German dressage coach Holger Schmezer died April 19 in his hotel room at ‘s-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands while coaching for the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Finals. He was 65.
Mr. Schmezer, the son of a naval officer, began riding in modern pentathlons at age 15. Although he initially focused on jumping and eventing, he transitioned to dressage and spent four years training with Willi Schultheis. In 1980 he turned professional and won more than 100 national competitions.
In 1996, he became the national dressage trainer for the German junior and young rider teams, and in 2001 he transitioned to train the senior team. He had decided to resign after the 2012 London Olympic Games with plans to coach individual students instead, leaving the job to co-trainer Jonny Hilberath.
He traveled to the Netherlands to coach the German riders Isabell Werth, Nadine Capellmann and Helen Langehanenberg. Following the news of his death, the riders competed on April 20 wearing black armbands in honor of Mr. Schmezer.
“The loss of Holger Schmezer is a terrible blow to the German Dressage team and to lose such an inspirational coach in an Olympic year is tragic,” said FEI President HRH Princess Haya.
At this time, the cause of death is unknown. He is survived by his wife Martha and 6-year-old daughter Olenka.