Countdown to PARIS 2018: Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, the most successful female rider in World Cup Jumping history

Michaels-Beerbaum and Shutterfly at the 2011 retirement ceremony for the horse, with whom she won three World Cup Finals
Credit : Scoopdyga

Friday 09 March - 10h33 | Lucas Tracol

Countdown to PARIS 2018: Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, the most successful female rider in World Cup Jumping history

In a little more than a month, from April 11-15, the AccorHotels Arena in Paris will host the global elite of Show Jumping and Dressage at the 2018 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final and FEI Dressage Final. And with a few weeks to go before the event, GrandPrix-Replay takes another look today at some of the performances that have marked the history of the World Cup Finals. After yesterday’s International Women’s Day, a profile of Germany’s Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, three-time winner of the Final with Shutterfly.

 - Countdown to PARIS 2018: Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, the most successful female rider in World Cup Jumping history

At the 2008 Final in Gothenburg
Credit : Scoopdyga

It will soon be seven years since the exceptional bay retired, but  Shutterfly’s partnership with Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum is still fresh in the minds of Show Jumping fans. And for good reason: the son of Silvio I and the 48-year-old German rider left an indelible mark on the sport, and particularly the FEI World Cup Jumping Final, in which they participated a total of seven times.

Michaels-Beerbaum first took part in the prestigious annual competition with Stella, a daughter of Quick Star. But it is with Shutterfly that the wife of Markus Beerbaum and sister-in-law of Ludger clearly experienced her greatest success in the series. In 2003, the pair took eighth place in their first World Cup Final, in Las Vegas. The next year in Milan, the duo were fantastic runners-up behind Bruno Broucqsault and Dileme de Cephe, the only French athletes to have raised the prestigious trophy to date.  

In 2005, the combination’s third time was a charm. The rider who a few months earlier had become the first female World No.1 in her sport would become the fourth woman to triumph in the World Cup Juming Final after Americans Melanie Smith (in 1982 on Calypso), Leslie Burr Lenehan (in 1986 on McLain) and Katharine Burdsall (in 1987 on The Natural).

Even though the Belgian Ludo Philippaerts had taken the lead after the first day of competition, Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and her energetic bay remained within striking distance in sixth. The next day, the duo captured the Grand Prix thanks to a magnificent performance which swept them into the lead. At the same time, rivals Marcus Ehning, the Beerbaums, Rodrigo Pessoa, Nick Skelton and Michael Whitaker still had cards to play. On Sunday, Michaels-Beerbaum committeed her only fault of the weekend at the triple in the first round, while Michael Whitaker and Rodrigo Pessoa soared clear over the course on Portofino and Baloubet du Rouet. The British rider would be hit with time penalties while the Brazilian dropped down after knocking down a rail. With only a three point lead on Whitaker, Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and her gelding conquered the course, claiming their first World Cup Final title in style.

A big disappointment and big comeback

A big disappointment and big comeback - Countdown to PARIS 2018: Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, the most successful female rider in World Cup Jumping history

Emotion after the pair's third World Cup Final victory
Credit : Scoopdyga

Fifth in the 2006 Final in Kuala Lumpur with Checkmate, Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum would experience a major disappointment the following year in Las Vegas, site of her first success. After a big leap by Shutterfly, the rider had a flukey fall, ending her quest for a second Cup title in three years. The next year, however, the pair would bounce back in the best way possible, winning in Gothenburg in 2008 at the 30th edition of the Final – one of the most successful. Fifth in the speed class, the pair would incur one penalty point for time in the Grand Prix before their triumph in the final two-round competition thanks to two clear rides.

In 2009, the German and her bay drove home their status by completing a hat-trick in Las Vegas against stiff competition, with McLain Ward and Sapphire second and Albert Zoer and Okidoki third. Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum would dedicate the victory to her father, who had passed away three months earlier.

With three World Cup Final victores, the rider had equalled the feats of Hugo Simon and Rodrigo Pessoa, who had achieved this previously, as well as Marcus Ehning, who joined their ranks in 2010. As well, alongside Rodrigo Pessoa and Baloubet du Rouet, Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Shutterfly make up one of the two horse-and-rider combinations to have won three FEI World Cup Jumping Finals. 

For ticket information and other details on the 2018 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final and FEI Dressage Final, click here. 

A big disappointment and big comeback - Countdown to PARIS 2018: Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, the most successful female rider in World Cup Jumping history


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