Equestrian Life
EQ Life tours Aachen: Day five

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2019 CHIO Aachen is underway!



By Roger Fitzhardinge


So it was day one for us to head to Aachen and put our feet in the water and test the lay of the land. 


There is something very special about this, that makes you feel good as soon as you walk in the gates. The green suited ushers and ticket checkers! The cobbled walk ways and the sound of horses’ feet! There is the myriad of trade stands with well-dressed and very smart shoppers, and the clink of champagne glasses no matter what the time. The smell of horse and competition is in the air. A feeling of excitement to see the best the country has to offer and the old faces of equestrian friends who come to Aachen to meet. The banter of selling and buying horses and then you walk around the corner and there is the huge hallowed turf arena as green as green, and with the most glorious designed show jumps and international flags and above all it was the first truly blue skies we had seen and so the scene was set for an amazing six days of competition.




Virbac Aachen Equimax small



Of course, after a trip to the press room it was immediately down to the coffee shop that flanks the dressage warn up arena for me, amongst the subdued trees and stunning position where it was lunch time and a sandwich and a glass of white wine… dressage heaven! The Germans and the Spanish and the Dutch were making their presence felt, and the frames and warming up fantastic to appreciate. There were many frames used; and deep and round, with not a whimper from anyone and this was so good to see. 



Franziskus gives Ingrid Klimke a few uncomfortable steps in training.


Franziskus gives Ingrid Klimke a few uncomfortable steps in training.



Franziskus is better behaved for Ingrid Klimke a few minutes later!


Franziskus is better behaved for Ingrid Klimke a few minutes later!



Therese Nilshagen and Dante Weltino


Therese Nilshagen and Dante Weltino training.




The horses being out for the first day were all feeling great and sharp. It’s always s great way to be as they have a lot of classes to come and to be at the top of their game its important for these horses top be energetic and enjoying the atmosphere.


The surfaces as always were beautifully groomed and in great order as were the amazing gardens and baskets of flowers. 


On the main arena was a Speed Class and it was a great win from a very classy field of horses to the Frenchman Olivier Robert and Vadrouille d’Avril – clear and in 67.59 seconds and right on their tail was Laura Kraut from America and Bergen de Kerne with the ever popular German Marcus Ehning and Calanda third. To see these amazing riders make light of this big track with consulate ease on the vast green arena was just a taste of what was to come. The Young Horse class went to Scott Brash with Hello Franklin, from Gregory Wathelet and Melia de Regor.




The showjumping began today on the main arena


The showjumping began today on the main arena.



Olivier Robert and Vadrouille d´Avril, winners of the STAWAG Opening Jumping Competition


Olivier Robert and Vadrouille d´Avril, winners of the STAWAG Opening Jumping Competition.



All the big names in the jumping world collide here. It is going to be one hell of a competition and to think that the prize money for the Grand Prix in One Million Euros is quite amazing.





In the evening, we were treated to the Opening Ceremony. A packed crowd watched on as endless entertainers traversed the arena. Trick riders wowed – one even managed to pass under his horse’s stomach at a full gallop! Ponies and children, fancy dress costumes, amazing designer outfits, high flying acrobats, drum horses, carriage horses and more filed into the arena one after the other. Jean-Francois Pignon’s liberty horses performed alongside (and at one stage amongst!) free-running Camargue ponies, while long-reined horses pranced and dressage horses danced. Pyrotechnics, live bands and singers complemented the equestrian performers on show.


As the sun set on the Main Stadium, what a way to begin a week of festivities at CHIO Aachen! The pictures speak for themselves….





Children and ponies

Children and ponies.




The Opening Ceremony.


The Opening Ceremony.




Draft breeds were on display


Draft breeds were on display.



Trick riders wowed the crowd


Trick riders wowed the crowd.



Horses rear for the crowd

Horses rear for the crowd.



Camargue ponies


Camargue ponies.








© copyright. Equestrian Life. Thursday, 2 December 2021