“Today was our day!“ – Marcus Ehning and Stargold win the Rolex Grand Prix

02.07.2023 20:10

What an anniversary! Coinciding with the tenth birthday…

What an anniversary! Coinciding with the tenth birthday of the Rolex Grand Slam in Aachen, there was a German trio on the podium and the heroes of the hour are Marcus Ehning and Stargold.

Five pairs reached the jump-off, three from Germany: Philipp Weishaupt with the nine-year-old Zineday, then the winning pair from 2021, Daniel Deußer with Killer Queen, and Marcus Ehning with Stargold. The two further pairs were the Mexican rider, Eugenio Garza Perez with Contago and the Olympic gold medallist, Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) with Major Tom. They were the first two pairs to go in the jump-off, but both picked up four faults each. Then it was the turn of Weishaupt and Zineday – they were as fast as lightning: 43.36 seconds, but they too knocked a rail. But they were nevertheless still in the lead. Next to go: Deußer and Killer Queen, the winners of the Rolex Grand Prix in Spruce Meadows in 2022 and thus contenders to win a 250,000-Euro bonus. They delivered a super round, fluent, clear in a time of 45.73 seconds, the new leaders.

Marcus Ehning and Stargold entered the ring. The stadium fell silent. One could even hear Stargold’s rhythmic snorting from the top rows of the stand. The stallion didn’t waste a millisecond in the air and nor did Ehning on the ground. He didn’t quite find the right take-off at one fence, the whole crowd gasped, but the rail stayed up. And then they jumped the last obstacle clear, Ehning glanced swiftly to the clock: 45.12 seconds, 1st place. Marcus Ehning tore his helmet from his head, cheered, hugged his stallion’s neck, waved to the crowd, evidently not knowing what to do for pure joy. He had succeeded. For the third time, for the first time with Stargold. What a memorable moment!

He could hardly hold back the tears during the prize-giving ceremony. Stargold on the other hand stood relaxed on a long rein in front of the Rolex Grand Slam Trophy, laughed like a stallion, looked around full of confidence and seemed to be fully aware that he was the hero of the hour. A star that is worth his weight in gold. His rider says he is “probably a bit arrogant, but in a nice way”. And a “real pal”. Ehning’s conclusion: “Today, was our day. I had a good feeling all week. He likes the stadium, he was in super form two weeks ago. But to win the Grand Prix of Aachen is unbelievable!”

It is a good thing he hasn’t been competing the week after Aachen for years. “I decided that because one never knows what might happen. I have had so many good and bad experiences over the years here in Aachen.” But he does know what is going to happen this week: “We will celebrate a nice party!”

It was a very expensive sixth tenths of a second for Daniel Deußer. But he took coming second and missing out on the bonus in his stride: “I am very, very happy with the performance of my horse today. We had three really fantastic clear rounds. I thought the jump-off was good for my feeling. I tried to put a bit of pressure on Marcus. I have mixed feelings, of course I would like to be stand on the winning podium, but even if I had ridden a second faster, Marcus would probably have done the same.“

Philipp Weishaupt, who finished third, certainly hadn’t reckoned on coming under the top three with his just nine-year-old, Zineday. “No one else had such a young horse. So, sitting here on the podium next to these two guys with their experienced Championship horses is a great result. He said knocking the rail was his fault. “I took the oxer too direct, I could have chosen the line a bit better and then it would have took Daniel and Marcus a little bit more to beat us. But to come third here in Aachen with a 9-year-old horse is fantastic!”

And all of this at the anniversary edition of the Rolex Grand Slam in Aachen. CHIO Aachen Head of Sport, Birgit Rosenberg stated: “I think if you saw the competition today, it says it all about this series. Top sport, tradition, the best crowds, the best organisers in the world come together here. The series is fantastic for the sport. Thank you Rolex! The home crowd here in Aachen was superb, I am really proud of these people, they made this week very special.”

Ludger Beerbaum retires from the sport

02.07.2023 18:55

Ludger Beerbaum. A name that has been more…

Ludger Beerbaum. A name that has been more closely connected with the international equestrian sport for the past decades than hardly any other. A name, that is listed on countless winners’ boards worldwide. Today, the 59-year-old announced at the CHIO Aachen that he is ending his sporting career.

A legend leaves the stage. 40,000 spectators in the Main Stadium in Aachen paid witness to the official end of the sporting career of Ludger Beerbaum. A career that began in 1985 in Dublin, Ireland with his first appearance on the German Nations’ Cup team. He represented his country’s equipe 133 times and that was followed by an unbelievable 24 Championship appearances. His lifework: 20 international medals, of which 12 were gold, claiming individual Olympic gold in Barcelona in 1992 was the highlight. The Spanish metropolis was also the place where Ludger Beerbaum retired from the German Nations’ Cup team in 2016. However, he continued competing at international level. Until today. The Rolex Grand Prix at the CHIO Aachen, which he has taken part in an incredible 35 times, was to be his last class. That he had decided and picking up just four faults he impressively demonstrated his riding skills one last time.

A few years ago, the show-jumper already said he didn’t want to be competing at the age of 60. And then he added with a grin. “But I haven’t put that in writing.” Today, on July 2nd, 2023, a few weeks before his 60th birthday on August 26th, the time had come. And he couldn’t have chosen a better venue than the CHIO Aachen, the place that he associates with so many fantastic victories and emotions, for the last lap of honour for Germany’s most successful show-jumper of all time. Beerbaum won the Rolex Grand Prix on the Holy Grass three times and he won the Mercedes-Benz Nations’ Cup with the German team six times at the Soers. So, the sold-out Main Stadium made the perfect setting for the words that Ludger Beerbaum wanted to address to the audience, that had cheered him on over decades and carried him to huge accomplishments: “Aachen is unique. You have all carried me on to success for so many years with your enthusiasm and always stood by me through all my victories and defeats,” he said, whilst the applauding crowd all got up from their seats. And then Ludger Beerbaum thanked his sponsor, Madeleine Winter-Schulze, and his long-standing groom, Marie Johnson, “for everything”, before setting off on his final lap of honour and enjoying the so unique Aachen atmosphere that he had just mentioned beforehand: Standing ovations for a unique career and a sea of white handkerchiefs for a horseman that has written equestrian sport history in Germany.

David Will wins the Prize of BEMER International AG

02.07.2023 16:19

His business partner Richard Vogel was responsible for…

His business partner Richard Vogel was responsible for the ribbons in the big classes at the CHIO Aachen 2023. However, David Will in fact claimed his third victory in one of the classes of the supporting programme today, in the Prize of BEMER International AG..


In the 1.45-metre jumping competition against the clock, the Prize of BEMER International AG, David Will and his eleven-year-old OS gelding, Accoton PS, mastered the course in the fastest time of 60.94 seconds, followed by René Dittmer and the ten-year-old Holstein-bred mare, Corsica by Connor in second place with a time of 62.40 seconds. The French rider, Marc Dilasser, came third in the Allianz-Prize yesterday and he also won the white ribbon today with E2K Abricot Ennemelle, whom he already won the Prize of Handwerk  with on Wednesday. He crossed the finish line just eight hundredths of a second after Dittmer.

15th Oranje victory in the Boehringer Ingelheim Nations’ Cup, Prize of Family Richard Talbot goes to Exell, Chardon best in the Prize of Event Rent GmbH

02.07.2023 16:16

The Dutch drivers were in a class of…

The Dutch drivers were in a class of their own again this year in the Boehringer Ingelheim Nations’ Cup of the Four-in-Hand Drivers and the result in the individual classification, the Prize of Family Richard Talbot, didn’t come as a surprise either.


Today’s Prize of Event Rent GmbH, an obstacle driving competition with a winning round, was the last of the three phases for the four-in-hand drivers and was also the decider in the Boehringer Ingelheim Nations’ Cup and in the individual classification of the Prize of Family Richard Talbot. Ijsbrand Chardon drove into first place in the obstacle course, which he mastered clear in 83.09 seconds. Second place went to Mareike Harm, which allowed her to move up in the overall rankings (see below). Third place went to the Dutch driver, Koos de Ronde, who also drove clear in 86.14 seconds.


Not only Ijsbrand Chardon and Koos de Ronde, Bram Chardon also didn’t pick up any faults in the obstacle course. As such, the Dutch team won the Boehringer Ingelheim Nations Cup for the 15th time in a row. Their overall score was 314.330 minus points.


The German team had moved up one place in the rankings after the Marathon yesterday and they managed to defend their position today. With a total score of 322.860 minus points, Michael Brauchle, Mareike Harm and Georg von Stein asserted themselves against the Belgian team, comprising of Dries Degrieck, Glenn Geerts and Tom Stokmans on a score of 344.640 minus points.


In the individual classification, the Prize of Family Richard Talbot it was once again the Australian driver, Boyd Exell, who lives in the Netherlands, who drove to victory on a combined score of 152.35 minus points, which sufficed to keep his perennial rival, Ijsbrand Chardon, at bay. The Dutch driver completed all three phases on an overall score of 154.63 minus points. Mareike Harm from Germany was able to secure third place on a score of 163.26 minus points.

Tears for Dalera in the Deutsche Bank Prize

02.07.2023 15:27

The best part comes last. And on the…

The best part comes last. And on the dressage arena in Aachen that is the Grand Prix Freestyle, the Deutsche Bank Prize. The names of Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and TSF Dalera BB will decorate the board of the eternal winners for the first time.


The wonderful freestyle routine of Jessica von Bredow-Werndl und TSF Dalera BB begins with the classic by Caterina Valente: “Ganz Paris träumt von der Liebe“ (The whole of Paris dreams of love”. The title of the songs vary during the course of the test, but the love between the rider and her horse was tangible in every hoof step today. Dalera may not have stood quite still by the salute again, eager to commence, but that really was the only fault this exceptional pair made today. Dalera danced, Jessi led, lightly, inconspicuously, wonderful. Finally, the last salute, Jessica hugged her mare’s neck, the crowd stood up and cheered them. Jessi waved to the crowd and wiped her teary eyes. “I was very emotional, as everyone could see,” she confirmed later. “It is because of this incredible mare. She leaves her heart in there for me.  It is the arena that affects me, it such a pleasure to perform there and she always listens to me. Yesterday I had big mistakes because I made the wrong decisions, today I didn’t take any wrong decisions so we had no mistakes, because she just listens to me…” Once again her eyes welled up with tears. “I just wanted to add that it has always been my childhood dream to be on the winners’ board.“

It is not the first dream that Dalera has fulfilled for the Olympic gold medallist, European Champion and World Cup winner. Now she also has an entry on the eternal best list in the Deutsche Bank Prize.


The week in Aachen came to a close with a fantastic second place for the Danish team World Champion, Nanna Skodborg Merrald with her World Cup runner-up, Blue Hors Zepter. The judges awarded the pair 88.730 percent for their performance, which was a demonstration of the classic schooling of horses. That was her best Freestyle result to-date. Aachen was only the pair’s fourth competition together. They  have only been working together for just over six months. The chestnut gelding is 15-year-old. Or young, depending on how you look at it. Because together with his new rider he is in better form than ever. And Nanna is convinced that they haven’t exploited his potential. Because like Dalera, Nanna said Zepter is a horse that has “a big heart and always want to fight for you”. That is what makes him so special. “I now just have to figure out how much I can ask of him and what is too much. I actually found some new buttons here in Aachen. No, I don’t think we have reached the limit in his potential yet.“


Third place went to the partner country, Great Britain, thanks to Charlotte Dujardin and Imhotep. The British rider, Charlotte Dujardin, once set a world record to the Freestyle she performed today. That was with the legendary Valegro, whose horseshoe decorates the Walk of Fame in Aachen. Her new Valegro is called “Pete” and at least as a “youngster” – which is not all that long ago, he is only ten – he was so wild that Dujardin and her trainer Carl Hester decided it would be best for him to live out 24 hours a day. “He bucked everyone off,” revealed Charlotte. He is not quite as wild in the meantime, but he still lives out at grass round the clock together with a friend, when he is not out following in Valegro’s hoof steps, like today. Those are mighty hoof steps to fill, but he is certainly on the right track. He already came third today with a score of 88.415 percent, which is also a new personal record for him and his rider is convinced there’s plenty of room for development: “Pete is a very young, inexperienced horse, so I am delighted with the result. But there is more to come!”



The NetAachen-Prize goes to Thibault Philippaerts and Belgium

02.07.2023 11:41

The Belgian Nations’ Cup riders dominated the second…

The Belgian Nations’ Cup riders dominated the second competition of the NetAachen-Prize, the Young Riders jumping competition with a jump-off.


The Young Riders opened the final day at the CHIO Aachen 2023 with the NetAachen-Prize. The first national anthem that rang out today, was the Belgian anthem, namely for Thibault Philippaerts and his just eight-year-old, Kannan son, Pompidou van het Kuilenhof. The 21-year-old rider jumped clear in 38.11 seconds, pushing his fellow countryman Thibeau Spits back into second place. The latter had saddled the chic Zangersheide-bred stallion, Calvino II de Nyze Z by Calvaro Z and the pair crossed the finish line in 40.76 seconds. The reigning European Champion of the Juniors from Finland, Jone Illi, came third. However, he didn’t compete with his European Championship horse, Eolita L, but instead with the also Finnish-bred gelding, Celtas Quillian by Uriko. The just 15-year-old (!) took 41.97 to master his first jump-off at the Aachener Soers.


Thibault is the second youngest of the four Philippaerts brothers. He reported that he had ridden in the Deutsche Bank Stadium once during the COVID pandemic, but that Friday and today was the first time he’d competed in the Main Stadium. “I am very happy!,” he said overjoyed. “It is a young horse and still very inexperienced. I am really happy to have won in the big arena of Aachen! That’ always been one of my dreams.”

Australian/Swedish trio jumps, runs and drives to victory in the MERKUR Casino-Cup

01.07.2023 23:56

The Soers rocked as six triathlon teams, each…

The Soers rocked as six triathlon teams, each comprising of an eventer and a show-jumper as well as a four-in-hand team attempted to outtrump each other in the MERKUR Casino-Cup. The Australian/Swedish trio won in the end.


Andrew Hoy (AUS) with Cadet de Beliard, Fredrik Spetz (SWE) with Lexus and Boyd Exell (AUS) with Bajnok, Barny, Maestoso Jupiter and Neapolitano Nimrod in front of the carriage left their fellow competitors trailing behind in the MERKUR Casino-Cup, a combined jumping, eventing and driving competition that is staged as a relay race.

After achieving a score of 165.28 points, they left the neighbouring countries out in the cold: Lara de Liederkerke-Meier from Belgium with Pumpkin de la Liniere as the cross-country specialist, Jur Vrieling with El Rocco (who already won the Feinkost Käfer-Prize yesterday, the speed and handiness competition over ditches and banks) in the show jumping and the driver from the Netherlands, Bram Chardon. The team achieved a combined score of 165.85 which put them into second place.

Until the above two trios hit the Soers by storm, Team 2 had headed the field: Gemma Stevens (GBR) with Santiago Bay over the solid obstacles, Pim Mulder with Ibylle over the show jumping course and the Swiss driver Jérôme Voutaz with his four Freiberger horses in front of the carriage. This trio finished on an overall score of 168.36 points.

Isabell Werth and Emilio conjure up an opera feeling in the Deutsche Bank Stadium in the IWEST-Prize

01.07.2023 23:56

The rain was pouring down and so were…

The rain was pouring down and so were the emotions – Isabell Werth and Emilio impressed the crowd in the Grand Prix Freestyle, the IWEST-Prize and celebrated their last joint performance together in the Deutsche Bank Stadium.


It is his last time in Aachen and one had the impression that Emilio was aware of that. As always to a potpourri of Italian opera classics, he didn’t put a hoof wrong. On the contrary, it seemed like he was having fun dancing to the music. He literally celebrated the final piaffe on the centre line. Werth took one hand from the rein, went into passage, and did the final halt (all one-handed) and then there was no stopping the crowd. The spectators had stayed till the bitter end despite the rain, waiting for this moment and Emilio didn’t disappoint his audience. A total success, the judges awarded the pair a score of 84.590 percent, a clear victory – the 55th in the long career of the meanwhile 17-year-old gelding, that is to come to an end at the end of the year. An emotional Isabell Werth said, “I am super happy!! That Emilio has put in such a final performance here – is fantastic!! That really was super!” There is nothing to add to that. Except: “You can simply rely on him! The youngsters really should follow his example.”


During Werth’s test there was someone stood at the entrance following every movement of the pair in the arena: Nanna Skodborg Merrald. She had been in the lead with Don Olymbrio up until then with 82.855 percent. But Werth’s performance put her back into second place. But she wasn’t sad: “That was the best freestyle I have ever ridden with him. He was completely by me the whole time, managed that really well with the music and I am totally satisfied!”


Sönke Rothenberger and Matchball were delighted to come third, which is their greatest international achievement to-date. The pair have only been a team for just over six months. They demonstrated how well they have grown together with a 78.250 percent round tonight.

Pauline von Hardenberg wins the “Silver Camera”

01.07.2023 23:39

The equestrian sport has many faces, it tells…

The equestrian sport has many faces, it tells exciting stories and it can be incredibly emotional. The prize-giving ceremony of the “Silver Camera” proved that again on Saturday evening, when the best sport photo of the year was selected.

What distinguishes a good photo? The motif? The technical quality? The moment? The atmosphere? A star-studded jury have to answer this question every year, because the organisers of the CHIO Aachen, the Aachen-Laurensberger Rennverein e.V. (ALRV), traditionally confer the “Silver Camera” for the best international equestrian sport photo of the year. 140 photographs had been submitted, but only one could win. This year the German show-jumper, Jana Wargers; last year’s winner, Mirka Nilkens; Andreas Müller (CEO Medienhaus Aachen) and ALRV board member, Birgit Rosenberg were responsible for selecting the winners and runners-up.

The entry submitted by Pauline von Hardenberg convinced the high-calibre jury the most. Her photo, which captured an exceptional moment during the 2022 World Championships in Herning, Denmark, particularly stood out among the submitted entries because of its perfect interplay between emotion and technique. Second place went to the photographer Diana Wahl, who shot a photo of an intimate moment at the exit of the Deutsche Bank Stadium. The photographer from Aachen, Andreas Steindl, came third with an impressive encounter between a carriage and a rainbow.

The “Silver Camera” is awarded by the Aachen-Laurensberger Rennverein and was initiated by the artist, Wolfgang Lamché. The prize was presented on Saturday evening by the ALRV Supervisory Board member, Peter Weinberg. The winner receives prize money to the value of 2,500 Euros, second place is endowed with 1,000 Euros and third place with 500 Euros.

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