30 years – Happy birthday

A look back at the International Stuttgart German Masters Horse Show

Swabians – the people from Stuttgart and surrounding region – are very much down to earth and unassuming. When Dr Rainer Vögele, a former CEO of the Stuttgart Exhibition Centre, was asked 30 years ago what his aim was for the new horse show in the Hanns-Martin-Schleyer-Halle, he answered, “Something proper”. That was in 1985. Now – 30 years later – one knows that it has become “something proper” and much more than that, it is the world’s best indoor horse show. 

The mixture of sport and show was spot on right from the start. “Pas de deux“ performed by the Dane Anne-Grethe Jensen riding Marzog and Dr Reiner Klimke on Ahlerich has gone down in history as being one of the most aesthetic show numbers of all time. 

Interestingly, the first years in the ring were dominated more by the foreign guests than the later ones. Frenchman Philipp Rozier won the very first Grand Prix on Jiva and one year later it was claimed by the then recently crowned world champion Gail Greenough on her Mister T. It took until 1993 for Markus Beerbaum to record the first German win in the Grand Prix on his Alex. 

The horse show’s most successful rider to date is Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum who dominated the sport for a few years on her Shutterfly. She was so successful that she won the Grand Prix three times in succession from 2006 to 2008. Similarly successful is her brother-in-law Ludger Berbaum who was victorious in the Grand Prix on five occasions. 2013 was a historical year in the Stuttgart arena as it was the first time a local rider from the state of Baden Württemberg came up trumps, namely Hans-Dieter Dreher on Embassy. Another local Swabian hero, Martin Schaudt, was also successful in the dressage rectangle on Weltall when winning the title in 2004 – with a world points record – and 2005. 

Top of the tree however in the dressage is Isabell Werth. The five-time Olympic champion has won the Masters title on 10 occasions – on three different horses. And there is no end in sight. In 2009, the dressage audience were treated to a special moment in the horse show’s history when Dutchman Edward Gal brought his wonder horse Totilas to Stuttgart. Four-in-hand driving was added in 1994 and made a World Cup class in 2000. In winning an incredible 11 times in succession, German Michael Freund is by far the most successful driver at the show. 

In 2002 an indoor eventing class followed on the ever improving Wednesday evening and it was one of the stops on “multi-champion” Michael Jung’s road to the very top. Of the 12 times the competition has been held, he has won six. 

Ever since the past year, Stuttgart can justifiably claim to be the only horse show worldwide with four World Cup classes –  driving since 2000, jumping since 2002, after a 23-year absence, dressage – after a 23-year absence – returned to Stuttgart in 2012 and valuting was given World Cup status in 2013.

1986 and 1991 marked the first years that the regional Baden Wurttemberg Indoor Championships were held respectively in jumping and dressage. After several qualifying events over the year, the finals are staged every year on Thursday and are the best indication of the region’s rootedness in the horse show. The state’s uncrowned indoor king is Timo Beck, who has won the BW Bank Indoor Jumping Championship fives times to date. As for the dressage, the iWEST-Cup, Olympic Champion Martin Schaudt and the Stuttgarter Stefanie Lempart are both three-time winners. 

Baden Württemberg’s junior show jumpers have been competing for the Nürnberger Burgpokal - -the junior championships – since 2011 so that the up-and-coming youngsters also officially have their very own class at the “German Masters”. Roland Kern 


The old German (and in part English) website with start lists, results, news (also English), images and videos (only German):