Written by Equinium Sports Marketing, LLC
When it comes to horse shows, Aachen means business. The CHIO Aachen takes horse sport to another level, and has been raising the standard for competition, entertainment, sponsorship, equestrian business, and horse sport for over 100 years. With top international and Olympic competitors, mainstream sponsors, hundreds of thousands of avid spectators, and some of the most impressive stadiums and atmospheres to ever set the stage for international competition, Aachen’s equestrian spectacle shines this July as the 2016 Rio Olympics loom on the horizon.
The yearly CHIO (pronounced chee-yo by those intimate with the proceedings) is held in the historic town of Aachen, Germany, surrounded by lush green foothills and very near the border of The Netherlands and Belgium. CHIO stands for Concours Hippique International Officiei, a French based acronym that states the
competition’s status as the “official” tournament of the Federal Republic of Germany, meaning that Aachen is the only show that can organize Nations Cup competitions in the country. Founded in 1898, it celebrates more than 100 years of equestrian competition, held this year from July 8-17, 2016, with everything from jumping, dressage, and eventing to four-in-hand driving and vaulting. This week marks the unofficial kick-off of Aachen’s equestrian spectacle, with the opening ceremonies being held July 12.
The ten days of show and sport begin today, July 8, with the 4* Vaulting competition, showcasing top acrobatic performances on horseback as they vie for the Prize of the Sparkasse. Next is the opening ceremonies, which feature the Queen of Sweden and fantastic equestrian exhibitions. “Never has their been such an Opening Ceremony like this one before at the CHIO Aachen,” promised Show Director Frank Kemperman. That is quite a statement, judging from past Aachen opening ceremonies. Show jumping kicks off on Wednesday, with the Mercedes-Benz Prize awarded on Thursday July 14 and the Rolex Grand Prix, Grand Prix of Aachen on Sunday July 17. The Grand Prix Dressage wraps up the same day, along with the 3-day eventing (the cross country will be held July 16). The driving marathon on July 16 is also not to be missed, along with its complimenting dressage and cones phases on the days before and after.
Aachen also plays host to a variety of social events, lounges, and VIP experiences accented by the excitement of international horse sport. The Hans Gunter Winkler Gala, to be held July 15, will pay tribute to the sportsman and his show jumping ‘wonder mare,’ Halla, Winkler and Halla won Olympic Gold in Stockholm 60 years ago, and the 5-time Olympic Gold medalist and German sports legend will celebrate his 90th birthday and relive his extraordinary sporting history during the Gala. A 600 kilogram bronze sculpture of Halla, which normally resides at the German Equestrian Federation (FN) in Warendorf, will reside in Aachen’s massive main stadium during this year’s CHIO. Aachen’s traditional Media Night, which will be attended by the Swedish Royal couple as well as numerous guests from the worlds of politics, media, sports, and society, will take place just before the Opening Ceremony on Tuesday.
The overall prize money of the 2016 CHIO Aachen is just under 2.7 million Euros, and will host 540 horses, 403 athletes from 29 nations, and hundreds of thousands of spectators. The show has been a traditional event since 1898, and has developed to epitomize the upper echelons of modern equestrian sport without losing its original soul. “The DNA [of the CHIO Aachen] will always remain to be world-class sport,” said Michael Mronz, General Manager of the Aachener Reitturnier GmbH, the show’s organizational entity.
And that statement holds especially true on the brink of an Olympic season. The CHIO Aachen is the last and most decisive qualification for the Olympic Games in Brazil for many nations.
Presented by the Jill and Katie Hoog of the Keyes Company, realtors who specialize in equestrian lifestyle properties in Wellington, Florida, World Dressage News will have ongoing and up to date coverage of the spectacular dressage Nations Cup and 4* competition, as well as the dressage aspects of driving and eventing to be sure you don’t miss a single stride.
These facts and figures give an impressive overview of the CHIO Aachen.
2016 CHIO Aachen Fast Facts:
Aachen-Laurensberger Rennverein e.V. (ALRV)
Founded in 1898
Jumping (Main Stadium, capacity 40,000)
Dressage (Deutsche Bank Stadium, capacity 6,300)
Eventing (jumping in the Main Stadium, dressage in the Deutsche Bank Stadium, cross country on the cross-country course at the Aachen Soers)
Driving (Driving Stadium and Soers Marathon Course, with the marathon attracting tens of thousands of visitors and is free entry)
Vaulting (Albert-Vahle-Arena, capacity 1,100)
Top Level Sponsors:
Opening Ceremony on Tuesday, July 12th
Mercedes-Benz Prize (jumping team competition under the lights, Thursday July 14)
Rolex Grand Prix, Grand Prix of Aachen on Sunday July 17
Deutche Bank Prize, Grand Prix Dressage of Aachen on July 17
DHL Prize (eventing cross country competition on July 16
Marathon Four-in-Hand Driving July 16 (free of charge)
CHIO Aachen in Figures:
350 riders, drivers and vaulters from 30 countries, 550 horses (including show program and exhibitions)
355,250 in 2014
Total awarded (including special trophies) approximately 2.7 million Euros
14.5 million Euros
600 Journalists and over 200 TV employees
TV coverage (30 hours of national coverage, of which over 25 hours show pure sport) and international coverage with broadcasts in over 140 countries
Employees/Volunteers include, but are not limited to:
64 judges and officials
325 grounds stewards
32 medical employees
Sponsor lounges: 5
400 permanent stables
18,000 kg of oats
18,000 kg of hay
1,500 bales of straw
200 exhibitors from around the world
4 December at 12 : 11 PM 0
19 November at 20 : 17 PM 0
18 October at 17 : 33 PM 0
29 August at 02 : 35 AM 0