Flash Quotes: Laura Klaphake

Flash Quotes: Laura Klaphake How did the CHIO…

Flash Quotes: Laura Klaphake

How did the CHIO Aachen kick off for you?

Klaphake: I have brought four horses to Aachen with me – two horses for 5* classes, a youngster and a horse for the U25 competition. I rode, Carmina, a very inexperienced horse in the Sparkassen-Youngsters-Cup yesterday. She did well considering that. Because for an inexperienced horse it is very unnerving here in Aachen. Then I rode Bantou Balou in the STAWAG Opening Jumping. Overall I am satisfied.

A small review of the past months, when a great deal has happened in your life: How was it for you?

Klaphake: 2017 was an incredibly successful year for me. I hadn’t reckoned with it at all. I tried to be as relaxed as possible in all of the classes, which worked most of the time. After my successful ride in the Rolex Grand Prix in Aachen last year, I was also allowed to compete in Gothenburg and Barcelona too. That was fantastic!

Do you remain cool there?

Klaphake: I simply try to stay relaxed. But at the end of the day I am not a machine and neither is the horse. We do our very best, but one always has to wait and see how things turn out. One also has to make sure that one continues to enjoy riding and that the horses do as well and that one forms a great team together with one’s partner, the horse.

What are your goals – short-term for the CHIO Aachen and long-term for the World Equestrian Games in Tryon?

Klaphake: Of course, here at the CHIO Aachen I would like to qualify for the Rolex Grand Prix, which is not so easy. If I manage that, it would of course be wonderful to receive a nomination for Tryon. But a lot of different factors have to come together for that to happen. We will definitely try our very hardest and see what happens in the end! Catch me if you can is certainly a huge fighter – I think it wouldn’t make a difference what I place in front of him here, he would jump over it. And when things are important, he can really focus well.

A Chinese summer fairytale at the Soers

Sometimes quiet, sometimes loud, sometimes philosophical, sometimes warlike…

Sometimes quiet, sometimes loud, sometimes philosophical, sometimes warlike – the Opening Ceremony at the CHIO Aachen 2018 was colourful and full of surprises!


The partner country China presented a cultural, artistic and musical extravaganza in a class of its own in front of the crowd in the sold-out Main Stadium. 40,000 spectators enjoyed the open-air, floodlit show performance while the sun was setting. Around 250 horses and 1,000 participants, including many extras turned the 90-minute official opening event of the World Equestrian Festival into a wonderful evening.


But even before the German show-jumper Laura Klaphake and her Chinese colleague, Mei Mei Zhu – the only Chinese athlete competing this year – officially opened the CHIO Aachen 2018 with a brief speech, tribute was paid to an outstanding show-jumper: Hans Günter Winkler, who passed away at the beginning of July. A moving moment in the Main Stadium. A small remembrance ceremony for “HGW” will be held in the late afternoon on Wednesday.

Under the motto “Huanying China” (Welcome China) many different groups impressively conjured up the fascination of the partner country on the “Holy Grass”. Not only a kung fu show with 60 kung fu fighters, a “Yin & Yang” riding and dance choreography comprising of 100 riders and 100 dancers, the Terracotta Army as well as a lion and dragon dance were further items on the show’s agenda. Furthermore, the children’s choir of the Chinese School also made an appearance accompanied by the mezzo-soprano Sissi Qi Wang and 150 children holding Chinese lanterns. The music formed the background for a danced fashion show performed by the traditional Club of Chinese Scientists and Students, clad in traditional Chinese costumes.


The performance of the Chinese National Circus was one of the highlights of the evening. The artists amazed the crowds with vase juggling, diabolo, contorsion, handstand and Tai-Chi acts all performed on horse-drawn carriages decorated with Chinese lanterns. The drummers of the “Manao Drums of China” group also impressed the audience with strength, power and plenty of rhythm. They already opened the Olympic Games in Peking in 2008 with their drum roll, ten years later they opened the show at the Soers with their captivating musical choreographies. The crowning finale of the Opening Ceremony was a wonderful firework display that illuminated the evening sky at the Soers.

Celebrities at the Media Night

The red carpet is traditionally rolled out for…

The red carpet is traditionally rolled out for the horses at the renowned World Equestrian Festival, CHIO Aachen. However, on one evening the interest of the photographers shifts to the entrance of the Champions’ Circle, when the guests from the media and sport, society, politics and business circles arrive for the CHIO Aachen Media Night.

It is THE gala evening at Germany’s largest sporting event. And it is also always the catwalk for many personalities in the public eye. For Lilly Becker it was the first public appearance since the separation from her husband, Boris Becker. She came to Aachen accompanied by the entrepreneur, Jens Hilbert, “It is a totally new world for me, very exciting and very nice.” The actress Uschi Glas, the Minister for Health Jens Spahn, the actor Heino Ferch and his wife Marie-Jeanette also visibly felt at home, as well North Rhine-Westphalia’s Prime Minister Armin Laschet and Elisabetta Canalis. The model was invited to the Soers by the co-host, Hermann Bühlbecker. All of the guests not only enjoyed the Media Night, but were also enchanted by the CHIO Aachen Opening Ceremony that was characterised by this year’s partner country, China. Afterwards, they celebrated in the Champions’ Circle until the early hours – and enjoyed exquisite catering prepared among others by the star chef, Harald Wohlfahrt.

First class of the Sparkassen-Youngsters-Cup goes to Daniel Deußer’s Killer Queen

Her name is frightening, but actually Daniel Deußer’s…

Her name is frightening, but actually Daniel Deußer’s eight-year-old mare, Killer Queen, only kills metres in the ring. And obstacles that are stood in her way. Like today in the first of three trials in the Sparkassen-Youngsters-Cup.


Naturally, the Sparkassen-Youngsters-Cup is – as the name would suggest – a competition for young horses. Nevertheless, the obstacles are 1.40 metres high. However, Daniel Deußer and his Belgian warmblood mare, Killer Queen by Eldorado van de Zeshoek, let the course look like a beginner’s class for young horses. They galloped to the finish line clear in the best time of 70.57 seconds. Daniel Deußer: “I didn’t actually put my foot down, but if one had counted the canter strides, I bet she took four less than the other horses. She simply has a huge canter.”

And not only that, she also has the attitude that horses need to be able to excel in a stadium like the Soers: “She has a lot of temperament, lots of thoroughbred in her, but an extremely clear head,” is how her rider describes her. “It doesn’t matter where, she always jumps brilliantly, she doesn’t let herself be distracted by anything.” She demonstrated this impressively today – Deußer incidentally was of the same opinion: “The way she jumped here today, I am convinced that she will also compete here in the Prize of Europe or Prize of NRW in one or two years’ time!”


Daniel Deußer can drink a toast with his yard and training colleague, Lorenzo de Luca, later today. The Italian show-jumper was namely in the lead with his also eight-year-old Evita van’t Zoggehof by Golden Hawk until Deußer came and relegated him into second place (71.34 seconds). Marcus Ehning finished third with the Wesphalian-bred For Contest-daughter, Filippa K, followed by Christian Ahlmann and Cornwell by Cornado.


Interesting for breeding fans


Both the Italian rider de Luca and Daniel Deußer are at home in Belgium and ride for the Stephex Stables, who also own both horses. And that is not the only thing they have in common. Both of their mares were bred in Belgium, the one is registered as a BWP (Belgisch Warmbloedpaard), the other as a SBS (Belgium Sporthorse). Both descend from extremely successful mare lines.

Killer Queen’s dam, Derly Chin de Muze, carried the Canadian rider, Eric Lamaze, over the Olympic course in London in 2012. The other dams Werly Chin, Qerly Chin and Kerly were also highly successful at international level.

Evita van’t Zoggehof’s grand dam, the Selle Français mare, Fragrance de Chalus by Jalisco produced a stallion that is also well-known in Aachen, Mylord Carthago (Pénélope Leprevost/FRA) as well as diverse further international sports horses and graded stallions. Which points out once again that breeding certainly isn’t a matter of chance!

CHIO Aachen: Dressage/Driving – all horses passed the vet check

Today the dressage horses for the Small and…

Today the dressage horses for the Small and Big CDI Tour as well as for the U25 competitions were inspected by the veterinarians. All of the horses passed the vet check. The participants of the Nations Cup will present their horses tomorrow at 11 a.m.


The four-in-hand driving horses were also examined today and these too all passed the vet inspection.

CHIO Aachen: Aachen newcomer Mathieu Billot wins the STAWAG Opening Jumping

First time at the Soers, first competition, first…

First time at the Soers, first competition, first victory – his debut at the CHIO Aachen couldn’t have gone better for the French rider, Mathieu Billot.


After reaching the finish line over two seconds faster than the rest of the field, Mathieu Billot and his twelve-year-old Selle Français stallion, Shiva d’Amaury, claimed the victory in the STAWAG Opening Jumping. Whereby, the elated winner revealed that hadn’t even planned to do so. “I wanted to be fast, but I hadn’t actually consciously decided to ride to win,” the 32-year-old, who is at home in Normandy, to be more precise at the Deauville equine stronghold. All the better when that turns out to be the result!

He has been riding at top level for around five years. But he has never been to Aachen before. He has the horse that carried him to victory today to thank for this premiere: Shiva d’Amaury. Billot has been riding the For Pleasure son since he was a five-year-old. Together they have won Nation cups and Grand Prix. And now they are at the Soers. The next target for the pair is the Turkish Airlines Prize of Europe. Billot was quite surprised himself at today’s victory. But he has set himself high goals for tomorrow: “Shiva d’Amaury is a Grand Prix horse!”


Second place went to the Swedish show-jumper, Henrik von Eckermann, a veteran at the show in Aachen. He already rode there for the Beerbaum Stables clad in the customary grey jacket. He has in the meantime been self-employed for several years and has reaped just as much success. The horse that earned the silver rosette for him today, is however a newcomer to his yard: Que Bueno de Hus Z by Que Guapo. von Eckermann has only been riding the eight-year-old gelding since March. Today’s placing was the biggest achievement of the young partnership to-date.


For the man, who came third, a dream came true when he heard that he was allowed to compete in Aachen: Michael Kölz. “And now I have already achieved my second goal in the first competition already – I didn’t want to return home without a rosette!” In his case home is Leisnig in Saxony. And his horse also competes for Saxony. The 14-year-old stallion, Dipylon by Dinglinger, namely also works part-time for the State Stud of the Saxon Stud Administration Moritzburg. Michael Kölz qualified to compete here at the CHIO (a lifetime dream come true!) by claiming the bronze medal at the German Championships in Balve.

At the time, the national coach, Otto Becker, promised he would assert himself to make sure all of the medal winners at the German Championships in Balve would also be able to take part at the CHIO. In other words, in addition to Kölz, also Mario Stevens and Guido Klatte Jr. Mario Stevens didn’t compete in the STAWAG Opening Jumping, but the other two certainly did the national coach credit – as well as Kölz taking third place, Guido Klatte Jr. finished fifth with Qinghai.

Laura Graves: “We could pull it off.”

The dressage competitions start tomorrow at the World…

The dressage competitions start tomorrow at the World Equestrian Festival, CHIO Aachen 2018. The most frequently posed question: Who can beat Isabell Werth? Alongside Sönke Rothenberger, Laura Graves is the name mentioned most frequently in this connection and after Rothenberger’s horse, Cosmo, sustained an injury and the pair had to withdraw, she is indeed Werth’s fiercest component. We spoke to the US American about her participation at the CHIO Aachen and her chances.

Question: What distinguishes Aachen for you?
Laura Graves: Aachen is always very special for me. It is the most demanding show in the world, the best and strongest riders compete here. That is what I look forward to seeing most, how we stand. Aachen is of course great preparation for the World Equestrian Games.

Question: What are your expectations here?
Laura Graves: Of course, we travel everywhere with the aim of winning. That is also what I hope to do in Aachen. We actually managed to do that in one competition last year and we had a good result at the World Cup Final in Paris. Verdades is in very good form, there is no reason why I we couldn’t pull it off again in Aachen.

Question: Last year you succeeded in beating Isabell Werth in one competition…
Laura Graves: It was a very special day, and it was also my birthday – a fantastic feeling! This year the freestyle competition falls on my birthday, let’s see, perhaps that will be my birthday present this year.

Question: To take the victory you will have to beat in particular Isabell again.
Laura Graves: Yes, I think so. I was rather disappointed when I read that Cosmo and Sönke Rothenberger can’t compete. I like to have the strongest components and I believe that especially Cosmo is a horse that is in top form at the moment. Now we will have to wait for Tryon to take them on. But our immediate challenge is to primarily beat Isabell.

Question: What makes Verdades so special?
Laura Graves: I have had him in my yard my whole life. He knows me and I know him. Inside out. That makes our job easier under pressure.

Academy member Harry Charles at the CHIO as the European Champion

The “European Young Riders Academy” that is supported…

The “European Young Riders Academy” that is supported by the CHIO Aachen partner Rolex dedicates itself to promoting young show jumping talents European-wide. One of the aspiring stars of this project is the British rider, Harry Charles. He claimed the double European Championsip title of the Young Riders in Fontainebleau yesterday and has thus qualified to compete at the CHIO Aachen for the first time.


Could there be a better 19th birthday present than taking the double European Championship title, as the British aspiring show-jumper Harry Charles did yesterday? Hardly. Unless one is allowed to compete at the CHIO Aachen for the first time the week after!

Peter Charles, son of the Olympic gold medallist, Peter Charles, can now look forward to what some professional riders work hard at achieving their whole life long. Harry, who snapped up one of the coveted places in the European Young Riders Academy this year, will be cantering into the ring at the Soers for the first time this week to compete against the best of the best in front of a crowd of 40,000 people.


It will at the same time be his premier at five-star level. But Harry doesn’t seem to have a problem with “first times”. He gave his debut in a CSI4* Grand Prix earlier this March and rode to victory ahead of his father. That is somehow in line with the motto of the outstanding talent: “There are no limits except those which one sets oneself!”

Huanying China

It has long since become tradition that the…

It has long since become tradition that the partner country of the CHIO Aachen is welcomed on the market place in Aachen. And so the citizens of Aachen crowded in front of historical Town Hall on Monday evening when this year’s partner country China presented an exciting show comprising of acrobatics, music, culture and dancing in the heart of the city – and thus offered a foretaste of what can be expected at the Opening Ceremony tomorrow (8.15 p.m. live on WDR).

“We not only ordered special weather today, but also a special partner country at our side. I am particularly delighted that the community of Chinese people living in Aachen is taking part in this reception today and tomorrow during the Opening Ceremony,” stated Carl Meulenbergh, President of the organisers of the CHIO, the Aachen-Laurensberger Rennverein e.V. (ALRV). The Lord Mayor, Marcel Philipp, pointed out in his welcome speech that China has already had a fixed place in the Imperial City for decades: “There are many connections between Aachen and China. We have maintained a partnership with Ningbo for 32 years, there are school exchanges, business relations and many visitors from China. It is now a great pleasure to be able to celebrate this in the field of equestrian sports too.”

Even before the exceptional convoy of carriages headed by the City Riders of Aachen and the flag bearers reached the market square at 6 p.m., the CHIO mascot Karli and the musician Liang Dong got everyone in the mood for a one-hour open-air festival. A fantasy-like show dotted with poesy followed. Not only two horses from the world-famous Terracotta Army pranced proudly over the cobble stones, also the lion dance – an old Far Eastern custom accompanied by drums and cymbals – made up part of the agenda. Various artists from the Chinese National Circus demonstrated agility, a wealth of skill and elegance and revived the 2000-year history of Chinese acrobatics.

The Chinese community that lives in the Imperial City were also part of the programme. The children’s choir from the Chinese school rendered a version of a poetic song – an ode to jasmine blossoms. The young musicians were accompanied by the mezzo-soprano, Sissi Qi Wang, the A-cappella choir of the RWTH Aachen and the traditional instrument, the erhu, played by Yao Wang. The traditional Aachen Club of Chinese Scientists and Students enchanted the spectators with a “danced” fashion show, where imaginative clothing from different Chinese dynasties was presented. Here modern met tradition! During the finale, four young ladies really demonstrated their hitting power. The group “Manao – Drums of China” already opened the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008. Now they caused a huge drum roll in Aachen with their drumming skills.

Furthermore, Wenbo He, Consul for Culture from the General Consulate of the People’s Republic of China also attended the ceremony: “I am delighted that China was chosen as this year’s partner country for the World Equestrian Festival.” The NRW Premier, Armin Laschet, who already attended this event last year announced: “I am very pleased about this partner country. At the same time we can show the Chinese guests, how well Aachen can organised such a major sporting event.”

30,000 at Soers Sunday

The place: perfect. The weather: perfect. The atmosphere:…

The place: perfect. The weather: perfect. The atmosphere: perfect. Soers Sunday, the traditional Open Day at the CHIO Aachen brought with it all ingredients for a perfect day this year. Around 30,000 people came to the showgrounds at the Soers on Sunday.

A diversified programme with free admission awaited them. Not only the CHIO Village with more than 210 exhibitors and a wide range of catering options was well-attended, but also the many attractions dotted around everywhere encouraged the visitors to spend time, marvel and join in. “The people from Aachen simply love ‘their’ Soers Sunday. Many of them have been planning it as a fixed family outing for years,” said Show Director, Frank Kemperman. “When we introduced this event as the Open Day exactly 20 years ago, it was planned as a one-time gift to the citizens of Aachen. That’s how things sometimes turn out (laughing). Today, 30,000 people were here, the weather was fantastic – a perfect day. Let’s hope that is how it continues,” said Kemperman.

Following tradition, the day kicked off at 11.30 a.m. in the Deutsche Bank Stadium with a festive Ecumenical Service under the motto “Noah’s Arc”. A children’s choir lent the open-air event the appropriate, pleasant musical background. However, the official starting shot didn’t go off until 1 p.m. on the jumping warm-up area, which was followed by a colourful entertainment programme. The best places in the front row of the “green stage” filled quickly. Because everyone wanted to have the best view of the exceptional show acts. Following the fast-paced motto “Shetty PS, full speed ahead to vacation time” speedy Shetland ponies from the St. Medarus Zülpich Driving Club took the training area by storm. The Fohlenhof Farbenfroh also brought Shetland ponies with them to Aachen and delighted the spectators with their show performance “Miniature Spanish Riding School”. The pony forecast for today’s World Cup Final (which incidentally predicted France as the clear winner), foals, a show act entitled “Cowboys and Indians” by the Biesenbach Riding School and impressive Mustangs rounded off the agenda. In between the five disciplines at the CHIO were graphically presented and explained..

But there was plenty more the small visitors to discover: There was a choice between pony rides, visiting the play trailer of the Rhenish Rural Youth alongside the Driving Stadium and the exciting “Children’s Nature Trail”, where equipped with a stamp card they could visit various different stations. A gift from the CHIO Aachen fan shop awaited all of the diligent gatherers. Of course, the CHIO mascot Karli was out and about all over the showgrounds and posed for souvenir photos.

In the scope of the charity campaign “Moments of Luck”, the four therapy centres from the region presented their self-choreographed programme to the crowd at the Soers Sunday audience, whilst donations were collected across the entire showgrounds for the campaign. This year the charity initiative celebrated its 20th anniversary.