Germany’s Ludger Beerbaum, 42, is back on the top of the FEI Gandini World Riders Rankings with a score of 2610 points, after scoring well in Munich and Geneva during December 2004. Previously the undisputed leader of the rankings from January 2001 to June 2003, Beerbaum also headed the leader board in February, March, April and September last year.

Brazil’s only representative inside the top 20 is runner-up, Rodrigo Pessoa, with 2530 points. He scored 100 points in Geneva, where he won the World Cup, 55 in La Coruna and another 60 at the FEI World Cup Qualifier at Olympia.

Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum’s reign as the only woman to ever head the rankings lasted for one month. The German rider won the FEI Gandini Top Ten Final, supported by Rolex, in Geneva during December, but did not score well elsewhere and is down to third place. Michaels-Beerbaum compatriot, Marcus Ehning, remains in fourth place.

Switzerland’s Markus Fuchs continues his climb back up the rankings after being forced to miss the first two months of 2004 with an injury. Just five points adrift from Ehning he looks poised to reclaim a top three place soon, although his top ride Tinka’s Boy has been sidelined after sustaining a severe tendon injury in the grand prix in La Coruna.

In eighth place, Robert Smith is Britain’s highest placed rider in the rankings following strong performances in Geneva, Olympia and Belfast. Nick Skelton is on an upward surge, jumping from 15th to 12th place, while Michael Whitaker moves in the opposite direction from 11th to 15th. The only other Briton inside the world’s top 50 is Robert Whitaker in 40th place.

The rankings can be viewed in full on www.horsesport.org