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Erwin Escher: 1959 – 2016

Erwin Escher: 1959 – 2016

 Erwin-Escher. Credit Gudrun Waiditschka

The blackest week in our industry in a long time continued in May as, just a matter of days after the passing of Sigi Siller, Erwin Escher also passed away very suddenly. Just like the ‘in memoriam’ piece I have just written for Sigi, I really cannot believe that I am writing this.

Erwin was a renowned international Arabian horse photographer and also, with his wife Annette, the co-owner of the Rothenberg Stud in Bavaria, Germany. They specialised in straight Egyptian and black Egyptian Arabians and, over the years, they enjoyed much success both in and out of the show-ring.

Erwin with GR Bint Shadwan ©Anne e Escher

Born in 1959, Erwin had a lifelong love of horses and he was just 16 years old when he purchased his first Arabian horse. It was in the 1980s that he met Annette and together, in 1985, they formed the Rothenberg Stud. The stud was founded on two Asil mares, with a couple of foals born every year. Very early on, however, the focus changed to the Egyptian Arabian. “It was always our goal to breed straight Egyptians,” explained Annette. “Erwin always wanted to be as close as possible to the original Arabian and for him, this was the Egyptian Arabian.”

From those early days, followed by imports from the United States in the early 1990s, the rich history of Rothenberg Stud began. It was in 1995 when Erwin encountered the stallion that he loved so much – Classic Shadwan (Alidaar x Shagia Bint Shadwan by Shadwan). “Erwin fell in love with Classic Shadwan the moment he saw him,” explains Annette. “He was one of the most classic and dry horses around, but he was also very much a masculine Arabian stallion. With Erwin’s desire for the Arabians to be as close to the desert as possible, Classic Shadwan was the ideal addition to Rothenberg as he was 100% ‘desert’ in expression. Classic Shadwan was totally Erwin’s dream horse.”

Classic Shadwan passed away in 2009, an event that hit Erwin and Annette hard, but they picked up the reins of their breeding programme and carried on.

Erwin’s favourite horse, Classic Shadwan.© Erwin escher

With his passion for horses, it was almost natural that Erwin would pick up the camera and record them through his lens. From his early photographs, a career would blossom that took Erwin all over the world – from the Middle East to America, and all that was in between. He was a familiar, friendly face at the shows, always capturing horses and people on camera, and freely passing on advice to all that asked for it.

I don’t think that any of us expected Erwin to pass away so soon. I last saw him in Dubai – his typical greeting of “hey girlie” still makes me smile, even writing this. Little did I know that it would be the very last time I would see him.

Erwin attended the Wels Show in May, and then went to Berlin for the show there. He spoke to Annette from his hotel room – she was delighted to tell him that they had three fillies born that very night, and Erwin went to sleep happy. He never woke up again.

It really is true that it is hardest for those left behind, and all our thoughts are with Annette as she comes to terms with the huge loss of Erwin. They still had so much to do together, so many plans, and now these plans are no more than faded dreams.

Frankfurt 2009 with Gudrun Waiditschka.

The shows will be an emptier place without Erwin’s smile, grinning up to friends in the stands while he captures the action in the show-ring. Thank you for all that you did, and all that you gave us. Rest in peace, my friend.

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