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November 18, 2010

Sam Returns To Michael Jung—But For How Long?

Lawyers for the Jung family and Sabine Kreuter have reached an agreement that La Biosthetique-Sam FBW will be returned to rider Michael Jung’s barn in Horb, Germany, today, Nov. 18.

A tug-of-war for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games eventing champion began on Nov. 8, when Kreuter, his 60 percent-share owner, took the 10-year-old gelding from the Jungs’ stable in Baden-Württemburg, allegedly without their prior knowledge, to her home in Bavaria.

A few days later, after Kreuter had promised to bring the gelding back but failed to do so, the Jung family, which owns the other 40 percent of the horse, filed for a court order. On Nov. 16, they secured an interim ruling from a judge in Rottweil that Sam must be returned. But the two parties’ lawyers soon after reached an independent agreement.

“We are happy that we reached an out-of-court settlement and did not have to make use of the interim order,” said Michael Jung’s father, Joachim Jung. “First of all, it is important that we have Sam back. This is what we’re the most happy about.”

The Jungs’ lawyer, Gerd Sickinger, released a statement on Tuesday afternoon saying that both parties involved agree that it’s in their own best interests and the interest of the horse to reach a mutual decision about his future. That outcome is still unclear, though.

The partnership’s contract states that after Dec. 31, Kreuter is free to sell the horse, so Jung may well lose the ride on him. The Jungs and their sponsors and supporters have already offered Kreuter 600,000 Euro for her share of the horse, which she refused, and they don’t expect to be able to organize a bigger offer.

“In case of an offer of 2 million Euros or even Pounds, as Sabine Kreuter had declared she would have—without mentioning any concrete name—we would not be able to cope with this amount, and we would have to agree to a sale of Sam,” Joachim said. “Of course, we are willing to offer interested riders the chance to try Sam. But so far, we still have had no requests from anybody to do so, and neither has Sabine Kreuter.

“If we cannot keep Sam, we [at least want to see] a smooth processing of the sale and also to see the money for our share,” Joachim continued. “It's important to us that a final decision is made very soon so we'll know if Michael can ride Sam in the future or not.”

A final decision may not be reached for days or weeks, but both parties’ lawyers are in continuing negotiations, prompted by Germany’s national equestrian federation.