Ludger Berbaum: The contest has changed
German rider Ludger Berbaum is one of the leaders of the world show jumping for the past 20 years. In 2000, he gave an unexpectedly detailed interview, showing that he was not just an athlete, but also a philosopher, able to clearly, accurately and intelligibly express his ideas and thoughts. In this extensive interview with Chris Hector, Ludger spoke about the main changes that have occurred in sports over the past two decades.
Let’s start with the horses …
“Of course, the type of horses has changed. I remember my first competitions back in 1975-1976. Then the first appearances on the international scene in the 85th … And now, after twenty years, we already have other horses with a much larger purebred share. We have lighter horses in terms of constitution, which are easier to manage. This is a rather long process in horse breeding, but I am glad that development has gone exactly in this direction. We have more and more people, especially in Europe, involved in show jumping, and more and more people are just riding. Over the past 15 years, women have become especially involved in this. Twenty years ago, there were not so many women riders, because they could not control large and heavy horses. This is another reason why light bloody horses are becoming more common. ”
“We are still using our warm-blooded base. We do not breed purebred horses, but we are pouring more and more of their blood. ”
Do you use more french blood?
“Not more. Sometimes it happens, for example, now I have the French Champ de Lys. Once I saw him at a competition, and I liked him. I bought it because I was impressed with its jumping abilities, but not because it was a French horse. I thought that I needed a French horse to breed to my German uterus, but this is secondary. Yes, I tested it as a manufacturer for three years, and it looks quite successful. I got a couple of pretty good foals. They are of good type and tall enough, although the stallion itself is medium-sized and light. But here with German mares, especially where we live in Westphalia, the manufacturing base has a slightly older style. I think this stallion got to the right breeding place. ”
How do you feel about the claims that French horses are bad in mouth and difficult to handle?
“I don’t think there are bad and good mouths. I do not understand such a term. I think it’s more correct to talk about physique. If the horse is folded correctly and strong, 95-98%, that everything will be fine with the mouth. Exceptions are problems with teeth or something like that. If the horse has exterior defects or is not strong enough, this, of course, is reflected in the mouth. Also, if the horse is pinched in the back, it is tense in the mouth. I think French horses have a slight problem in this regard. The French are not sufficiently attentive to the aspects of horse formation. They put into business everything that has some kind of pedigree. ”
“In Germany, especially in Hanover, the material is very critical. The selection is carried out in two and a half years. And if the young growth is not good enough, strong, then they will not be taken for further breeding. I believe that the best horses are produced in Hanover. In the northern regions, working with the Holstein breed, they do not impose so strict requirements on the exterior, so there is much more French blood in this breed. As a result, most of these horses are difficult to manage, they have problems with innervation, mouth. Their hind legs are too straight and they have hoof problems. ”
(Goldfever – Hanoverian stallion)
Has the training process changed due to a change in the type of horse?
“With the current development of sports, route construction has changed a lot. Everything has become a little technical and easier. Now you will not meet such massive solid obstacles that were 15-20 years ago. If you watch the video of Aachen now and twenty years ago, you will see incredible changes. No more huge oxers with bushes. Now these are just light poles that horses drop with a light touch. Horses began to move much faster. Before the era of driving control routes, the distance between the barriers was just 3.4.5 paces. Now in a different way. After the jump, they travel 16 meters to the next barrier (Note: This is an extremely inconvenient distance of 3.5 gallop), then the next obstacle is 15 meters … This changed the work with horses. Riding more and more “on my own”, speed has become a significant factor than it was before. Previously, the main goal was to clear the route. Now it is also important, but now you still need to be faster than your rivals and make sharp turns. This is done for consumers of shows – television, media, crowds – they do not want to watch 15 times just a purely covered route. They want an exciting sight. Therefore, in daily work, you have to work on the handling of the horse. New lightweight horses are more manageable. You no longer need strong iron, you no longer need short martingales.