News of the Sparkassen German Friendships 2017

Emotional farewell to new friends

The last victory lap is done without horses. By singing „take me home country roads“ the competitors of the tenth edition of German Friendships cantered on foot. They circled the Bexter globe and will now return to their home countries. For Brayden Aarts and Leeshelle Small home is 18,400 kilometers away, once around the world. Hundreds of colourful balloons took off before them from Bexter Hof.  

Nothing mirrors the development of the Friendships week better than the official ceremonies for the opening and the farewell. In the beginning all competitors stay behind their various country signs. In the end the German sign is removed while all German riders accompany their team partners whom they got to know so well during one week of sports and fun and sharing victories as well as defeat. All have become winners and the master of ceremonies, Pedro, accompanied them one last time into the arena.

National anthems, trophies, ribbons – honours for the overall winners are a main point following this week of sports. The anthem of Guatemala was played for Lukene Arenas Saravio. Scoring  236.5 points in front of Stella Reipert (229.5) and Emelie Pieper, she was most successful junior rider. In partnership with Vicky Venschott she had also won the team ranking. They had earned  110 points nover vthree jumping competitions, leaving them in front of Matthies Westendarp and Issam Haddad from Lebanon and Constanze Nachtsheim with her Australian partner Jessie Rice-Ward. In the 12- to 14-year old children’s group the German anthem was played for Malin Reipert. The 13-year-old won the individual ranking on 216.5 points, besting Leeshelle Small (208) and Hannah Smith. The Briton living in France listened to the Marseillaise for her victory together with Merit Brassel. On the silver spot of the podium were Malin Reipert and Paige Goetsch from South Africa and bronze went to the other German-South African combination, to Johann Wilwerscheid and Matthew Morrison.

On the occasion of the tenth anniversary the president of Förderverein German Friendships, Prof. Dr.Dr.hc Reinhard Körfer looked back to the beginning of the show. “We were happy to found this club. Not because in Germany it is customary for seven people to form a club but because the idea is not geared towards returning  profit but meant to carry on the development of friendship.” From the top of the German horse world, the general secretary of the National Federation, Sönke Lauterbach, vouched for the fact that the German Friendships are indeed unique in the world. “I travel a lot and often I do hear about Aachen, but equally often about the Sparkassen German Friendships.“ He congratulated show organizer Lars Meyer zu Bexten on a successful show.

In the end all riders received a rose for not to leave them empty-handed after they had let go the hundreds of ballons. A strong wind took the balloons towards a northeasterly direction. Maybe Ignas Makarauskas will see them from the window of the plane that carries him home to Lithuania.

Show evening with Olympic riders and fun

An elegant Olympic dressage rider at a jumping show telling the public via headset "This is smashing.“ Hubertus Schmidt talked about his stallion Escobar but wrapped up the score for the show evening at the same time. It is the mixture of sport and show and fun. This recipe works for the German Friendships in general and it worked for the show evening as well. More than 1000 spectators followed the events in the arena. “The development of this show is phenomenal”, Schmidt summed up.  

It was a colourful program with two Olympic gold winners as the stars. Hubertus Schmidt demonstrated a training with his stallion Escobar, just back from the show in Aachen. „The best horse ever“, said Schmidt and that was easy to believe just looking at the horse’s spectacular movements. The second Olympic winner focussed on a contrasting aspect. Eventer Frank Ostholt jumped „fast & furiously” the most unusual obstacles. Even a single plastic chair was no problem for the French bred gelding. “An event horse has to search for the jumps”, said Ostholt, leaving the jumping riders watching him in awe.

Irish music and a pony and a Danish Knabstrup stallion dancing with ballett performers in a Pas de deux – even that worked in the arena of Bexter Hof. The finale was a contrast again. “Jump and Run” matched trios of rider with horse and runner on foot and the public watched “Superman and Superwoman” as well as a prisoner and police agent attacking fences trying to beat the clock. Add the tele tubbies and you have the comical fun element as well. Only in Herford… For the finale show manager Lars Meyer zu Bexten offered free beer to be had when watching a “Nation’s Cup” without horses. This very special jumping show brought money for the international charity organization “Just World”. This is another ingredient again for the healthy recipe of German Friendships.


Getting to know your pony

„I liked the riding“, said little Louisa. The five-year-old was one of more than 60 kids who rocked the covered arena at Bexter Hof when moving with ponies. This program of Sportjugend NRW (“Youth in Sport at North Rhine Westphalia) is meant to get little pre-school kids interested in sports. Ten tasks were developed by riding trainer Claudia Dornhoff to make children see, feel, smell, hear ponies. That is best done when sitting on a pony – as little Louisa had noticed. But other tasks were attractive as well, like hopping on a big ball or jumping fences on foot. Parents and grand parents liked watching.

Maybe Saturday was the start of another riding career. Among the participants was Carl Meyer zu Hartum (5), son of advanced jumper Florian Meyer zu Hartum – now managing the Schockemöhle stables - and grandson of Gustav, member Förderverein German Friendships that runs the event.

Start to finish win for Guatemala-Greven

That was a nerve wrecking wait for Lukene Arena Saravia from Guatemala and German Vicky Venschotta. Being first riders out they had to wait until the very end to see whether their lead would hold. They had delivered a top round and in the end none of the other 26 teams could beat their time of 126.12 seconds.  

Team „Ursula“ formed by Emma Barrow (South Africa) and Felix-Maximilian Braun came  second (0.00/131.03) followed by Victoria Yang (Singapore) and Jona Zwernemann in third. .

“First we took care of the horses then we watched the others. We knew the nfavourites would be coming out last and it was super cool that in the end we made it”, Vicky Venschott described the roller coaster of emotions the two lived through. Vicky is an expert as far as German Friendships go. She competes for the third time. The favourites did not have their best day. Friday’s winners cashed in five penalties and „Team Shutterfly“ as the last pair out could have beaten the time but had three poles down.

Course designer Klaus Holle had upped the difficulties quite a lot in the second round. Only seven teams stayed clear.

Hero in pain - winner in repetition

The heroe of the day is ranked eleventh. He was in a lot of pain but fulfilled the team idea of German Friendships nevertheless. Mick Haunhorst rode with a broken arm and cried with pain at the finish after he had turned in a clear round in the children’s second competition. “I had to ride because otherwise that would have been it for my Swiss partner”, the 13-year-old braved all pain and waited until after his ride to have the arm x-rayed in hospital.

The winners had everything going according to their plan “We’ll repeat that”, Paige Goetsch from South Adrica and Malin Reipert/Germany had said Friday following their first victory. On Saturday team „Hello Forever” did it again. Turning in two clear rounds the girls crossed the finish line in 113.81 seconds. But the decision might be close in the final because the second South African-German team is right behind. Matthew Morrison and Johann Wilwerscheid finished second on 0/119.52.  

A prominent name on rank three: Antonio Johannpeter Cirne Lima, nephew of Olympic rider  Andre Johannpeter from Brazil, and his partner Mattis Johannsen stayed clear as well and are second in the intermediate ranking towards Sunday.  

The fastest team on 4 faults was team Levisto Z with Hannah Smith and Merit Bressel. There are a lot of international elements in this combination: Hannah is British, living in France and in contrary to the usual regulations it was her who brought a horse for the German partner. Her father and coach is a well known name in the sport, too. Scott Smith rode for England at Nation’s Cups and World Equestrian Games. Team Levisto Z ranks fourth in the intermediate ranking before the final on Sunday.

Confetti bomb explosion marked Opening

"The tenth Bexter Games are open”. Following the “final countdown” played as a trumpet solo the confetti bomb exploded and then horse shoes rattled. More than hundred young competitors from all over the world turned in their iron hospitality gifts for the Meyer zu Bexten family. They are the material to build the next Bexter globe – the symbol of international friendship and love of horses.

The joyful Entry of Nations marked the official opening for this international exchange. For the tenth anniversary the idea goes around the world via hashtag „FriendshipsNotChampionships. On the ground at Bexter Hof and very real the competitors entered the arena dancing behind their country’s sign and dancing to national music, ofte wearing costumes typical for their home. Chinese flute music, large Mexican hats, the Danish delegation in red and white, a New Zealand kiwi bird or little Ignas Makarauskas wearing the traditional Lithuanian farmer’s dress – it was a colourful set up that leaves lots of memories, not only of the two Japanese riders who changed the competition dress for a kimono. “One of the largest events in the region”, Herford’s mayor Tim Kähler pointed out. He sees the German Friendships as a symbol for a united world. “Without peace and respect we can’t built a future.”

Show manager Lars Meyer zu Bexten congratulated the riders who had started competition in the large arena in the morning. “You did a good job  and can be proud of your achievements already. From now on it is important to support each other – and to celebrate together.” The following German Friendships party offered the best opportunity.  

First children's round goes to South Africa

Vuvuzelas would have been fitting for a chase like this. Two South-African-German pairs on the podium following the first round of the Children’s team qualification. The combination Paige Goetsch and Malin Reipert came in last and raced up to the front. Two clear rounds and 101.57 seconds were the best result by far. France-Germany (Merit Brassel-Hannah Smith) came in second, followed by the second German-South African team, formed by Matthew Morrison and ohann Wilwerscheid).

“I will make that one, too“, Malin Reichert (13) described her up-beat thinking in front of the last fence. Her partner Paige is 15 and made friends instantly with the mare Landra, lent to her by Malin. “She is stronger than my horses at home, but very scopey and fun. She suits me.“ The plan for Saturday is fixed: “We’ll do that again.”

Course designer Klaus Holle had set up eleven fences for the 12- to 15-year-old children. Twelve teams stayed double clear and showed very nice riding, observed by the German national coach for this age group, Eberhard Seemann. Only two teams could not be scored. The first team had the most annoying mishap, having one horse being attracted by a wrong fence.

First national anthem for New Zealand

Like the pros! Winner Braydon Aarts and Paul Ripploh turned their horses Lapolero and Chevalier de Blue towards the poles where flags rose in their honour. New Zealand and Germany heard the first national anthems of the international jumping show at Bexter Hof. Turning in two clear rounds and the fastest total of 132.92 seconds, the two 15-year-olds won the first qualifier for juniors. They bested the Canadian-German team „Shutterfly“ in second and the German-Lebanese combination „Lennox“ in third place.  

Both winners are no beginners. “Braydon is one of the best junior riders in New Zealand and rides advanced level. He plans to work in Germany soon”, Paul knows already a lot about his partner. Both got to know each other well because they stay together at a host family and share not only the competitions but all their spare time in Herford. Paul has started thinking about travelling  to New Zealand for a visit in December.

Seven teams stayed double-clear over the course with eleven fences. Four pairs suffered bad luck because one rider had a fall and therefore had to be eliminated. All accidents weren’t serious but helped to draw the teams closer. “I had even joked beforehand about something like this to happen“, Leila Bingold was angry after her fall because her horse had shyed heavily. Her Canadian partner Jenna Lee Gottschlich stayed clear and took the mishap relaxedly. “Tomorrow is another day.“


Reception for Friendship riders at the town hall

Important job for Louisdor and Lord: The pair of brown geldings pulled up the first of six carriages with honoured guests in front of the town hall. Herford’s Mayor Tim Kähler waited for the international delegation in front of the hall that was built  a century ago. He greeted the young riders from 25 countries, their parents and trainers.

In three languages the mayor excused the patron of German Friendships, minister of defence, Dr. Ursula von der Leyen. She had to forfeit her trip on short notice because of other commitments. “I am sure she would have preferred to be here with us, but on this day she had to be with her troops and the next of kin”, Kähler explained why the patron was missing in the historic hall. Four times previously she had motivated the international guest there. “Sport asks for abilities, regardless of origin or language”, Kähler stressed the importance of the event that put Herford on the map for the tenth  time.  

Show manager Lars Meyer zu Bexten was new on the list of speakers following his father  in that role. He told the young listeners about a talk he had had with the winner of Wednesday’s ATCO Cup. Nayel Nassar had always dreamt of a winners’ ceremony like the one he had experienced at Bexter Hof, including podium, national anthem and champagne shower. “You see, it is important to set large goals and then work hard towards them. Then they can happen.“

Canadian Ben Asselin mentioned large goals, too. He had experienced the Friendship Games as a 12-year-old team rider and he still talks almost daily to his former partner then, Juan Jose from  Mexico about their common goal: “The Olympics 2020.“ On Wednesday he rode at the “Return o the Champions” competition and later awarded the ATCO trophy donated by his family.  

The two final speakers had already achieved one large goal. Anya Bereznicki and Kyara Semrau from Canada had won silver and bronze at the North American championships for Children in New York. As a five-year-old she had learned about the German Friendships and since then she had wanted to ride there one day, said Kyara. With a voice quite small with excitement the girls gave thanks to the sponsors who made the trip to Herford possible for some of the children.

Thinking back to Seoul

Meeting again after 29 years: At the Olympic Games in Seoul 1988 Olaf Petersen and Karsten Huck worked hand in hand. Olaf Petersen designed the course and Karsten Huck with Nepomuk won individual Bronze over his obstacles. Now Petersen visits Herford with daughter  Louisa who forms a team with Carolina Solakoff (USA). Huck coached them during the top ten training.

Elder sportsmen's meeting

VIP meeting at the rails of Bexter Hof: Olympic bronze medalist Lutz Gössing (79) from Steinhagen – eventer turned jumping rider – met Dieter Ludwig, the no.1 sports journalist of his times, anchor man of the agency sport informationsdienst . Even at the age of 80, Ludwig is still working in his profession and especially follows what happens in jumping. He is always interested in German Friendships. Course designer Frank Rothenberger – just back from Aachen – listened to the tales from the old days.  

ATCO Cup for Nayel Nassar - Gold Award for von Kanne

Champaign showers at Bexter Hof following the 3*** advanced „Return of the Champions“. “Million dollar rider“ Nayel Nassar and Dee Jee secured the ATCO Cup on Wednesday. Pulling all stops the rider from Egypt attacked the six fences of the winning round and at 36.59 seconds bested Isabelle Gerfer riding Ironie du Bois Halleux (0/37.35). Third place went to Steffen Eikenkötter and Sir Sando BS.

Ann-Cathrine von Kanne and her company shed tears of joy following her faultless round that left her in fifth place. That was enough to earn her the riding award in gold, given by the National Federation for her merits. In 1999, at the first German Friendships she competed as a team rider and at the tenth anniversary she gave herself and her brown mare Funny Fashion a nice present. “I never thought I would be able to keep my nerves”, she said after she had one pole down in the first round and made it to the winning round as the seventh and last  one qualified.

Deep relief also among the organizers. The arena held up and survived the masses of rain bucketing down the previous days. “We are all happy. Luckily the rain has stopped and we had a good start”, said show director Lars Meyer zu Bexten. His friend and neighbour Markus Brinkmann – still injured following a fall and therefore only watching as a spectator – agreed. “Conditions are very good.“  

Last minute preparations with top coaches

26 July 2017

What a compliment! “You look like Markus Ehning,“ Canadian Ben Asselin addressed Tom Goebel at the top ten training. The 12-year-old sits straight and tall, concentrating and aiming his brown gelding Amoucheur at the oxer. Popping over easily, just like Markus Ehning would do.


Training by Derby winners, world champions and Olympic riders – this opening is already the first highlight for the young riders getting ready for the team competitions from Friday. For the international guests the training is even more exciting because they ride unfamiliar horses, lend to them by their German team partners. They have to get to know them first. Tom Goebel teams up with Daneli Miron from Brazil. She is a year older than he is and he gave her his young grey mare. ”She is easier to ride and I know Amoucheur better.“  But even then Daneli has to adjust. “My horse at home moves very differently.“ But she gets on well with Castielle and is looking forward to the coming events.


Getting a lesson in Engish is no problem for both of them. Daneli goes to an American school in Brazil and Tom is a good student. It is more difficult for Tom’s father, Arnold. “It is 40 years ago that I have used my English.”


For North American Young Riders champion Ben Asselin the coaching is like stepping on the other side of the fence. When he was a child he came to Bexter Hof as a friendships rider. “It is nice to be back. I have met so many nice people and here is where I experienced the start to my international riding.” His judgement on Tom was not just a compliment. “He sits very nicely and has a good feeling for distances. A bit more work at the basics and he will be a very good rider for sure.“


This is what the coaches said:

Daniel Bluman, Olympic rider from Colombia, now competing for Israel.

In 2005, he was a Friendships-Team-Reiter at Herford and he says: “I give back what I received here.”

Franke Sloothaak, Olympic and World Champion:

„Both of my children rode here at the first Friendships in 1999. Since then I am part of this event. We always had children staying with us, from the US, from Cananda and from Greece. Now my daughter Annemieke has two children herself. They live in South Africa and the eldest is four. Maybe it won’t be long until she will comes over to ride here.”

Sloothaak on his training goals:

“Safety and control are the most important things. That is what I try to teach. The good rider has control in front of the jump and the top riders has control after the jump. Because that is where you prepare for the next fence.”

Pato Muente, Derby winner at Hamburg 2017:

„Good rhythm makes good distance. That is why rhythmical riding is so important.”

Bertram Allen, shooting star from Ireland, No.16 in the World ranking and teaching two groups at Herford:

“Pedro had told me about the German Friendships and I liked the idea. That is why I came. Everywhere happy kids having fun.”

"Without you it would not work!"

26 July 2017

A short sentence was enough. “Without you it would not work”, show manager Lars Meyer zu Bexten said to horse owners and host families who support the German Friendships by lending horses and offering beds. The festival week at Bexter Hof opened with a reception for them.

Like Wilhelm Schildmann (75): For the tenth time he opens his house for young guests. Three guests stay with him this year. Brayden Aarts came from New Zealand. “The flight took 18 hours and they have winter there right now“, Schildknecht has learned. He is still in contact with some of his guests from the earlier years. Over he years he shared lots of experiences with them, not all of them made public. “This show is unique”, he says.  

Or take Monika and Jürgen Becker. For the third time they offer the Friendships opportunity to their son Leon Norman and an international partner. In 2011, for their first time, they even leased the second horse. The Russian partner from 2015 is still close to them and the young people shared a heartfelt welcome at Herford again this year. In 2017 Leon is teamed with Aimee Keen from Great Britain. “Even if it snows we’ll always come to this show,” the Beckers say. “This is where they ride together not against each other.”

Picture: Wilhelm Schildmann (left) and Ulrich Meyer zu Bexten

25 July 2017

“Guatemala – that is Africa, isn’t it.” Well, not quite. But it won’t take long until Hennig from Hövelhof/Germany will find out where his new partner rider Valentina (13) comes from. International contacts and learning new things are the focal point of the German Friendships show, attracting 110 competitors between 12 and 18 from 30 countries.  

From Australia to South Africa – it is a large familiy of riders meeting again or for the first time at historic Bexter Hof. Antonia Kircher from Germany and Nicole Macari from Mexico are the first team presented by the MC, Pedro sporting his outfit from the Olympic Games in Rio 2016. Forming the team “Taloubet” those two blonde girls will compete together, celebrate victories or dealing with defeat. “Winning starts with stable work”, reminded show manager Lars Meyer zu Bexten the foreign guests. Depending on where they come from this concept might be unusual. „Horsemanship is important to us“, said Meyer zu Bexten. „Don’t wait at the warm-up for your horse being brought up to you. You might be waiting forever then.“

Many competitors like the friendships idea so much they come again and again. Marie Baumgart from Verden in Lower Saxony was so impressed in 2015 she returned and brought her little sister Amelie with her. Issam Haddad from Lebanon competes for the third time. Dr. Gerhard F. Braun could be considered a „record father“. For the sixth time he accompanies one of his children through the emotional roller coaster of the German Friendships week. Son Felix Maximilian teams up with Emma Barrow from South Africa this time.  

For the international guests to get to know their horses, some well known coaches teach them on Wednesday. Nation’s Cup winners from Aachen, Maurice Tebbel and Philipp Weishaupt will come as well as Andreas Kreuzer, most successful German competitor at the Aachen Grand Prix. The youngest will be Bertram Allen from Ireland. At 21, he could almost still be part of the Friendships team but he is no.16 of the world ranking list instead.

Bexter Hof is ready

The flag poles are set up and all tents are prepares. The tenth edition of German Friendships can begin. All is ready for the show week beginning on Tuesday, 25 July when international guest meet up with their German team partners.110 young people from more than 25 countries celebrate friendship on horseback and compete in jumping. The last minute problems will be solved and the pairs can team up. ”It is always exciting to see strangers meet and form a relationship”, says show manager Lars Meyer zu Bexten.

Even numbers are needed to form pairs. “On short notice we had two more entries from abroad and needed to find two German riders with two horses each to accomodate them“, the show manager disclosed. Now he keeps his fingers crossed for everything staying as it is. “With horses you’ll never know.“ In any case he is grateful for the horse owners’ willingness to give a ride to the international competitors. “That is no matter of course.“ The Master of Ceremonies, Pedro, German born with Canadian passport, will arrive on Sunday to get to know the program and the guests. The multi-lingual steward will manage things at the gate during the team competitions.

The stable tents are ready for all the horses arriving to the show: Two-hundred stalls in five tents will accommodate them. Stable manager Sandra Gregor and her helpers have prepared them and organized feed. All stalls are labeled to speed up reception. All electrical cables and water pipes are laid out. Add fresh flower decorations and the show can take off.

From Aachen via German Friendships to Berlin

From famous Aachen Soers via Bexter Hof in Herford to Global Tour in Berlin. That is this year’s series for top riders and coaches. Wednesday’s top ten training and the competition for the ATCO Cup “Return of the Champions” will be a big hit.

Getting to know an unfamiliar horse can be a difficult thing. International VIP coaches are there to help all Friendships competitors. A lesson with Ireland’s top star Bertram Allen might be the highlight in a young rider’s career. Allen is only 21 but ranks No.16 in the world already. “The list of this year’s coaches is fantastic”, says show manager Lars Meyer zu Bexten who is extremely grateful for their support.

Colombia’s Daniel Bluman, now competing for Israel, will be coming directly from Aachen. Andreas Kreuzer who is based at Bexter Hof competes at Aachen as well. German reserve champion Holger Hetzel continues in Herford following the Aachen show and for his daughter Laura the ATCO Cup will be the final test before she travels to the European Championship for Young Riders in Ŝamorin/Slovakia.

Two Egyptian riders will teach at Bexter Hof as well. Both are former Friendships riders. Abdel Said had just won the Grand Prix of Monaco and Nayel Nassar is a ”million-dollar-rider”. Aged 21 he had won the  Zoetis One-Million-Dollar-Cup in New York and a year later he almost did the same thing but ended up “only” second at Thermal/California. Right now he tours the show grounds of Europe. “So nice to be back“, he told facebook.

Philip Houston (19) is a former Friendships rider as well. He will go on from Herford to Berlin to compete at the Global Champions Tour. There he will meet up with Bertram Allen and others.  

Top Ten Training opens Wednesday, 26 July, at 8:00 and the ATCO competition starts at 18.00.

Show Time tops Family Day


Two Olympic gold medalists with a contrasting program will top the show finale of German Friendships’ “family day” on Saturday. Dressage team Olympian Hubertus Schmidt and his eventing counterpart Frank Ostholt show their disciplines. Riding Master Schmidt presents “pure dressage“ whereas Ostholt, now national coach for young riders, will jump cross country obstacles in a “fast & furious“ manner. Both will be equally impressive. “We are looking forward to seeing them both“, says show manager Lars Meyer zu Bexten, especially because Schmidt had been on the Aachen Nation’s cup team.

Show time at Herford begins at 7 p.m. on Saturday. Former friendships team riders will open the evening with their second round over obstacles of advanced level during their “gold tour”. The next act will be “Baroque meets classic“ where two very different horses will be dancing together and with ballet dancers, accompanied by Irish music. “Jump and Run“ will see three teams of riders on horseback paired with a runner who will wear crazy costumes and  go for speed over obstacles.  

The show evening with party to follow (from 9 p.m.) tops the “family day” art Bexter Hof. A lot is on offer for children and everybody who likes horses and sport or shopping or fine international eating or live music. “We want to offer a lovely day enjoyable for everybody“, says the show manager.

Top Competitors at Friendships Anniversary

Is that at all possible - running a competitive sports event under the headline ”friendships not championships“? “We will celebrate top sport in friendship“, says  Lars Meyer zu Bexten, show manager of  Sparkassen German Friendships. More than hundred children and young people from 26 countries have entered for the competition at Bexter Hof. Young German riders will bring two horses to lend one to their international partners. Together they will form a team and compete together, sharing victory or defeat.

Among the riders will be 14-year-old Lilli Collée, who had just celebrated her first success at advanced level. From Herford she moves on towards the Children’s European championships. Temur Azizov is junior champion in his native Uzbekistan whereas Cassie Gorsline had represented Canada at Nation’s Cups for children. “Taking on a lot more competitors at the team tests would put the opportunity for personal relationships at risk”, says Lars Meyer zu Bexten. His father, Ulrich is certain: “We will see riders who will made it up to the top within the next ten years.”

He might be right because there are a lot of success stories to tell from German Friendships. Among the coaches travelling to the top ten training is  Daniel Bluman, arriving from Aachen or Philip Houston, who will continue his trip from Herford to Berlin for the next step of Global Champions Tour. Both are former Friendships team riders. The top ten training in front of spectators is a very special experience. Being taught by a national coach like Heinrich-Hermann Engemann is most certainly special. Advice comes from Irish Bertram Allen -  at 21 he is No. 16 in the world ranking list – or from Pato Muente, this year’s winner of the Hamburg Derby. Andreas Kreuzer (26(), is a role model, too. He trains his horses at Bexter Hof to compete at GCT-level.  

To top the top ten training day former Friendships team riders will compete at ATCO Friendships Cup at 1,55m-level. The competition is sponsored by  Nancy Southern, president and CEO of  ATCO. Being a friend of the Meyer zu Bexten family since years she has supported this very special show from the very beginning. “championships in frienship“, that is what we will show here“, says Lars Meyer zu Bexten.

Baroque meets Classic

“You don’t have to be large to stand tall“, says Kathrin Harms-Hirche about Benny Blue – and she is right. Her blue eyed pony is only 1.42m tall but will a star at the show evening on Saturday. Together with Professor Af Wendandi, who looks like Pippi Longstocking’s horse Uncle, Benny Blue will show what happens when „Baroque meets classic“.

The very unlike pair will show a Pas de Deux to Irish music and will be accompanied later by ballet dancers from nearby Bad Oeynhausen. The Knabstrup stallion Professor af Wendadi with Melanie Enk in the saddle and the pony will celebrate dressage at advanced level, with the Professor representing the baroque part while Benny Blue is doing the classic moves

Dream Team Huck and Houston

They are the dream team of Sparkassen German Friendships and they come back for it’s tenth edition: Olympic bronze medalist and Riding Master Karsten Huck (71)  and his student Philip Houston (19).

Since five years Karsten Huck coaches Houston, who had been a Friendships team rider in 2013. By now he is German champion of junior riders, European team champion and successfully competing at the Global Tour series. At Bexter Hof he competes in ATCO Friendship Cup, at 3-star advanced level. There he will meet other former Friendships team riders who made it up the top. “I am looking forward to it”, says Houston who is still on writing terms with his former Friendships partner, Daniel from Colombia. Maybe the two will meet again at Herford, if only as a spectators. The only one missing then will be Philip’s horse, Löwenherz. Lars Meyer zu Bexten had found the horse that Philip rode in 2013 at the Friendships. Both grew up together and are now competing at the GCT. Löwenherz will be saved for the show in Berlin.

Coaching at German Friendships is a tradition for Karsten Huck. For the first show he came through being friends with Ulrich Meyer zu Bexten. Both competed at the Nation’s Cup team. Now he likes this show because of it’s very special atmosphere. „It is always a little bit more fun here than elsewhere and more interesting, easy and family style, because all guest are somehow connected to the Bexten family.” Another even better reason for Huck: “I love to work with young people."

Bertram Allen is coaching

He is only 21 but already a role model for young jumping riders. Irish Bertram Allen rocked the show scene long before he won the Opening competition of the World Equestrian Games in France three years ago. He comes to Herford for coaching the top ten training. “An incentive for all our young guests”, says show manager Lars Meyer zu Bexten. Allen is a competitive rider – how else could he be so successful. But he is familiar with the German Friendships’ motto of sharing and caring. He learnt about that at home where he grew up with six siblings. He now runs a stable of 20 horses at Hünxe/Germany.

It is Sparkassen German Friendships No.10 and the international family continues to grow. From 67 countries  575 competitors have been at Bexter Hof for the show that carries the motto „friendships not champiopnships.” Already there are entries from South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, from China and Haiti. Riders from Costa Rica, Guatemala and Columbia represent the Americas. The Entry of Nations will be colourful.

Opening of the entry system



16th of July 2017

Since this week, the FEI entry system is open for entry of competitors through the countries National Federations.

Pato Muente as a Top Ten Trainer




06th of July 2017

Pato Muente will be one of the trainers at the Top Ten Training on Wednesday, the 26th of July!

Born in Argentina and riding for Slovenia since 2011, he just drew attention to himself by winning the 88th edition of the German Jumping Derby in Hamburg. Soon afterwards he gave his consent to be a trainer at the Sparkassen German Friendships and share his knowledge with the teams of Juniors and Children in advance of their competitions.

Concept of the Sparkassen German Friendships 2017




To give you a first impression, here you can find the Concept of the event as a download!

Information brochure of the Sparkassen German Friendships 2017

Information brochure of the Sparkassen German Friendships

31st of January 2017

Lets go! The Sparkassen German Friendships will start again in 2017

More Information within a short time!

The Team of the Sparkassen German Friendships will be glad to see you soon!

Information brochure as download below