Luhmühlen held a commemoration ceremony in honor of Benjamin Winter this morning before the start of the CIC3* show jumping. All competitors, coaches, grooms and officials gathered in the main arena, with all the spectators lining the rails. Breido Graf zu Rantzau, president of the German Equestrian Federation, spoke first with a tribute to Benjamin in German, and Chris Bartle, coach of the German eventing team, followed. Chris’ comments in English begin at the 2:30 mark in the video below.
A transcript of Chris Bartle’s comments:
“We have yesterday lost a talented young rider and, above all, a friend and a fun-loving guy who had decided to make horse sport and, in particular eventing, his life. Ben had come on Wednesday fit and ready with two super horses, also fit and ready. His goal was to achieve his ambition to ride the four-star in Luhmühlen in front of his home crowd.
“We had breakfast together; I left him to go prepare. He made one of his usual funny remarks, which made us all laugh. I watched him with pride, as I’m sure did his trainer Rüdiger Schwarz, as he rode a copybook round on his first ride, Wild Thing. He came back from that ride so happy and pleased with what his longstanding partner had achieved.
“Ben returned to the stables to prepare for his next ride. His family, friends and fellow riders close to him in the squad have all told me how happy he was. But Ben was also such a cool customer — a trainer’s dream. He set off on his next ride and again rode superbly, enjoying a great feeling on his championship horse, until his fatal fall took him away from us.
“We are all shocked and in deep sadness at our loss, and our thoughts at this time are very much with Ben’s family and his very close friends. But we can also be strong. We can also hold our heads up high in the knowledge that Ben lost his life doing what he so much wanted to do. The sport of eventing was his life, his passion.
“We as a large sporting family stand here together now this afternoon. We continue the competion, sure in the knowledge that it would be Ben’s wish, as well as that of his family. We dedicate our performance today to the memory of Ben. Please now stand for a minute’s silence.”