Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum was openly weeping in front of the 46,000 spectators at the CHIO (Concours Hippique International Officiel) on Sunday after seeing her successor Janne-Friederike Meyer take victory on her horse in the competition likened to Wimbledon for show jumpers.
“This is the greatest success of my career,” said Meyer, 30, who was on last year's German team which took the world championship. “I cannot believe it. I will have to digest the shock first of all.”
Michaels-Beerbaum is the most successful show jumper in the world, yet said she spent the whole of Saturday night awake trying to decide what to do with her champion horse Shutterfly before deciding to retire him. Aged 18, the horse will now remain out of competition, and Michaels Beerbaum said she was looking at a, “hole in my career.”
The American-born rider had been the face of German show jumping, the first woman to occupy the number one spot in overall world ranking, winner of the European Championship and three times World Cup winner.
The two women had been on the same team last year after Meyer was brought in as a substitute rider in the German team at the World Championship, winning gold in Kentucky.