Andre Thieme seemed close to tears. Again and again he turned his head to the side and wiped his face with his hand. “It’s probably the most embarrassing moment of my life,” said the European Show Jumping Champion after his World Championship fiasco in Herning. His football buddies, who had come specially to the event, were sitting in the stands in the same “Team Thieme” shirts, and they too were stunned and frustrated.

    Thieme was the third German rider to compete in the Nations Cup with Chakaria, one of the world’s best show jumpers. The German team was in third place at the time, silver was still possible, but then came that damn blue oxer. “The mare just went up in the air and made an abnormal jump,” said Thieme: “I got hit under my ass when I landed, and then I was down. It went so fast, I even got it didn’t really get it.”

    National coach also shocked: Happens “actually almost never”

    National coach Otto Becker tried to classify the events somehow. “It was a number that almost never happens,” said the 63-year-old, also with a lot of frustration on his face: “But well, now it just happened, and unfortunately it happened to us.” After all, Becker was happy that his team secured direct qualification for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris with fifth place. It was the minimum goal of the German Equestrian Federation.

    So now Becker has two years to form a team that can compete in Paris for the medals and maybe even for the first German Olympic gold since 2000 in Sydney. From the Herning World Championship team, Jana Wargers from Hamburg and her 13-year-old stallion Limbridge recommended themselves for higher tasks. The World Championship debutant was the best German after time competitions and the Nations Cup – amazing with such experienced teammates as Thieme, Christian Ahlmann and the three-time World Cup winner Marcus Ehning.

    That gives hope for the 2024 Olympics

    And even among the riders not nominated for the World Championships there are some top-class riders. Aachen winner Gerrit Nieberg, for example, so far the owners of his top horse Ben have resisted all offers to buy him from abroad. Or Olympic starter Daniel Deußer with his showpiece mare Killer Queen, who smugly commented on his World Cup failure with the words: “I’m not good enough for the national coach.” And last but not least, substitute rider for the World Championships Janne Friederike Meyer-Zimmermann with Messi.

    Andre Thieme, it can be assumed, did not care about the 2024 Olympics for the time being, he had to do with coming to terms with himself. “I’m so disappointed in myself,” he said, “the horse just jumped too well.” Well jumping horses and saddle-steady riders should be very welcome in Paris in two years’ time.