The competition career of Germany’s top dressage duo Helen Langehanenberg and Damon Hill NRW has come to an end.
The popular pair were part of the silver medal-winning German Olympic team and took team gold and two individual silvers at this summer’s FEI Alltech World Equestrian Games (pictured top).
Although Helen — who is currently world number two behind Charlotte Dujardin — has lost the ride, the stallion will remain with his owner Christian Beck and will not be sold.
Now 14 years old, Damon Hill left Helen’s Munster stables over a month ago, but it wasn’t until two days ago (Monday 10 November), that it was confirmed the partnership was over.
Helen’s contract to ride the grand prix star finished on 31 October. Christian Becks said the stallion will now remain in his ownership and will stand at stud.
Earlier this year (September) Mr Becks’ lawyer said that despite rumours, the horse was no longer for sale and that there were ongoing discussions to extend the partnership with Helen.
But a statement from lawyer Andreas Kleefisch this week said an agreement for Helen to stay under contract until the 2016 Olympics could not be reached.
“The successful collaboration between Helen Langehanenberg and their successful horse Damon Hill is over. Negotiations on an extension finally failed, the ideas about the conditions were too far apart,” read the statement.
Damon Hill: dressage star
Damon Hill (Donnerhall x Rubinstein) started off his career with Ingrid Klimke — Helen’s former trainer — who trained him to grand prix level.
In 2005 Ingrid broke her shoulder, so Helen, then 23, competed Damon Hill at the World Young Horse Championships. The pair won the five-year-old section.
A year later he won the six-year-old championship with Ingrid. In 2010 the ride transfered to Helen, after it was reported an agreement couldn’t be reached between the owners and Ingrid regarding his breeding and competition schedule.
The duo have become very popular and the news will be a huge disappointment to dressage fans. They were one of the few partnerships to challenge Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro and we were one of the few to beat the British pair when they had a dip in form at Aachen in July 2014.
“Every time you think with him that things are already perfect, he gets better again,” Helen said of him after winning the World Cup final in 2013.
Helen and Damon Hill’s career highlights
- 2012: team silver London Olympics
- 2013: team gold and two individual silvers European championships
- 2013 team gold FEI world cup final
- 2014: team gold and two individual silvers World Equestrian Games