CHIO Aachen directly on the doorstep

By Peter Jegen Of course, caravans with yellow…

By Peter Jegen

Of course, caravans with yellow number plates are stood there. The Netherlands as the partner country of the CHIO Aachen are however not the only reason for experiencing the World Equestrian Festival from a mobile home. This option has already existed for years. And for the grooms of the best jumping and dressage horses, camping at the shows is just as much part of the everyday job as for the team at four-in-hand driving competitions. Whereas the four-legged athletes are housed in stables, their two-legged friends live in horse vans that are equipped with luxurious living compartments.

“When things get tight, I search for a solution,” said Georg Pohen. The farmer has been asked for over a decade whether he can put up several obstacle judges at his farm, Gut Kuckesrath, which is located at the Soers right next to the start of the cross-country course of the four-in-hand drivers and eventers. No sooner said than done. Together with the Aachen-Laurensberger Rennverein he came up with the idea of making an area available for caravans and mobile homes, as well as for the trucks of the diverse exhibitors at the CHIO grounds. The possibility of camping within walking distance from the Main Stadium spread like wildfire.

“Now we already have many guests,” said Pohen, whilst he noted the number plates of two newcomers at the large wooden table in front of his house. As is nearly always the case, they are regular guests. They know how everything works: Pay 30 Euros a night, place the receipt in the windscreen so that it is easily visible and drive to the allocated pitch – and then enjoy. Like on an orderly camping site there is electricity and water, permanently installed showers and toilets. Furthermore, that incredibly unique CHIO Aachen atmosphere is all-in here . The eventers and four-in-hand drivers gallop directly past the caravan door.

In the midst of it all, instead of just being present is of course easier when camping at the CHIO. Living in mobile homes is part of everyday working life for the grooms. These houses on wheels are parked in the middle of the showgrounds. “That is wonderful and very practical,” said Armando Jacobo, whilst the Oldenburg-bred grey mare, Caruschka, is grazing peacefully next to him. The Brazilian groom works for Eduardo Menezes and has no reason to complain. Caruschka won the opening jumping class at the CHIO on Tuesday and his boss had bought a brand new horse truck prior the show.

Costing a six-digit figure, this certainly burns a hole in one’s wallet, but a so-called horse truck like those of the Stephex brand on display in the Aachen Village, always offer every imaginable luxury. On purchasing a lorry to transport horses with, one also gets five-star accommodation to boot – and saves the costs for expensive hotels from then on. “A kitchen, bathroom, shower, toilet, living and sleeping area, TV, fridge,” Armando Jacobo lists the comforts of his accommodation. And he brags proudly that it even has air-conditioning. The Brazilian is working at the CHIO in Aachen as a groom for the first time. Unlike the experienced campers at Pohen’s farm, he can’t possibly know that it is more important to have protection against the rain than against the heat here. The others have namely already dug a ditch around their awning in case it pours with rain.

Lars Volmer on course for victory in Germany’s U25 Jumping Trophy of the German Top Equestrian Sport Foundation, Prize of the Müter Family

The 19-year-old Lars Volmer sped to victory in…

The 19-year-old Lars Volmer sped to victory in the final qualifier for Germany’s U25 Jumping Trophy of the German Top Equestrian Sport Foundation, Prize of the Müter Family with his Oldenburg-bred mare, Maja. The pair reached the finish line around five seconds faster than his fellow competitors.

“Lars, you didn’t need to hurry that much!“, the mother of one of the other riders called over jokingly to Lars Volmer, the winner in the final qualification for Germany’s U25 Jumping Trophy of the Foundation of the German Top Equestrian Sport, Prize of the Müter Family, as he made his way to the prize-giving ceremony. Whereby the 19-year-old hadn’t even really put his foot down that much. Indeed his 10-year-old Oldenburg-bred Contendro daughter, Maja, had even hesitated slightly at the first two obstacles he had noted. After all, she had never set hoof on a grass arena the size of the Main Stadium at the Soers before. “But actually it doesn’t really matter what the arena is like. Maja is good everywhere!” praised her rider. Like today, when the mare sped over the fences to reach the finish line clear in a time of 60.95 seconds and thus beat his fellow competitors by almost five seconds.

Second place went to Vanessa Borgmann with the Westphalian-bred Cornet Obolensky son, Caspar IV in a time of 65.83 seconds. The German Women’s Champion, Laura Klaphake, came third with the just eight-year-old Holsteiner mare, Camalita by Cracker Jack (0/67.28).

Laura Klaphake, who is nominated as the reserve rider for the Mercedes-Benz Nations’ Cup at the CHIO Aachen 2017 tonight, is a good example of the successful concept of the U25 Jumping Trophy. And she is not the only one. The first winner of the Final in the year 2014, Denis Nielsen, won the German Championship title the year after. Guido Klatte Jr., winner in 2015, was second in the World Cup Final in Omaha (USA) in the spring. And Kendra Claricia Brinkop, who claimed the gold ribbon in the Final last year, won the Grand Prix in Oldenburg shortly afterwards.

“We are very grateful to the Foundation and to the Müter family, for making this here possible for us!” the national coach, Heinrich-Hermann Engemann, stressed. “It means we have a unique promotion concept for young talents in Germany, which makes it easier for the riders to make the transition from the U21 tour into top sport. Many nations are very envious of this system!”

Lars Volmer confirmed: “It is a super chance for us to take part at shows that we wouldn’t be able to compete at otherwise. One sees so many good riders there, also from abroad, whom one can pick up the odd tip from.”

He has plenty of opportunity to do just that here in Aachen. Nevertheless he is not more nervous than usual. Lars’ mother revealed that the winner of this year’s Prize of the Best had never had weak nerves. As a pony rider, he was mostly the last to ride at important team competitions. That is notoriously the position that can possibly decide between defeat or victory. Lars is looking forward to the Final of the U25 Jumping Trophy on Saturday. A jump-off will decide the victory. And fast jump-offs are Maja’s speciality said Lars…

Tear-filled triumph in the HAVENS Horsefeed Prize

Helen Langehanenberg is familiar with that feeling when…

Helen Langehanenberg is familiar with that feeling when the German national anthem is played for her in the Deutsche Bank Stadium in Aachen. She experienced it often enough with Damon Hill. However, she was simply speechless when it happened again today. And it brought not only tears to her eyes.

Helen Langehanenberg is back in the fast lane in the dressage arena, admittedly not just since today. But as she said herself: “Winning in Aachen is always something very special!” Her new horse for the big tours is the Hanoverian-bred stallion, Damsey FRH. She has been riding the Dressage Royal son for a year and a half. Since then they have continually improved, “with a few ups and downs,” as the rider commented, but always with an upward trend. Today, is the crowning glory so far. Or to put in the words of Damsey’s American owner, Louise Leatherdale – who also had to contain her tears – “This was perfection!”

Indeed, the Team World Champion and the elegant dark bay stallion delivered a wonderfully, harmonious ride, without any mistakes and full of esprit. The judges awarded the pair a score of 75.9 percent. The Olympic gold-medallist, Heike Kemmer, called over to Helen as she walked by: “I would have given you 78 percent!” The rider herself was in the meantime as good as speechless. Her cheeks were shining. “I came here with the intention of riding to win. And he played along so well and fought so hard for me… I am so proud of him and how we have come together so well!” The next goal is obvious: To deliver a similar performance again on Friday in the Grand Prix Spécial, the Lindt Prize.

Langehanenberg’s victory was all the more significant, because she relegated the dressage queen personally into second place: Isabell Werth with the Westphalian-bred Emilio. Whereby the six-time Olympic gold-medallist made extremely costly mistakes in both the two-tempi and one-tempi flying changes. As a result, the pair who are so used to victory, had to make do with second place. The unbiased members of the judging panel awarded the pair a score of 75.040 percent.

The Danish rider, Anna Kasprzak, was delighted at coming third with a score of 74.320 percent. Not only because of the placing, but also because her in the meantime 18-year-old Donnerhall son celebrated a come-back here in Aachen after a long period of injury. He had to have several teeth taken out. Now he is back again. And in what form! Donnperignon seems to be rather like a red wine – the more mature the better!

Irish victory with the “all-rounder” in the Prize of StädteRegion Aachen

It was an extremely successful day for Ireland’s…

It was an extremely successful day for Ireland’s Cian O‘Connor at the CHIO Aachen 2017! After coming fourth in the Turkish Airlines-Prize of Europe, he jumped to victory in this evening’s jumping competition in two phases, the Prize of StädteRegion Aachen.

“I was lucky that no one beat my time,” was the sober résumé of Cian O‘Connor after his victory in the Prize of StädteRegion Aachen, after jumping clear in 35.39 seconds. His partner in success was the ten-year-old KWPN gelding, Callisto by Quasimodo Z, a horse that according to the Irish rider is good at everything – fast, high, wide – nothing is a problem for him. Last weekend, the pair came third with the Nations’ Cup team in Falsterbo. And now the victory in Aachen, the show that O‘Connor claimed is the “best in the world!”

Second place went to Israel, to Daniel Bluman with the twelve-year-old Corland son, Apardi (0/36.14), followed by Laura Kraut (USA) with the 14-year-old Whitney by Indoctro. The jumping class also proved very successful for Dutch-bred horses. The top five rankings went to KWPN-bred horses.

The best German rider was Marco Kutscher and his Westphalian-bred mare, Chaccorina by Chacco-Blue. The eleven-year-old bay mare, whom Kutscher competed in the World Cup Final last year in Gothenburg with, excelled with a clear round in 39.17 seconds and secured sixth place.

The two shooting stars of the season, Laura Klaphake with the Swedish-bred horse Silverstone G by Diamant de Semilly (0/39.52) and Maurice Tebbel with the Hanoverian-bred Camilla PJ by Calmé (0/39.95) followed in seventh and eighth place, respectively. Behind the two youngsters – Maurice Tebbel is representing Germany tomorrow in the Nations’ Cup and Laura Klaphake is the reserve rider – came the veteran rider Ludger Beerbaum with the Oldenburg-bred Cool Down by Catoki in ninth place (0/40.0).

Boyd Exell wins the Prize of the Firma Horsch, Der Entsorger

The four-in-hand-drivers opened the CHIO Aachen 2017 today…

The four-in-hand-drivers opened the CHIO Aachen 2017 today with the Prize of the Firma Horsch, Der Entsorger, a dressage competition. This class also suffered the impact of the storm that suddenly hit the Soers. Whereby, this didn’t affect the performance of Australian’s eternal winner, Boyd Exell.

The Australian driver, Body Exell, who in the meantime lives in Valkenswaard, the Netherlands, is nearly always a team’s length ahead of his fellow competitors. He once again won the opening class of the four-in-hand competitions on a score of 36.99 minus points. Second place went to the USA, to Chester Weber (41.28 minus points). The driver from the Netherlands, Ijsbrand Chardon, was close at the heels of the competition from overseas, he finished third with a score of 41.86 minus points, followed by his fellow countryman, Koos de Ronde (46.2 minus points).

The best German driver was the former team World Single Harness Champion, Mareike Harm. She delivered the sixth best result of the day (47.94 minus points). Georg von Stein came tenth (53.25 minus points). The recently appointed German Champion, Christoph Sandmann, ranked 14th (54.78). Rainer Duen finished in 16th place (55.62 minus points) and the European Champion Michael Brauchle came 24th of the in total 25 teams (61.06).

Tomorrow the cards will be reshuffled. In the Prize of the Martello Immobilienmanagement GmbH & Co. KG, the drivers will once again be competing in the dressage arena, but this time it in the first competition of the combined team and individual classification.

Anna Kasprzak and her new horse win the Prize of VUV-Vereinigte Unternehmerverbände Aachen

 The Danish dressage rider, Anna Kasprzak, has only…

 The Danish dressage rider, Anna Kasprzak, has only been riding Quarton, the horse that she hopes will be her next star one day, for around two months. A totally justified aspiration as the Prize of VUV-Vereinigte Unternehmerverbände Aachen, the Prix St. Georges, demonstrated today.

Some of Germany’s best talented young horses had to take their places behind Anna Kasprzak and Quarton in the prize-giving ceremony. The eight-year-old Quaterback son left the dressage arena with a score of 72.237 percent. Second place went to Spain, to Juan Matute Guimon and the ten-year-old Don Crusador son, Dhannie Ymas (71.947 percent).

They were followed by the German horses of the future, who qualified for the Nuremberg Burg Cup – the so-called National Championships for Young Horses. Neck and neck as it turned out. The Team World Champion, Helen Langehanenberg with the Belissimo M daughter Brisbane and the master horseman, Hubertus Schmidt in the saddle of the Westphalian stallion Escolar by Estobar, both shared third place with a score of 70.816 percent.

The two team gold-medallists from the Rio Olympics Games, Kristina Bröring-Sprehe and Sönke Rothenberger ranked fifth and sixth. Bröring-Sprehe presented a potential successor to her Olympic horse Desperados, the eight-year-old Destiny, who is incidentally a son of her successful sports partner (70.474 percent). Rothenberger rode the just seven-year-old, Sankt Anton, who competed in his first international class ever here in Aachen (70.342 percent).

Anna Kasprzak was delighted at today’s victory. She has big plans for Quarton. She noticed him at a show at the beginning of the year. She subsequently couldn’t stop thinking about him and after her trainer Andreas Helgstrand rang and told her that he had found out that Quarton not only had very good movements, but also an exceptional talent for piaffe and passage, everything was clear. “I wanted a successor for Pepe (her Championship horse Donnperignon, editor’s note),” Kasprzak explained. She recounted that Quarton is not only very talented, he also has a very good interior: “He is great fun to ride. He is so uncomplicated, not only under the saddle, but while handling him as well.” It was the horse’s first appearance in Aachen. “He was a little jumpy when he entered the stadium,” his rider admitted, “but he carried on going all the same.” And that is precisely what distinguishes a horse with a good interior. How die her show-jumping colleague, Sergio Alvarez Moya, put it yesterday? “In Aachen one recognises the quality of the horses.”

It’s (L)amazing! Eric Lamaze repeats his victory in the Turkish Airlines-Prize of Europe

When Canada’s Eric Lamaze and his equally small…

When Canada’s Eric Lamaze and his equally small and nimble Hanoverian-bred mare, Fine Lady, are in the jump-off, his fellow competitors have to keep on their toes. This was the case again today when the pair repeated last year’s victory in the Turkish Airlines-Prize of Europe. Despite exceptional conditions.

Petrus showed the CHIO Aachen no mercy today. Gale warnings and a storm that quite literally hit the Soers in a flash, led to all competitions having to be interrupted, including also the Turkish Airlines-Prize of Europe. Despite this, 20 pairs still managed to reach the jump-off. Hence 19 pairs, tried to stop last year’s winners, Eric Lamaze and Fine Lady, from claiming their second victory in the first highlight of the CHIO Aachen 201. In vain. Once again in 2017, the pair who claimed the bronze medal at the Olympic Games in 2016 opened their show with a victory. Lamaze and Fine Lady crossed the finish line clear in a time of 42.97 seconds – a time that it was possible to beat, as the Spanish rider Sergio Alvarez Moya and his horse Arrayan demonstrated, namely the pair galloped over the finish line in 42.27 seconds, unfortunately they had knocked over a pole though. That didn’t happen to Fine Lady. The small mare seems to double in size when she enters the ring. Where other horses make up time with their huge canter strides or lose time because they haven’t got a big stride, she beats the clock with her agility. Last year, Eric Lamaze opted not to competing with the mare in the Grand Prix because the Olympic Games were imminent. However, this year he has set his course for Sunday’s highlight: “I already said to myself before the competition: If Fine Lady jumps well today, I will ride her on Sunday in the Rolex Grand Prix.” And she certainly did go well.

That definitely wasn’t easy today, as Ludger Beerbaum, who ranked second in the class emphasised. He was indeed lucky himself. The weather remained calm during his rounds with the Holsteiner mare, Chiara. Other fellow colleagues weren’t as fortunate: “The sky had gone very dark quite a while before. That scares the horses! And then the noise the hooves made in the wet grass after the rain. That is particularly difficult for younger horses. If it hadn’t been for the weather, I am sure we may have had 23/24 clears.” Beerbaum also stressed that nobody can do anything about such conditions and that everyone had done everything possible to protect the horses, riders and spectators.

Eric Lamaze reached the finish line a whole second faster than Ludger Beerbaum, whereas only one hundredths of second separated him and the Irish rider, Bertram Allen, who came third with Molly Malone. Allen took it with humour though, he hadn’t realised it was so close. He praised his horse, the 13-year-old Kannan daughter, whom he said he had already won a few Grand Prix with even in such poor weather conditions as today.

20 pairs in the jump-off – that also raised a few questions. Eric Lamaze’s explanation seemed plausible enough: “It was the opening qualifier for the Major, so it was to be expected that it would be difficult. But the best riders in the world are here, so there are always plenty of clear rounds. It was a difficult job for Frank Rothenberger to build a course that resulted in the right number of clear rounds, however it was a very fair course.”

First U25 Dressage Nations’ Cup, the Prize of the Liselott and Klaus Rheinberger Foundation goes to the Netherlands

2017 is an historical year in the Deutsche…

2017 is an historical year in the Deutsche Bank Stadium. For the first time ever a Nations’ Cup was staged for under 25-year-old dressage riders, the Prize of the Liselott and Klaus Rheinberger Foundation. This premiere helped the Dutch riders to overcome a trauma.

“Aachen always has a special charm for us,” revealed Alex van Silfhout, the Chef d’Equipe of the talented young Dutch dressage riders. And the father of the Olympic rider, Diederik van Silfhout, didn’t just mean the exceptional atmosphere at the Soers, but also the sport itself: “We are never good in Aachen!” He also thinks he knows the reason why: “The Germans are too strong.” However, today Team NED managed to leave the German squad trailing behind them.

With a total score of 145.605, Maxime van der Vlist with Bailey (72.289 percent), Denise Nekeman with Boston STH (68.395 percent) as well as Anne Meulendijks with MDH Avanti (73.316 percent) went down in history of the CHIO Aachen as the first U25 Nations’ Cup winners in the Deutsche Bank Stadium. These three riders are the best that Holland has to offer in this age group, emphasised van Silfhout and added with a laugh: “This year we have no reason to moan!”

The eternal rivals from Germany finished on a total score of 140.868. Things didn’t runs smoothly for the first rider already, Lisa-Maria Klössinger with FBW Daktari, actually one of the strongest German pairs: “The dressage arena is not the same as usual,” ascertained Klössinger, “in terms of its size alone. It intimidated Daktari somewhat.” This was no doubt also a reason why the two had both “highs and lows” today, as the U25 national coach, Sebastian Heinze, put it. Nevertheless, she was still awarded a score of 69.789 percent.

On the other hand, things went well for Bianca Nowag and Fair Play BB. The 22-year-old reported: “I had a great feeling. In the case of Fair Play the more impressive the environment is, the better she performs.” And indeed such a setting triggers off ‘positive nervousness” in herself too, explained Bianca Nowag. No wonder: “One is so proud to be able to compete here,” the 2015 European Champion of the Young Riders stated. She received 71.079 percent and high praise from the national coach to boot: “She demonstrated in the arena, everything we had hoped she would!”

The third member of the team was Juliette Piotrowski with Sir Diamond. The pair were the only ones in the team, who had already competed at the Soers, namely they took part in the U25 Tour last year, albeit without the Nations’ Cup classification. Finishing on a score of 69.789 percent, they didn’t quite live up to their potential today.

Third place with a total score of 140.474 went to the strong trio of Swedish riders Lina Jönsson with Quentin (69.316 percent). Mathilde Hannell with Deela Mae (66.605 percent) and Josefin Gyllenswärd with Don Angelo (71.158 percent).

The conclusion of the U25 national coach, Sebastian Heinze, after the first U25 Nations’ Cup in the Deutsche Bank Stadium was thoroughly positive in spite of the defeat by their eternal rivals from the neighbouring country: “For the riders it is the ideal opportunity to learn how to cope with the pressure. Riding for the team is something completely different rather than when one is just competing for oneself. All three are used to riding at championships, but rubbing shoulders with the stars in Aachen is a completely different game…”

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