A lasting passion
A passion for horses and riding is something that Ann Kathrin Linsenhoff has possessed from birth. She was born in Düsseldorf on 1st August 1960 and is the daughter of Liselott Linsenhoff, the famous dressage rider. Her grandfather, VDO magnate Adolf Schindling, founded the competition yard Schwarz-Gelb (Black-Yellow) in Kronberg.
Ann Kathrin Linsenhoff was given her first pony when she was three years old; at 15 she was already competing in the German Championships.
She celebrated her first title wins in 1981: that year she was part of the winning team at the European Junior Championships in Rotterdam and gained a bronze medal in the individual competition. She has enjoyed international renown since the 1987 European Championships that were held in England, where she won individual silver and team gold. These successes were followed by team gold at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul and further titles.
Always looking ahead
But Ann Kathrin Linsenhoff never concentrated exclusively on dressage. In 1987 she graduated in veterinary studies from Giessen University, and in 1991 her son Moritz was born. This marked the start of a quieter period for the rider, although she continued to take part in competitions.
Her mother, described by Ann Kathrin Linsenhoff as “my idol”, died in 1999. She was the first woman to achieve Olympic gold in dressage at the Munich Games in 1972.
At this point a new phase in Ann Kathrin Linsenhoff’s private and sporting life began: in August 2001 her daughter Liselott-Marie was born, and shortly afterwards the sportswoman rode her way back to world-class success with her new horses Renoir-UNICEF, Wahajama-UNICEF and Sterntaler-UNICEF. Then, at the beginning of 2007, a protracted borrelia infection that was diagnosed too late forced the Olympic champion to give up active competition earlier than planned.
But she cannot and does not want to give up her passion entirely. And so Ann Kathrin Linsenhoff still rides every day with her husband Klaus-Martin Rath and enjoys the feeling of working with top-class horses.
“The best way of predicting the future is to help shape it”
Another key part of Ann Kathrin Linsenhoff’s life is her social commitment. In 2002 the mother of two set up the Ann Kathrin Linsenhoff UNICEF Foundation under the umbrella of UNICEF. Since then she has already managed to raise more than 4 million euros for children in need.
Since April 2008 Ann Kathrin Linsenhoff has also been on the committee of UNICEF Germany, of which she is deputy chairman.