After the fatal accident of Benjamin Winter at this year’s tournament in Luhmühlen, Julia Otto, director of the Turniergesellschaft Luhmühlen mbH had intensive talks. “To my mind, it is always important to recapitulate and scrutinise the past and try to improve security and communication in the sport. Transparency and the mutual exchange of ideas increase the understanding for the view of the parties involved and thereby also the safety of eventing. And that is our major concern.”
The attitude of the sponsors was a crucial topic throughout the last months, but it can be announced, that the main sponsors will remain true to the tournament. For the next four years, DHL Paket is the main sponsor of the tournament, Longines extends the contract as official timekeeper and the Ostfriesische Teegesellschaft with their product Meßmer will also stay with the tournament. Additionally, there was much discussion with respect to safety. Course designer Mark Phillips appreciates deformable and flexible elements, but also notes their limits: “I use both the PIN and the MIM systems in Europe and North America. Both are useful devices in certain situations. We are also working on the development of a breakable system with certain types of brush fences- even though brush fences already are quite forgiving of mistakes. Unfortunately, it is not possible to make equestrian sports 100% safe. The use of the mentioned systems, the design of the fences and the materials used can make a contribution to make the sport safer and more horse-friendly. However, the utmost aspect of safety in my eyes is the respect the rider has towards the fence. Therefore we always try to find the balance between fences that forgive mistakes but still demand respect.”
Changes to Luhmühlen’s cross-country course
In addition to a further extension of safety systems already in use, Mark Phillps plans a change of direction and the alteration of the Meßmer water. “The Meßmer water has barely changed in the last decades, in principle, it has stayed the same since the1970s and 1980s when I rode there myself. The new look will provide a much better view for the spectators and will grant me more possibilities to utilise this central part of the cross-country course,” so the Course Designer.
“All those occurrences and talks allow us to face the future positively and we look forward to the arrangement of both competitions in association with the FEI Classics and the German Championship,” Julia Otto states.