Less than a month after the most thrilling Olympic Jumping contest, the world’s top riders descended on the city of Barcelona for the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping Final and it was Team Germany who won the fourth edition of the show jumping event at the Real Club de Polo. Eight teams qualified for the final round and it came down to a jump-off between the eventual champions and Great Britain as each were tied on zero penalties after the first round. It was a night to remember as the event went down to the wire and the spectators witnessed the jump-off between Olympic champion Nick Skelton and Germany’s Marcus Ehning to decide the result. Skelton was the first to jump-off and ended with a terrific time of 41.82 seconds on his horse ‘Big Star’ to set the target, but Ehning used his turning skills to full effect, cutting corners everywhere and galloping down to the last on ‘Pret a Tout’ to clinch the title for Germany as he finished the course in 39.80 seconds. Ehning said afterwards that he already knew he could beat the Olympic champion, “I watched him go and I knew I could be faster than him. I was really under pressure - I wanted this win for Ludger as it was his last Nations Cup”, he explained.
It was a poignant win and a fitting farewell for German veteran, Ludger Beerbaum who made his final appearance for his National team. Talking after a special presentation to mark his retirement from team competition, Ludger said “Life has been good to me and I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to play the sport. I am grateful in many areas, my family, my owners, the people who trusted in me. Now is the time for me to be aware of this and thank everyone for what is important. I’m happy with the decision, it wasn’t taken over the last few days or weeks, it was made some months before Rio and I have no regrets. I’m really thankful, and of course I wish off my team-mates the best of luck for the future.”