Equestrian Life
EQ Life tours Aachen: Day six

  Boyd Exell and his team enter the arena

Boyd Exell and his team won the four-in-hand dressage class today.


By Equestrian Life / Roger Fitzhardinge


Wednesday at Aachen dawned a little grey, as it has every day this week – however by mid-morning the sun was well and truly out. For our tour group escaping the Aussie winter, today certainly gave us a taste of a European summer!


Virbac Aachen Equimax small 


Today was the first busy day where spectators were forced to make some tough decisions – elite level showjumpers on the main arena, four in hand driving and dressage were all on, and it was a challenge to decide when to see what and where.



Boyd Exell and his team following their winning test 

Boyd Exell and his team following their winning test.




The highlight of the day for the Australian crowd was no doubt Boyd Exell’s dominance of the four-in-hand driving. The Prize of Fa. Horsch, Der Entsorger (dressage phase) took on the expansive 100m x 40m grass arena that looked a picture. After visiting Boyd’s property a few days ago and speaking with Tor Van Den Berge about all things driving, it was thrilling to see the four in hand teams in action. 


Boyd did not disappoint; his test was on another level, with all four horses (Carlos, Celviro, Checkmate and Ivor) perfectly in tune throughout. A score of 28.70 was, according to Tor, a likely personal best for Boyd and it was such a thrill to sit in the stands as an Aussie and see such an outstanding performance. The team of black Gelderlanders is simply stunning; the lead horses are well over 16 hands with beautiful movement and the overall picture is a cut above the rest of the field. The right wheeler was an outstanding type and this team is often ridden under saddle to improve suppleness and thoroughness. The judges were unanimous in placing Boyd’s team at the top of the leaderboard. 


What made this team a cut above the rest was the harmony between horses and driver, these four were all beautiful in the bridle, round to the contact and forward thinking. The rein back was a highlight, with a very straight team and super energetic steps. The transitions forward and back within the pace were seriously obvious and beautifully controlled. The team is sharp and sensitive yet totally confident and mentally relaxed. There were people with tears of joy at such a sight.


Second place went to Misdee Wrigley-Miller of the USA on 39.39, while fellow countryman Chester Weber was third on 40.26. At CHIO Aachen, the four in hand teams contest two dressage test – so anyone who missed Boyd today will have a second chance to watch the master in action!







Showjumping today began with the Prize of Handwerk (Table A: Against the Clock FEI Art. 238.2.1a), where 34 competitors took to the arena. A total of 17 competitors jumped clear, so in the end it really came down to a race against the clock. Ireland’s Darragh Kenny finished atop the podium with the black stallion Cazador LS, posting the quickest clear round in 63.48 seconds. 


Second place went to Germany’s Andre Thieme and Cellisto, who also jumped clear in 66.60 seconds, while Switzerland’s Pius Schwizer was next with Grand Cooper on 66.63 seconds. Unfortunately Great Britain’s Ben Maher and F One USA parted ways on course and were eliminated. The class saw many big names compete, including the likes of Christian Ahlmann, Martin Fuchs, Marcus Ehning, Steve Guerdat, Kent Farrington, Daniel Deusser, Bertram Allen, Eric Lamaze, Olivier Philippaerts and more. The start list read like an Olympic final!




The second jumping event of the day was the Turkish Airlines-Prize of Europe (Table A: Against the Clock with Jump-Off FEI Art. 238.2.2a). This class was a qualifier for the Rolex Grand Prix, which is scheduled later in the week.


The big field of nearly 50 riders took on the 1.55m course, with nearly a fifth of the field failing to make it to the finish flags. A total of 11 horses jumped clear in the first round to progress to the jump off, and from that a further five produced a double clear. 


In the end, it was Ben Maher who put his fall in the previous class behind him to win with the chestnut gelding Explosion W. Finishing in a time of 46.28, he was nearly a second ahead of Spain’s Eduardo Alvarez Aznar and Rokfeller de Pleville Bois Margot. Third place went to Germany’s Daniel Deusser and Scuderia 1918 Tobago Z. 


Speaking of Explosion W, Maher said, “He’s a fast horse naturally and very quick across the jumps. It’s always incredible to ride a horse like Explosion. He doesn’t miss anything; he’s very intelligent, he sees the camera and knows it.” 


Again, an all-star cast in this class – we’re looking forward to the Grand Prix later in the week.




The final jumping event of the day was the Prize of StädteRegion Aachen in memory of Landrat Hermann-Josef Pütz (Two Phases: A + A, 2nd Phase Against the Clock FEI Art. 274.5.2). As the sun began to set, 14 riders went clear across both phases. It was Germany’s Philipp Weishaupt and Coby 8 who produced the performance of the class; he pair went double clear to finish in 32.50 seconds, just head of Portugal’s Luciana Diniz and Vertigo du Desert (33.44 seconds) and Switzerland’s Martin Fuchs on Chica BZ (34.54 seconds).





The winner of the Prize of Handwerk, Ireland's Darragh Kenny and Cazador LS

The winner of the Prize of Handwerk, Ireland's Darragh Kenny and Cazador LS.


Ben Maher and Explosion W, winners of the Grand Prix Qualifier today

Ben Maher and Explosion W, winners of the Grand Prix Qualifier today.


Philipp Weishaupt and Coby 8, winners of the Prize of Sta¨dteRegion Aachen in memory of Landrat Hermann-Josef Pu¨tz

Philipp Weishaupt and Coby 8, winners of the Prize of Sta¨dteRegion Aachen in memory of Landrat Hermann-Josef Pu¨tz.




The Prize of VUV-Vereinigte Unternehmerverbände Aachen – the Prix St Georges –  was won by Great Britain’s Charlotte Fry and the imposing black stallion Glamourdale with a score of 77.971%. The pair produced an outstanding test, before leaving the crowd gasping in the presentation when Glamourdale decided to bolt across the arena full pelt from A to C – then out the gate, under the bridge, across the crossing and through the 60m warm up arena and then decided not to jump the hedge into the café; he turned right and Charlotte was able to make her circle and slow him down. It was surprising that even a double bridle couldn’t stop this winning Small Tour horse, and at nearly 78%!


Second place went to Joyce Heuitink and Gaudi Vita of the Netherlands on 72.471%, while Hubertus Schmidt and Denoix PCH were third on 70.588%. 




Charlotte Fry and Glamourdale won the PSG

Charlotte Fry and Glamourdale won the PSG.


Charlotte Fry and Glamourdale created a stir in the presentations

Charlotte Fry and Glamourdale created a stir in the presentations.


The HAVENS Horsefeed-Prize Grand Prix CDI4* was the last class of the day, running until 8.35pm in the evening. Of course, with the long summer days here, it was still broad daylight and a lovely warm evening. 


The class had many big names in action from around the world.


Germany’s So¨nke Rothenberger and Cosmo 59

Germany’s So¨nke Rothenberger and Cosmo 59.


First place went to Germany’s Sönke Rothenberger and Cosmo 59 (Van Gogh x Fruhling / Landjonker); the pair scored a huge 81.370% to thrill the crowd. It was a unanimous win amongst the judges. This horse has not had many competitions of late and so the start in the 4* rather than the 5*. This elegant, athletic, leggy bay gelding danced his way through the test with consummate ease. The two tempi changes were a real highlight, straight and expressive. It’s hard to say what was a highlight really, as the entire test was a highlight! It’s rare anywhere in the world at any time to see such a test.


Second place went to fellow German Isabell Werth and Emilio 107 on 79.435%. The heavier bay horse lacked the thoroughness at times and in comparison to the winner looked a little laboured. Of course Isabell draws every possible mark from the judges, and this she did. Was Werth worth 79.435%? Whether it was or not, it did. It was interesting to note that the Spectator Judging was exceedingly close in percentages and judging throughout the class, except on a couple of occasions – such as Emilio being 4% lower and in fifth place, rather than second as the judges saw.


Denmark’s Cathrine Dufour was third with Atterupgaards Cassidy. The popular pair achieved a score of 78.043%. This bubbly combination showed great expression and harmony, no mistakes and always in an uphill tendency. Cathrine was delighted as she is always.


Rounding out the top five were Germany’s Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and Zaire-E on 76.587%, and her brother Benjamin Werndl with Daily Mirror 9 on 76.283%. Jessica rode a very exciting, crisp, and sharp test with plenty of energy. This horse is a real lady’s horse and rose to the occasion to just beat her brother. His horse is a leggy, elegant, black horse with white socks; it was interesting to see here that the spectator judging actually had this horse in second place. The picture is beautiful; very well ridden and always uphill with an engaged feeling and an expressive, elastic forehand. A very well-deserved percentage. 


When you think of the class with the likes of Adrienne Lyle, Dorothee Schneider, Ingrid Klimke, Hubertus Schmidt… this 4* class was stacked full of talent and quality. Franziskus made some green mistakes, but what an elegant stallion and no sign of him playing the fool as he did yesterday in training! Sammy David Jnr for Dorothee looks in the peak of health and fitness. He has improved since we last saw him, but the canter could have covered more ground for the bigger marks. Adrienne Lyle on her grey horse also did a great job and of course the big contingency of Americans made a lot of noise at the end of the test!


It was a high scoring class, with 11 of the 21 competitors being awarded marks over 70%.


Tristan Tucker, Australia’s only dressage representative here at CHIO Aachen, finished with a score of 66.283% aboard Zephir O (Sunny Boy x Jazz).




The action continues tomorrow at Aachen, with the second dressage competition for four-in-hand driving, the Grand Prix CDIO5* dressage, and four jumping classes including the Mercedes-Benz Nations’ Cup team event. Stay tuned! 









© copyright. Equestrian Life. Thursday, 2 December 2021