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Inside CHIO Aachen 2019: Riders to watch at this year’s Rolex Grand Prix

Thursday, 11 July 2019
CHIO Aachen 2019

Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Rider Watch

Photo ©Rolex / Ashley Neuhof Rolex Grand Prix winner of CHIO Aachen 2018, Marcus Ehning. Photo ©Rolex / Ashley Neuhof.

From 12-21 July 2019, visitors from all over the world will once again travel to Germany to witness one of the most prestigious equestrian events of the year, CHIO Aachen. The nine-day event will play host to the second Major of the year, the Rolex Grand Prix, in which the world’s top equestrian athletes will go head-to-head, as they each contend for the highly sought-after victory.

The world’s greatest horse-and-rider combinations will be vying for one of show jumping’s most prestigious titles, the Rolex Grand Prix. With many of the world’s top 20-ranked riders set to compete, the field looks wide open; however, following strong recent performances on the outdoor circuit, there are notable partnerships that could claim the Rolex Major win: 

Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann and his impressive Toveks Mary Lou have demonstrated outstanding consistency, having recently won the Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show. The infamously quick duo flew through a faultless jump-off, defeating 15 of the world’s top 20-ranked riders. With the outdoor show jumping season well and truly underway, von Eckermann shows no sign of decelerating and has high hopes of continuing his Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping journey. 

Daniel Bluman made history at CSIO Roma Piazza di Siena, becoming Israel’s first ever rider to claim victory at this prestigious event, after winning the Rolex Grand Prix. The complicated course saw only four of the 44 combinations go clear in the first round, with Bluman and his 11-year-old gelding, Ladriano Z proving unbeatable after going clear in the jump-off. The 29-year-old rider has his sights set on his next victory and will pull out all the stops to secure his first Rolex Major title.

Rolex Testimonee and show jumping hero, Eric Lamaze has displayed remarkable determination this season. Lamaze won the PwC Cup at last month’s ‘National’ CSI5* presented by Rolex at Spruce Meadows, in which he and his mare, Fine Lady 5 won an electrifying jump-off. Just two days prior, Lamaze won the RBC Grand Prix of Canada presented by Rolex with his 13-year-old gelding, Chacco Kid. After his recent successes the unstoppable 51-year-old rider will do everything in his power to lift the coveted trophy at CHIO Aachen.

 


 

U25 interview with young rider Justine Tebbel

Photo © Ingo Waechter Images Photo © Ingo Waechter Images

What are you most looking forward to about competing at CHIO Aachen? 

I competed at CHIO Aachen last year, so I know the feeling you get when riding into the arena. The atmosphere is amazing, you really can’t describe it. To be around and watch the 5* riders who attend is both inspiring and motivating. Seeing how they prepare for this show and compete is a huge learning experience for young riders like myself. For me, Aachen is the best show in the world and I think everyone involved feels like there is something special about this show. I am so excited to compete there once again! 

Which horses are you taking? Can you tell us a bit about them? 

I am taking Light Star, a 10-year-old stallion by Light On. I also rode him last year and he’s my best horse at the moment. I know that he is always happy to compete at Aachen and he jumped amazingly last year. He always makes me feel confident when we enter the arena. 

What are your thoughts on the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping? 

To be able to compete in the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping is every rider’s dream, and to able you win it would make you the happiest person on earth!

 


 

Interview with Henrik von Eckermann’s groom, Tiia Karhu

Photo © Tiia Karhu Photo © Tiia Karhu

Does the team feel extra pressure now that Henrik is the Rolex Grand Slam Live Contender? 

Yes, of course. The pressure is there but we are all very excited to see him continue his Rolex Grand Slam journey and see how this season will end. Henrik also definitely feels the extra pressure; you can really sense it around the stables now that Aachen is around the corner. 

How have you been preparing the horses for the competition? 

We try to keep the horses’ schedules as normal and regular as we can. We want them to be as fit as possible, so Henrik rides each of the horses every day and then in the afternoons they go hacking for a few hours. The most important thing is that we keep the horses safe and happy. They absolutely love hacking out in the forest and riding in big open spaces, it keeps them very calm and relaxed. 

What is your daily routine at Henrik’s yard? 

We start each day at 6.30am by cleaning the stables and riding then begins at 8.00am. Each horse is ridden twice, once in the morning and then a hack in the afternoon. The horses then go to field for the rest of the day. Right now, Henrik is riding each horse every day leading up to Aachen.

 


 

About the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping

The Rolex Grand Slam is considered by the sport to be the ultimate equestrian challenge, primarily due to the sporting prowess required to achieve this feat. It is a quest taken on by the world’s top riders, vying to secure the legendary status associated with winning the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.

The format of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping is simple: anyone who wins three Majors in a row receives the Rolex Grand Slam trophy and a €1 million bonus on top of the class’s prize-money. If that same rider then continues their success by winning a fourth Major in succession, they will be rewarded with an additional €1million bonus. If two shows are won in succession, the bonus is €500,000 or if an athlete wins only 2 majors in a period of four successive shows, the bonus is € 250,000.

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