Thursday 07 March - 11h24 | Ian Clayton
Sönke Rothenberger inspired by injured horses after fire
It has been a week since a fire at the stables of Olympic dressage gold medalist Sönke Rothenberger’s family near Frankfurt, Germany killed five horses and critically injured others while destroying a large part of the facility. And as the rider and his family deal with the aftermath and work to get back on their feet, they have provided some updates on the day-to-day recovery process.
This week, Sönke Rothenberger – a Team Olympic, World and European gold medallist – published the message below (translated from German) on the family’s web site, whose home page (pictured above) shows charred riding equipment. He mentions horses lost in the fire as well as those in intensive care after suffering serious burns:
"Everything that seemed so important to me has become secondary to the terrible fire we had a few days ago. I've lost old friends like Kid, and a horse, Zum Glück, whom I had so much hope for and who was such a pleasure to ride. Luna, a mare I believe has the quality to become one of the best horses in the world, is still in intensive care. But visiting her each day and seeing how much power she has and her will to survive gives me hope. Kantate is the same – a young horse with so much power and energy that really did not deserve such a thing.
In the first few hours I really thought 'horses are the loveliest, most generous creatures on this planet,' but I also thought that I did not want to relive the pain after such a loss, as with Favo. I never want to wake up in such a situation again, knowing that these creatures are helpless without my help.
But after seeing Luna, Kantate, Santiano and Cosmo fight these past few days, I can only follow their example and be there for my horses. And I feel like I get back more from these horses than I can describe in words. I will always have the ones I've lost in my heart, and I will always try to be there for the horses that have survived. I love you."
The family has also thanked its sponsor Kingsland for a major donation of equipment, which it says will help it resume working with horses when the time comes. And as eurodressage.com has reported, the family has also stabled its surviving horses with friends and neighbours like Ann-Kathrin Linsenhoff, an Olympic champion in 1988 for the country, and will train there as family members continue to rebuild their yard and lives with the help of the community.
"Words can't describe what we have experienced," Gonnelien Rothenberger told the publication. "I don't know where to start. I want to thank everyone for the immense support. Thanks to the family for its help, to the vets, the helpers, the police, the firemen, to all who wrote us and offered us help. We will never recover what we lost. Our whole life has been broken into pieces. But at the same time we are so grateful for the support. Our sponsors helped us already with tack." Picture below from dressurstall-rothenberger.de.
Friday 01 March - 10h20