Allegations of Poling at Ludger Beerbaum’s

RTL investigative reporters suggest poling at Beerbaum’s. A marketing intern gathered evidence of prickled and square poles being used.

The German Equestrian Association (FN) has condemned the training methods for showjumping horses shown in an RTL report.

“Already now, regardless of the contribution shown, we can clearly say that the use of square bars as well as dotted or stingled rod material is unacceptable and does not comply with the principles of fair equestrian sport,” said FN Secretary General Soenke Lauterbach in a statement published later that night by the association.

I don’t speak German, relying upon google translate for the above English clip.

Rather dated news.

Google will translate.

Beerbaum’s response;

Regarding the allegations against me and my team: The well-being 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 perform in sport. The horses are our capital, which we take care of day in and day out.

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

I run my stable as an open stable, where groups of visitors are guests every day, customers pick up their feed for their horses, and “interns” are also welcome. Here you can ride in open spaces and complete daily training. Nothing hidden or prohibited is done.

The fact that the supposedly two-year-long “research” was only able to 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.

The “polygonal poles” found in the barn by the alleged intern are wooden poles that are used exclusively for the construction and repair of our pasture fences. The insulators for the fence tapes attached to the poles are clearly visible in the film. As soon as it is claimed that these are used for parallel bars, this is incorrect.

The same applies to the bars with the “knobs” in the attic. I can only say that these elements have been there for years. These come from a purchased inventory of obstacles and have been sorted out so that they are not used. They are also not used when training with horses. How one of these parts, polished and clean, gets between the common obstacle poles, I can only speculate. For me it is obvious that one of these poles was placed there explicitly for the contribution. We will do further research on this.

I also note:

The withdrawal of my 2004 Olympic gold medal was not based on doping, but on medication that was forbidden at the time.

The part called the “Styrofoam plate” on the training ground is a completely normal catch stand that is used on a daily basis. This is also an indication that the article lacks sufficient expertise.

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This makes me sick if it’s true. I heard this may be fake news though? Anyone have the actual details?

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I’m always more surprised to learn when top competitors aren’t resorting to questionable practices, no matter the sport. I kind of assume anyone who is a permanent fixture at the top of the leaderboard probably is employing questionable practices to remain there. I guess that makes me jaded? Every now and then I am delightfully proven wrong, but more often than not a story like this breaks.


…The German federation still allows poling?

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That’s sad!

I always thought you had to have good horsemanship to win consistently. Unfortunately horses are just too forgiving.

I sense a rule change coming up soon.


What are they talking about with the reference to the Styrofoam plate? I watched the news video, but I don’t speak German.

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I saw on another article, apparently yes, as long as the bar is a certain length or less and a certain weight or less. I guess it doesn’t take into consider how strong or aggressive the person doing the “touching” is, or how long it goes on for. The exercise rider at my barn used to intern at LB and he said this morning he (LB) was always super attentive to staying within the rules, so this sounds to me more like a disgruntled intern rather than full on “abuse” (read as: not- sanctioned).

ETA: replying to: …The German federation still allows poling?

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Does anyone have an English translation of the relevant rule by the German federation?

To my recollection USEF (and FEI) also still allow polling with again particular restrictions on the length and weight of the pole.

I was wondering if it was a liverpool? Hard to tell out of context.

Ah, maybe. I didn’t think along those lines at all. I was thinking more of the utensils for a picnic. Lol.

Found the sentence in question. Does anyone know enough german to translate it in the equestrian context?

"Styroporplatte“ bezeichnete Teil auf dem Trainingsplatz ist ein ganz normaler Fangständer, der im täglichen Einsatz ist*

Fangständer seems to translate to jump standard…

It’s not a Liverpool, you can see the guy carrying it in the one photo.

I’m very curious too. I wonder if they put it under the horse as it jumps or lands to scare it to jump higher?

It is used to rap the front legs in order to make the horse tuck it’s legs in tighter.

I watched the whole video here.

Ludger Beerbaum plans legal action on ‘demonstrably false’ welfare claims (

The styrophoam?

There’s a liverpool under one of the adjacent jumps in the video.

Did anyone see the “polygonal poles” in the video? I did not see anything with fence insulators on it.

There was a reference somewhere to using “square poles” (= “polygonal poles”?) and there’s a square red pole at the end with the prickly one … I didn’t see any fence insulators on it either though.

Is jumping fences with square poles actually illegal? I can see how hitting the edge of a square pole with a leg would be more painful for the horse (although the edges on the one in the video looked like they were rounded off a bit), but I’ve never heard of this being banned before.