STAWAG Opening Jumping Competition goes to the partner country

This year’s CHIO Aachen partner country got off…

This year’s CHIO Aachen partner country got off to a successful start! Thanks to Olivier Robert the French flag was the first to fly over the Aachen Soers in the Main Stadium after the STAWAG Opening Jumping competition.


470 metres, twelve obstacles standing 1.45 metres high, 14 fences, 51 horse and rider pairs – these were the ingredients for the STAWAG Opening Jumping Competition. The French show-jumper, Olivier Robert, delivered the fastest clear round riding the Anglo-Arab mare, Vadrouille d’Avril: the clock stopped at 67.59 seconds.

He hadn’t actually set out to win, Robert reported after the last notes of the French national anthem had rung out in the Soers. “But, of course I am absolutely delighted! “He added that he didn’t realise he had been that fast, but then admitted. “But the mare has a lot of thoroughbred in her.” And as everyone knows, that is normally accompanied by a scopey canter stride.

Vadrouille d’Avril is actually Robert’s speed horse. He had originally only planned bringing her to Aachen for the combined jumping, eventing and driving competition. But after having to withdraw the horse he had actually foreseen for the opening jumping competition, he opted for Vadrouille d’Avril as the replacement. She showed her gratitude in an apt way.


Second place went to the USA, Laura Kraut with her just 8-year-old Selle Français stallion, Berdenn de Kergane, they crossed the finish line in a time of 68.28 seconds. The Quaprice Bois Margot son impressed the crowd with his huge scope, which indicated that 1.45 metre fences are certainly not the limit for him.


The mare that finished third still has her whole future ahead of her too: Marcus Ehning’s eleven-year-old Calanda by Calido. She is well-familiar with the Soers, she namely won the Final of the Youngsters Tour here in 2016 – as an eight-year-old. It hadn’t been Marcus Ehning aim to come under the top ten either. “Many of the riders used this course as a training round. But the mare is fast by nature!” Which meant he could play it cool and still managed to reach the finish line in a speedy time: 70.27 seconds.

Even if Calanda is acquainted with the Soers, it is going to be her first year in the Big Tour. Ehning’s championship horse, Pret a Tout, whom he won the Grand Prix of Aachen with last year, is currently taking a break from competitions, he has actually started training again, but is not yet back in top form for Aachen. So, Marcus Ehning has brought Calanda, Cristy and Funky Fred with him to Aachen for the demanding classes. Ehning doesn’t doubt that Calanda has plenty of potential: “She is a horse that offers all possibilities. But her temperament makes her rather difficult to handle.” The mare is very sensitive and spooky, is how Ehning described her. But the good thing is that she is always totally focused when jumping.


This leaves the rider, who won team bronze at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon, optimistic regarding the next few days. It is Ehning’s 22nd year at the Soers. It is therefore not surprising that he says: “It is a bit like my home here…“

CHIO Aachen 2019: Vet check – jumping horses

In the scope of the veterinarian examinations that…

In the scope of the veterinarian examinations that are obligatory for all participants prior to the start of the jumping competitions of the CHIO Aachen 2019, three horses were called into the holding box. After trotting up the second time, the veterinarians awarded two of the three horses permission to compete. The third candidate, Garfield de Tiji, the horse of the Belgian rider, Jérôme Guery, was on the other hand not accepted.


This year’s CHIO partner country, France, was given…

This year’s CHIO partner country, France, was given a wonderful reception on the Aachen marketplace, indeed it was a festival of German/French friendship.

The CHIO Aachen mascot Karli and Trop Top, the mascot of the FFE already revealed that much before the official starting signal was sounded on the marketplace, since they were already seen hugging each other on their first rendezvous. Together with their colleagues Astérix and Obelix, they conquered the hearts of the many of the spectators, who were gathered around the market square in no time at all. As did the many other performers, who paraded down the cobbled walkway in the heart of the city on Monday evening giving a foretaste of the show programme that will be offered over the coming days of the show, including first and foremost the Opening Ceremony. The colourful procession was not only made up of wonderful Camargue horses, the whole diversity of the French draught horses and magnificent carriages from the French national stud, Haras Nationaux du Pin, members of the Garde Républicaine and the best French pony riders on cute Shetland ponies were also on board.


In addition to “Le Bagad de Lann-Bighoué”, the “Trompes du Pays de France” under the direction of Arnaud Gritti provided the fitting musical accompaniment.
The exceptional convoy of carriages, which travelled from the Soers to the market square was traditionally headed by the City Riders of Aachen. They also safely escorted France’s Minister of Sports, Roxana Maracineanu, and Anne-Marie Descôtes, the French Ambassador in Germany, to the pulpit of the Town Hall. “Aachen is a symbolic place for the alliance between Germany and France. So, we are very proud be such a special part of the CHIO Aachen this year,” the Minister commented, visibly impressed. Carl Meulenbergh was also delighted with the choice of this year’s partner country: “In France, we have found an extremely horse-loving nation as our partner country, which will inspire us throughout the entire week with splendid show performances.” Aachen’s Lord Mayor, summed up the mood of the evening in a nutshell: “Today, we are all a little bit French.”

30,000 at Soers Sunday

Coincidences sometimes happen at the CHIO Aachen too:…

Coincidences sometimes happen at the CHIO Aachen too: The 21st Soers Sunday, the “Open Day” with free admission fell on July 14th this year. This date is of course also France’s national holiday. And France is the official partner country of the CHIO Aachen this year! And voilà: The perfect combination was born.

So it was clear that Eiffel Tower “en miniature” in the “Rue France” in the CHIO Aachen Village was one of the most popular motifs for snapshots of all kinds on Soers Sunday. But that wasn’t the only place plenty of things could be discovered. Around 30,000 visitors made sure they didn’t miss out on the special combination between an exciting supporting programme, shopping in the CHIO Aachen Village comprising of over 230 exhibitors in 250 tens, culinary offers and taking a stroll. The perfect family day out or excursion with friends!

Even before the gates officially opened at 10 o’clock, the first curious visitors were queuing up at the main entrance. A short time later, the grounds were already crammed full. The event programme kicked off at 11.30 a.m. in the Deutsche Bank Stadium with a festive Ecumenical Service following the motto “Hubertus Mass – safely guided on eagles’ wings”. But not only eagles, also horses, dogs and falcons were part of this special, open-air mass. The impressive animals of the Hellenthal Wild Park made a further appearance later on in the scope of a colourful afternoon show on the show jumping warm-up area. They were also in good company. After being greeted by the CHIO Aachen mascot, Karli, diverse performers took to the spacious arena, which was lined by crowds of spectators. A drag hunt presented by the Rheinisch-Westfälischen Schleppjagdverein e.V., as well as the five disciplines at the CHIO Aachen were on the not-to-be-missed list of events. Together with the partner country France and its famous Camargue horses as well as the “Connemara Show Team”, which performed a diversified show act comprising of 20 ponies in total under the motto “Irish Connemaras visiting France”. At the same time, many visitors watched the “CIAT – International Traditional Driving Tournament” in the Driving Stadium. A wonderful sight: The wonderful “green” of the Driving Stadium, magnificently turned-out, historical carriages and drivers in traditional costumes.

But there was even more for the smaller visitors to discover on Soers Sunday: For example pony riding, visiting the playing trailers of the Rhenish State Youth and the exciting “Children’s Educational Trail”, which equipped with a stamp card involves the children discovering various stations.

And the social aspect also didn’t get a raw deal on Soers Sunday either. In the scope of the “Lucky Moments Campaign” charity cooperation, the four therapy centres from the region put in a show performance entitled “Vive la France – Therapeutic Riding in Aachen” for the public on the jumping practice area, whilst volunteers collected donations for the campaign all over the showgrounds. The Carnival Prince elected for 2020, Martin Speicher accompanied by his court, actively supported the campaign this year under the motto “All inKlusiVe!”.