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CHIO Aachen: Encounters and insider tips

Isabell Werth says goodbye to her favorite horse, in front of a big audience she says thank you, for not only many medals, as she says herself, but also for wonderful years. “I can’t even say what it means to be able to say goodbye to Bella here with this dignity and form,” says Isabell Werth with tears. It is Bella Rose’s final appearance. The mare is 18 years old, has won everything there is to win, but she doesn’t look like a pensioner. Bella Rose presents her freestyle as light-footed as ever.

There are tears, applause and presents. The focus is clearly on the horse Bella Rose. So hardly anyone notices who is carrying the picture into the stadium.

It is Thomas Müller, national soccer player in the German team and enthusiastic horse lover.

Thomas Müller is not only a national soccer player, but also a real horse lover

On the days of the tournament, a congress will be held, which, among other things, will deal with the future of equestrian sport. Much that has status and reputation in sport is there, including Thomas Müller.

“My wife is competing at the CHIO Aachen for the first time, yes that is something very special. I have 90 minutes to score a goal. During this time, countless mistakes happen. But a dressage horse is not allowed to make a single mistake and before that I have great respect.”

Many tournaments have a hard time. The media interest is waning and you have to come up with something how to bind viewers and also something for the young riders. There is quite a bit of that in Aachen.

With a game of skill, visitors can follow the course of the cross-country course of the eventing riders and thus get a feel for the route. It was developed and built by SAP employees.

In a small team they develop much more for equestrian sports. Among other things, they enable paperless judging with software. As important as it is to save paper. It’s about much more. For decades it was customary for the 5 judges to write down all their scores on paper, so that final scores could not be published until the rides later. And that’s not all. The international dressage judge Katrina Wüst worked on the application and is thrilled that everything is now done digitally.

"Now we can finally analyze what we're doing as judges. I'm thrilled."

“It’s hard to imagine, only now after the test can we discuss which judge gave which grades, when and why. Because the riders got the sheets with the grades home earlier and then they were gone for us. It’s different now. I’m thrilled”, says international dressage judge Katrina Wüst.

The young riders get a very special stage in Aachen this year: countries like Ecuador, Zimbabwe, Saudi Arabia or Mexico sound through the loudspeakers. The FEI Youth Equestrian Games take place during the CHIO. 30 young talents from 30 nations are at the start in Aachen. They ride side by side with the world’s best in the sport.

Nobody brings their own horse, they are made available from well-known riding stables. And some riders are clever enough to introduce themselves properly to their four-legged partner.

It’s no secret, not all riders are good, but many are very, very good and very fast – faultless. And who knows, some of them are sure to be the CHIO riders of tomorrow.