Six Days in Aachen


Some people think that there is no dressage to see in Aachen on Tuesday. The contrary is true; you can watch the riders train all day and get a first impression of what‘s to come once the competition starts.

Both Emilio and Bella Rose were focussed and in good shape. Looking forward to some thrilling sport!


Bella Rose wins the Grand Prix of the CDI***. Of course I‘m happy that we could win this test with 77,5% despite some tempi mistakes – but it‘s even more fantastic to feel how Bella Rose comes more and more into her own with each passing day.


I don‘t think anyone expected THIS – I certainly didn‘t, myself: With 72,5% Emilio and I ranked 17th today in the five star Grand Prix, the first leg of the Nations‘ Cup. He was a bit „bugged“ by mosquitoes in the warm-up, but I don‘t think that was the reason for his massive lapse in the first piaffe. I have no idea what happened, but from that point on he was totally insecure. Of course it would have been my job then to steer him back to confidence, something that I‘m usually good at, but today I didn‘t succeed, and so several other expensive mistakes followed in the course of the test … with the already mentioned result.

Which reminds me once more never to forget to be humble. Horses are living creatures with their own strengths and weaknesses. That‘s what makes working with them so fascinating, but also so unpredictable – it keeps being a mental challenge. Tomorrow we will train Emilio with all necessary calm, and helping him find his confidence again will be the most important goal.

Fortunately, my team mates rode so strongly that the US team is only in the lead by two per cent. Everything is still possible, and the decisive Grand Prix Special on Saturday is going to be a thriller. Who said that dressage was boring?


What a relief!

Bella Rose has become more and more sure of herself during the days in Aachen, and in the end she presented me with the icing on the cake when she did not only win the CDI**** Grand Prix Special but also cracked the 80% mark doing so. – another victory that means so much more than a golden ribbon. Now we have to work on her condition and routine … and if the rider could manage to navigate the tempi diagonals fault-free, we‘d bee good to go ?

I was also very happy with Emilio. We had a very nice afternoon training session , and he showed me (and himself) just how much talent he has for the piaffe. Keep your fingers crossed for tomorrow‘s Special and Nations‘ Cup!


If you want to put a roller coaster ride in numbers, the Dressage Nations Cup at this year‘s CHIO in Aachen is a super example: seventeenth in the Grand Prix on Thursday – victory in today‘s Special. Of course I thought a lot about why the Grand Prix went so wrong: I think it was mis-management on my part; I simply missed the fact that Emilio didn‘t feel comfortable with his curb bit anymore. I think he struck his teeth on it in the first piaffe, and after that he probably felt … if he were human, I‘d say offended. He may not look it, but he‘s really sensitive. So we tried another bit when we trained him on Friday, and it was spot on.

We had the same positive feeling during the morning training today – and then later in the test, which we won with 79.1%, contributing to the German Nations‘ Cup victory after all. What a lovely birthday present Emilio has made me – and what a thriller of a test this has been!

To be continued in tomorrow‘s freestyle.


What a week, what a show! The botched Grand Prix CDIO, the suspense before the second leg of the Nations‘ Cup, Emilio‘s „comeback“, the strong Americans who turned the freestyle into yet another thriller … and Bella Rose. This has been a CHIO to remember.

I have learned a lot during these days in Aachen, most of all to listen even more closely to my horses, especially a sceptic like Emilio. I‘ve been full of joy because Bella Rose, the specially gifted, showed more self-confidence each day. I‘ve thought of Weihegold, the most world-wise of them all, and marveled at the embarrassment of riches I will be facing, come the World Equestrian Games. And I‘ve knocked on wood because we all know how quickly our luck can turn.

Emilio has carried me to my twelfth victory in the Grand Dressage Prize of Aachen, while Bella Rose achieved the show‘s best Special result. And if you‘re not looking forward to the competition in Tryon now, you must have slept through Aachen ?