Arnd Erben Passed Away

Sat, 12/30/2023 - 12:28
Arnd Erben at the 2004 World Young Horse Championships, where he won bronze on Fazzino :: Photo © Astrid Appels

German professional dressage rider and horse dealer Arnd Erben has passed away on 16 December 2023 after a battle against ALS. He was 52 years old. 

Professional Rider

Originally from Iserlohn, Erben first rode show jumping and eventing, but found his love for dressage in 1994 when he began riding and competing the Hanoverian Dachs (by Derwisch x Gutenberg). He shared the ride with his younger brother Till, who later took over the horse. On Dachs Arnd rode his first S-level test. 

Arnd began training with Franz-Josef "Jup" Dahlmann at his stable in Fröndenberg-Neimen. He fell in love with his daughter Juliane Dahlmann and they got married. The couple took over the management of the barn when Jup experienced serious business and health problems. 

Bronze on Fazzino at the 2004 WCYH
In 2005 the couple divorced and in February 2006 Arnd moved to Gestut Kampmann in Lingen as young horse trainer, rider and stable manager. Rudolf Zeilinger had decided to only train some of the horses at Kampmann at that time and left the daily business to Arnd.

Erben didn't stay long in Lingen. He already left in September of the same year and returned home to Iserlohn, where he rented stalls at the yard of Dietrich Walter (father of Sandra Jung-Walther). In this period he became very active as a horse dealer.

Career Horses

Arnd competed a huge string of horses over three decades including Grandeur (by Golf Club), Heureux Alf (by Pretendent), Don Christobal (by Don Gregory), Langazzo (by Lanciano), Fine Feeling (by Florestan), as well as Avallon H, Fair Lady, Wanthano, Florence, Ligoretto, and Medici, amongst others.

His career highlight was in the saddle of Michaela Otte's 6-year old Fazzino (by Florestan x Rivellino xx) with whom he won bronze at the 2004 World Young Horse Championships in Verden. 

He last competed in May 2016 aboard Black Desert (by Desert Moon x Hohenstein), the horse which his clients and good friend Sabine Tesch bought.

Trainer and Horse Dealer

Arnd Erben in 2004
As a trainer he coached students such as Arlene Page, Cesar Parra, Senta and Kim Kirchhoff, Katie Riley, Bart veeze, liz Diegutis, Iris Lüpertz, Sabine Tesch, and Janneke Punte amongst others.

Arlene Page's Italian groom Andrea De Lucchi created an Italian connection in Erben's barn and in August 2016 Italian young rider Leonardo Tiozzo joined Erben's team as an assistant rider until the spring of 2017. Tiozzo replaced Liz Diegutis who decided to return to the U.K. Stefanie Trappe worked as Arnd's right hand in the stable in Iserlohn.

As a horse dealer he sold horses such as Stefano (Beatrice Marienau), Donnerbube and Cabochon (Silvia Rizzo), Florence (Cesar Parra).  In 2016 he bought the young KWPN mare Hannelinde as the price highlight at the Excellent Dressage Sale for 175,000 euro together with Belgian Dominique Mohimont. She is now owned by Norwegian Celina Bådstangen.


In 2018 Erben was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

As the disease progressed, Erben became more incapacitated and moved to the north of Germany in the Flensburg area to live a quiet life with his partner,  Ralph Hombücher, whom he met in 2012 and whom he became inseparable from.

Ralph and Arnd got married in April 2023
In December 2022 a crowd-funding campaign was started to raise money to buy the experimental drug Albrioza which costs 59,000 euro. At that point Arnd's disease had progressed so far that he was almost completely debilitated.  No less than €53,330 euro was raised in a week time.

Arnd married Ralph Hombücher in April  2023. "Our wedding was the most beautiful day in our lives. Arnd just laughed and was so happy," Ralph told Eurodressage.

Two months before his passing, Arnd and Ralph moved back to Arnd's parental home in Iserlohn where he could be close to his family in his final days. He passed away on 16 December 2023. He leaves behind his mother Gislinde, his brothers Till and Guido, husband Ralph, mother-in-law Anita, and many friends.

"It's unbearable and it hurts so much. Arnd was so strong and loved life until the end. Five years with ALS. Now he's done. He fell asleep peacefully in my arms. I miss him so much," a bereaved Ralph stated.

Photos © Astrid Appels - private

Related Links
Fazzino Sold to Julie de Deken
Fascinating Fazzino Completes Florestan Festival at Verden
German Horses Selected for 2006 World Championships for Young Dressage Horses
Oelrich, Erben and Hallam Win at 2005 Oer-Erkenschwick Bundeschampionate Qualifier
Sandro's Match and FBW Deja Vu Win 2006 Bundeschampionate Qualifier in Neuss-Grefrath
Repertoire Triumphs at the 2011 Redefin Bundeschampionate Qualifier