In the final of the Grand Tour, the Grand Prix of Riesenbeck, Sophie Hinners once again showed what she is made of. The 25-year-old won the international CSI** jumping competition over a 1.45-meter course after a jump-off with the 12-year-old gelding Beryl de Pres (0/39.33). Second place went to Ludger Beerbaum's stable rider, Philipp Hartmann on Cool Feeling (0/40.70). Third place went to Josch Löhden (0741.66) Eleven of the 40 starter pairs had remained clear after a demanding round.
Sophie Hinners had already won the main jumping competition at the start of the tournament on Thursday and was seventh in the advanced (S) level jumping competition of the Grand Tour on Friday. Janne Friederike Meyer-Zimmermann was seventh on Thursday, on the final Saturday she finished fourth in the Grand Prix on the eleven-year-old mare Cornela after the jump-off.
The two riders Sophie Hinners and Janne Friederike Meyer-Zimmermann have more in common than their respective blond ponytails. Both come from the far north - Vierden in Lower Saxony and Hamburg - both have a husband/life partner who comes from southern Germany. The men of the two are known as a rider and horse trader (Richard Vogel/Sophie) and as a former rider and horse trader (Christoph Zimmermann/Janne). Both men are supported in their activities by their extremely successful female partners in the jumping saddle.
The 42 year old Janne-Friederike Meyer-Zimmermann can already look back on a brilliant international career: Team Gold at the World Equestrian Games (2010) and the European Championships in 2011, German Ladies Champion in 2006 - and the highly prestigious victory in the Grand Prix of Aachen in 2011.
Sophie Hinners is only 25 years old. For some time now, she has been praised as the greatest talent by the entire squad of top international riders, always with the appreciative addendum: "very hard-working, extremely nice, reserved and grounded." Her patron and co-owner of several horses, Dutchman Emile Hendrix, is pleased: "I've been really lucky with Sophie." Her most important successes so far are victories at EEF Nations Cups with the team, second place at the German Masters in Stuttgart 2022.
Between two jumping competitions in Riesenbeck, the riders find time for a conversation.
Sophie: What can you learn or copy from Janne-Friederike?
Sophie: Maybe that as a woman you also have the same opportunities and can be successful in sport. And that family and show jumping can go hand in hand, right up to the top of the world. After the birth of her son, Janne quickly found her feet again and is a very good example for women my age, who at some point also want to start a family and continue to pursue top equestrian sport.
Janne-Friederike: What would you recommend to Sophie regarding her future career?
Janne: I think she is on the right track. She consistently shows good rounds with different horses. She doesn't need any tips from me to continue this. The only thing I would like to tell her is that things always go up and down in life as in sport. If it comes to this, she should continue like this and be patient. I am convinced that Sophie will make her way.
They start this weekend here in Riesenbeck. Both of you have already been guests here several times. Why did you choose this tournament?
Janne: Because the conditions here are very good. We have two stallions with us that are used for breeding. I need solid boxes that are high enough. Another horse of mine is a bit anxious on the warm-up arena. That's why I appreciate the stalls outside. I also don't worry about the horses not being able to rest. It's all thought out here.
Sophie: I chose this tournament, where I always super enjoy riding, as preparation for Neumünster. The final of the Riders Tour will take place there. Janne is in the lead, I am in second place. The first three places will each win a car. It would be great if the two of us were there.
Is there a tournament in your 2023 calendar that you definitely want to participate in?
Janne: Yes. At our own tournament at Hof Waterkant, where we will of course also be at the start. Apart from that, I have several goals. The World Cup Final in Omaha, then I look forward to Hamburg every year and the CHIO Aachen.
Sophie: My biggest goal is to be able to ride at the CHIO in Aachen again. I was already allowed to compete in the Grand Tour once in 2021. Aachen is the favorite tournament of almost all riders. If our stable with Richie, David (Richard Vogel, David Will) and me were there, that would be super. Both of you have been in the business professionally for some time, have trained and successfully presented horses that have then been sold. How do you deal with this emotionally? Does it get easier the more horses leave the stable?
Janne: We live from the fact that horses have to be sold. You know that from the start. If you can keep a horse because you bred it yourself or because it has belonged to you since you were young, then that is more of an isolated case. Many owners or breeders entrust us with their horse and give it to us to market. Then I feel it is a privilege to train and present a good horse, in order to be able to give it into top hands. That then has priority and I am in charge. If I know that, it's okay. But of course it is not easy to give away a horse that you have grown together with.
Sophie: It's not easy with any horse when it leaves the stable and you mourn after it. But on the other hand, I grew up with it, it was part of it from an early age. That's our business. I'm happy when I get to ride horses that I can improve and that other people then want to have. It's a confirmation of my work when it also goes well under another rider. As Janne said, it's a privilege. And when a horse leaves, a new one comes into the stable. It's this challenge, always adjusting to new tasks, getting to know new characters, that I enjoy.
Is there such a thing as a women's network for getting support in equestrian sports? Or does the much-vaunted equality of the sexes actually take place in equestrian sports?
Janne: There is no such thing as a ladies' network. Not that I know of. Until the birth of our son, I would also have thought that equality, which is after all a unique selling point in our sport, existed. But we reached our limits when it came to maternity leave. That's why it was all the more important that we founded EqualEquest (initiative for more equality in sports). This will also help the next generation - perhaps Sophie too one day, when she thinks about family planning.
Sophie: I'm not aware of any network either. You have girlfriends at the tournament who stick together. With Janne and Jessica von Bredow-Werndl, I only realized that the maternity leave rule was not fair. I hope that one day I can benefit from what Janne has fought for and that there will be justice for mothers in the future.
All results here.