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Corporate Sponsorships Reimagined: Equestrian Sports

Feature Article | May 23, 2017 by Ingrid Klimke, 3-time Olympic Medalist in Equestrian, Trainer, and Author

I grew up counting in Olympic years. That’s what happens when your father rides for the German National team.

As a child, I often went with him to the games and grew to love equestrian sports. In 2000, after my father’s passing, I was honored to continue my family’s legacy and ride for team Germany at the Olympics in Sydney, Australia. I went again in 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016, earning two gold medals and one silver with the German team—for my family and my country.


Corporate Sponsorships Reimagined is a series documenting the experiences of SAP sponsorship partners, in their own words.


Besides training and growing the partnership with my horses, one of my desires is to share the beauty and excitement of equestrian sports with the world. In all my time in and around equestrian, I’ve seen many incremental steps forward, but never as big as those enabled by technology. Whether its improvements in rider performance or fan engagement, technology is truly taking equestrian to new and exciting heights.

This is due in large part to my partnership with SAP and major events like CHIO Aachen and Event Rider Masters, and I would like to express my sincere thanks to the organizers Frank Kemperman for CHIO Aachen, and Chris Stone for the Event Rider Masters for providing such great, innovative platforms for our sport.

CHIO Aachen is a beloved event, particularly for my family. My father celebrated some of his greatest successes here and my daughter Greta participated in the Opening Ceremony in 2016. I enjoy coming each year and was even privileged to be named to the CHIO Hall of Fame for winning the eventing competition (the triathlon of equestrian sports) in 2015. We’re also a family with a strong tradition in dressage, so we’re thrilled to see what CHIO and SAP have done there. The SAP Audience Judging app had been designed as an interactive way for fans to learn about dressage and participate live in the scoring. It’s a great opportunity to get fans involved in a sport that can be hard to understand if you don’t know the rules and the history. And it’s great to see that this innovative prototype has now become available as Spectator Judging for tournaments on a global scale including the FEI Worldcup Dressage Series – powered by SAP technology. SAP has also been working with CHIO to leverage sensors and provide fans with even more compelling, real-time information about the riders, horses, and the performance on the cross-country course.

SAP technology has fundamentally transformed the way Ingrid Klimke trains

The Event Rider Masters is a newer series and one I’m very excited about. It puts a modern spin on traditional eventing — distilling what is historically a three day event into two action packed days for the spectators—and will transport equestrian to new places and new audiences. Event Rider Masters is well-equipped to do so with their SAP partnership. I see a great synergy there—both sides are eager to move the sport into the 21st century and make it more accessible and engaging.

My personal partnership with SAP has also been richly rewarding. The tools they’ve provided me as a rider have fundamentally transformed the way I train. With SAP Equestrian Analytics, I know precisely how fast I am traveling at different points on the course. This and other metrics, paired with footage from a helmet camera, help me get a 360-degree view of my performance. The fans, too, are treated to my perspective from the saddle. The footage of my latest round in the world-famous “Aachener Soers” had my social media channels hitting all-time highs.

The small details matter — SAP knows and appreciates this. They’ve even made customizations to the software based on my feedback.

Ultimately, it’s all about transparency. I want fans old and new to understand what is going on and get excited about the sport. With SAP’s smarter, more co-innovative sponsorships in equestrian, we’re seeing that take shape.

Learn more about how SAP is reimagining equestrian.


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Ingrid Klimke is a three-time Olympic Medalist in Equestrian, Trainer, and Author

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