For 92 years, “Aachen” has been synonymous with just one annual occasion when the best riders in the world gather to compete in the famous CHIO Aachen. The Aachen stadium lies empty of horses for the other 52 weeks of the year, as do the stables, grounds, and accompanying Deutsche Bank Stadium.
This month, that all changes with the introduction of the CSI Aachen from April 28th – May 1st. Show organizers Gina Trojan and Virginia Mehlkopf are presenting an opportunity for riders from the 1.25m level to 1.50m to compete in the Deutsche Bank stadium at Aachen. Built to accommodate dressage and renovated in 2014 to increase seating capacity, the Deutsche Bank stadium has never hosted show jumping – until now.
“We can say that we have always felt it was a big shame that the Deutsche Bank Stadium was used so little,” Mehlkopf says. “The atmosphere is amazing, as well as the size. Usually only the best horses and riders in the world get the opportunity to be a competitor at Aachen, and now that we are making it accessible to a whole new target group of riders, the reactions are amazing.”
The main stadium at Aachen is usually only used for one event per year: the incomparable CHIO Aachen. The preparation and quality of the footing in Aachen’s massive main stadium is unparalleled and will certainly remain that way. Aachen wouldn’t be Aachen if there was a horse show there every week, but giving more riders the chance to say they’ve “ridden at Aachen” will be an exciting switch up.
The Aachen stables will be open to CSI competitors.
Riders will be able to have full use of and enjoy the whitewashed stables where the best horses in the world have stayed, making it possible that their horse is sharing the space where Hickstead, Shutterfly or Totilas once stayed.
“The 400 boxes and stables are in a great condition and are of a very high standard,” Mehlkopf adds. “The feeling of being on these showgrounds for a couple of days is something that the riders will surely look forward to.”
The city of Aachen will look forward to it as well; the people of Aachen are very “horsey”, with a high level of interest in equestrian sports. With free entry for spectators and the appeal of watching show jumping for the first time in Deutsche Bank Stadium, show organizers are expecting up to 3,000 spectators over the four days.
CSI Aachen will offer a full schedule of CSI2*, CSI1*, and CSI-YH classes, with a CSI2* Big Tour Grand Prix on the afternoon of Sunday, May 1st, and the first horses arriving before the jog on Wednesday, April 27th. Over 380 horses from 25 nations have sent in their entries, with room for organizers to accept a limited number of additional entries.
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