Broadcasts by national broadcasters are a concern for the show jumping series at every stage.


The Longines Global Champions Tour, which always takes place at five-star level, is viewed critically from some quarters. Points such as the allocation of starting places and prize money are often the subject of this criticism. For Ludger Beerbaum, on the other hand, the concept offers opportunities, opportunities for the globalization of equestrian sport: "Thank goodness that series like this have established themselves in the last two decades, which also offer many other riders outside the Western nations the chance to ride at five-star level." In fact, riders from six continents and 19 countries compete in Riesenbeck in the Longines Global Champions Tour alone. Their tournament calendar could also include Riesenbeck in the summer for the next two years. The location is secured as a leg of the show jumping series until 2025, with an option to extend.


Ludger Beerbaum and Karsten Lütteken make no secret of who they will be particularly rooting for in terms of sport this weekend. "I think it would be great if we could manage to create a certain home game feeling here. It is a special feature of the whole structure of the Global Champions League that there is a real home team. It makes the League exciting that the best riders come together in teams, without question. But the situation that tomorrow three riders from Riesenbeck, who live in Riesenbeck, who go to the bakery here and to the ice cream parlor, that they are riding for Riesenbeck in Riesenbeck, that really feels like a real home match for us," says Karsten Lütteken and Ludger Beerbaum agrees with him: "I'll sign it like that."


The U25 German Show Jumping Championships in Riesenbeck can also fit seamlessly into the overall concept, explains Karsten Lütteken: "I find the connection to the Global Champions League, where U25 riders are also part of the teams, a super connection. But I also find the whole range, not only the U25 competitions but also the smaller international show jumping competitions exciting, and that is what distinguishes Riesenbeck. We would like to present the best sport in the world in the main stadium if possible, but are still open to all other performance, age classes, and that should also reflect the year-round importance of this equestrian center."


With this diverse program, the organizers hope to welcome several thousand spectators to the Riesenbeck International facility in the coming days.