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Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum – The Cinderella Story
Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Her Horses
Meredith Michaels Beerbaum's Journey
“If you keep on believing, the dreams that you wish will come true.” (Disney from the movie Cinderella)
And such is the case for Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, who is one of those women that young horse loving girls aspire to be. Her Cinderella story is one that only dreams are made of. Yet, in this case her dream continues to come true.
The United States would truly like to claim this world champion as one of their own but the truth is that Michaels-Beerbaum may have grown up in California but she has spent most of her life in Germany after moving there in 1991. It is there that she met and ultimately married her prince, German rider Markus Beerbaum. Because of this partnership, Beerbaum had to make some major decisions.
“Moving to Europe was certainly the most significant catalyst in my career; the second was changing my nationality and becoming German…” she commented, despite the fact that many said that decision could end her dream of riding on an Olympic team.
Those naysayers were soon proven wrong when she was named to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games team. That would be the first of three as she was also a member of the London (2012) and Rio (2016) teams.
The Journey Begins at 10 Years Old
Meredith was born on December 26th 1969 and she was only ten years old when she voiced her hope to one day compete in the Olympics. When asked to write a short essay about what she wanted to one day achieve, “I stuck a photo of a show jumper on the page and put a caption underneath saying "Meredith Michaels wins Olympic gold.’”
It was at the age of 14 that the journey to the dream started to become more believable. The year was 1983 and she was competing at the Washington International Horse Show in the Senator’s Cup. For a junior rider to win this class was very prestigious and for Michaels-Beerbaum that victory and the prize of her very first Rolex watch was truly a milestone.
One year later she watched on TV as U.S. rider Joe Fargis won both the team and individual gold medals at the Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Watching him achieve that milestone reinforced in her the desire to do the same.
Riding as a Professional
The road that led to her first Olympic Games began when she won the Maastricht Grand Prix, her first major win as a professional. It was then that Rolex started to take notice of this talented young woman and decided to invite her to be one of their first equestrian Rolex Testimonees.
“Only the very best sportsmen and women are invited to represent Rolex and that meant everything to me,” she noted.
Among numerous other victories, Beerbaum’s credentials also include winning three World Cups of which two were in the United States on what she calls “my once in a lifetime horse.” To watch Michaels-Beerbaum and Shutterfly was like watching the perfect dancing partners. She looks back at that victory as being her “most perfect victory. I won each of the three legs, and my horse Shutterfly and I jumped without any faults.”
That was a very emotional time for Michaels-Beerbaum as she lost her stepfather just six weeks earlier and he was the man she credits for kicking off of her career with horses. “He was the one who took me to horse shows and spent all the money that he had to buy me horses.”
Since many of her victories come with a Rolex watch as a prize, she now thinks of them as her lucky charm. “I always wear one of my Rolex watches when I am riding,” she admits.
Both 2010 and 2011 hold fond memories for Michaels-Beerbaum. She gave birth to Brianne Victoria in February of 2010 and in 2011 retired her dream horse, Shutterfly.
Michaels-Beerbaum continues on with her Cinderella story riding a new mount. On Fibonacci she led Germany to a Team silver medal at the 2015 European Championships in Aachen, Germany. She also helped the German team claim a bronze medal in the Rio Olympic Games.
For Cinderella, a pair of shoes changed her life. For Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum it was a wonderful stepfather, a prince, a pair of boots, a special horse and that very first Rolex watch.