It’s quite a feat to produce a horse to the pinnacle of sport. When a horse achieves success such as a CCI5* win, the credit is rightfully distributed amongst the rider, the groom, the coaches, the owners, the support crew, and the breeders — a literal village.
In winning the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, Ellen and Alex Ahearn’s and Eric Markell’s Mai Baum earned his place in history, his longtime rider Tamie Smith also solidifying hers as the first U.S. winner of LRK3DE in nearly two decades. His breeder, Gunter Gerling of Germany, was also honored as the breeder of the winning horse.
Though Gunter Gerling has sadly passed away in the years since he chose the Holsteiner stallion Loredano to breed to his Leoni mare, Ramira, his nephew, Oliver Klingebiel, was able to connect with ‘Lexus’s’ connections over the years. When Tamie won Kentucky, she reached out to Oliver — who provided the photo below of a very young Mai Baum a few years ago after Tamie won the Fair Hill then-3* — to arrange a time for him to accept the breeder award on behalf of his uncle.
That meeting happened at CHIO Aachen just last week, when Oliver and his wife drove four hours to meet Ellen and Eric as well as Tamie and Lexus. It was a meaningful award and a special full-circle reunion of sorts for all of Mai Baum’s connections.
Tamie Smith and Mai Baum finished third individually at CHIO Aachen and were members of Team USA, which collected silver in the team SAP Cup competition.