Mar 31, 2018 11:32AM
By Anne Walsh
As his last name implies, Christian Heineking is truly king of the horse jumping ring.
He’s won four out of five International Omaha Grand Prix jumping events, and he competed in the 2017 FEI World Cup (the world-class championship event held for the first time in Omaha).
Far from his birthplace in East Germany, Heineking says Omaha has played a unique and seemingly unlikely role in his life—both professionally and personally.
Heineking, 38, grew up around horses owned by his grandfather. As a teenager, he entered the Redefin Federal Stud of Mecklenburg as a riding school student and went on to earn a master certification at the German Riding Academy at Warendorf, completing years of course work in breeding, young horses, and operations, with extensively tested riding ability.
Graduating at the top of his class in 2008, he turned pro and headed to the United States on a two-year visa to experience American show jumping. He met Erin Davis, also an accomplished show jumper, and the two began dating.
That’s when Omaha entered their lives. Davis is friends with Karen Cudmore, an Omaha Equestrian Foundation board member, who eagerly touted the inaugural 2012 International Omaha to the pair.
They have returned each year since, with International Omaha competitions paralleling significant milestones in their lives: dating, engagement, marriage, pregnancy, and the birth of baby Ella.
Heineking’s fast-paced life includes many victories in national and international competitions, all while operating October Hill Farm and Heineking Show Stables near his family’s residence close to Fort Worth, Texas. Still, Omaha holds a special place in his heart.
“International Omaha is well managed and more compact—you have to be ready to compete,” Heineking says. “The people in Omaha are always friendly, and we really like it. It feels like home to me.”Learn more about the 2018 International Omaha here: http://omahamagazine.com/articles/the-horses-are-back/
This article was printed in the March/April 2018 edition of Omaha Magazine.