In the absence of evidence, Münster's public prosecutor's office has announced the end of the proceedings against Ludger Beerbaum. Since the broadcast of a report on RTL, the German, four-time Olympic champion, has been suspected of poling - and thereby damaging the welfare - of at least one horse.
The Münster prosecutor's office dropped the charges against Ludger Beerbaum. In February, the public prosecutor had launched an investigation against the German following the message broadcast on the national channel RTL. Based on footage allegedly captured by a former company employee, the report identifies the four-time Olympic champion by name as an actor and responsible for the "poling" by people presented as experts. After investigation, the prosecutor believes that they do not have enough evidence that a horse actually suffered.
Regardless of whether the rider in the filmed images is indeed the accused or whether the accused originated or had knowledge of the alleged method, the investigation carried out does not make it possible to prove that contact with the pole at the horse in question has caused 'considerable' pain or ailment, as the penalty provision assumes”, we read in the press release of the Public Prosecution Service. “The video images examined and analyzed in this case do not allow for such evidence (particularly by deduction from the horse's behavior),” we also read.
“It has now been proven that these allegations are false” - Ludger Beerbaum
Shortly after the video was posted, a vet was immediately dispatched to the Beerbaum stable. He "found no violation or clinical abnormality in the horses, nor any violation of the animal welfare law". The prosecutor's investigation is also separate from that of the German Equestrian Federation, which can only penalize proven violations of its own rules. His Disciplinary Committee is continuing to investigate the matter.
“The classification of the procedure by the Public Prosecution Service is confirmation for me. It has now been proven that the allegations in the RTL report against me and my team are false. I now hope that the Disciplinary Commission of the German Equestrian Federation will also make a decision in time," Ludger Beerbaum said in a statement.
As a reminder, two months after the report was aired by the German broadcaster, the German Equestrian Federation had taken the decision to ban the so-called "touching" training technique, which should be distinguished from the "poling" techniques, banned since 1991.