In the heart of Aachen, Germany, lies a legendary equestrian event that has captivated the hearts of horse enthusiasts for over a century—the CHIO Aachen. Renowned as the “World Equestrian Festival,” CHIO Aachen showcases the finest riders, horses, and disciplines, providing a thrilling spectacle that celebrates the rich heritage of the equestrian world.
Text & photo by Therese Alhaug
The origins of CHIO Aachen can be traced back to the late 19th century when the city of Aachen was chosen as the location for the annual horse show of the local riding and driving club. In 1898, this modest gathering evolved into a grand event, drawing participants and spectators from around the world. Since then, CHIO Aachen has grown in stature and has become one of the most prestigious and anticipated equestrian competitions on the global calendar.
What sets CHIO Aachen apart is its diverse range of equestrian disciplines, the enthusiastic crowd, a highly professional organizing committee, and a strict focus on the sport. The event encompasses show jumping, dressage, eventing, driving, and vaulting, showcasing the incredible skill and harmony between horse and rider across multiple equestrian art forms. Each discipline attracts top-notch athletes who compete for the coveted titles and the chance to etch their names into the annals of equestrian history.
Beyond the sheer athleticism on display, CHIO Aachen is a melting pot of equestrian traditions and heritage. The event takes place at the historic Soers Park, where spectators are transported to a world where time-honored rituals blend seamlessly with modern sporting excellence.
CHIO Aachen also pays homage to its deep-rooted traditions through its rich ceremonial practices. The Opening Ceremony is a spectacle of pageantry, with the participating nations proudly parading their flags, accompanied by traditional music and costumes. The Rolex Grand Prix is another cherished tradition that highlights the harmonious partnership between horse and rider.
The event’s atmosphere is electric, with 350 000 fans filling the stands and cheering for their favorite riders. The passion and enthusiasm of the spectators, combined with the world-class facilities and impeccable organization, create an unforgettable experience for both athletes and visitors alike.
Over the years, CHIO Aachen has witnessed countless unforgettable moments that have shaped equestrian history. From legendary riders such as Hans Günter Winkler and Isabell Werth to exceptional equine athletes like the iconic showjumping stallion, Hickstead, and the dressage sensation, Valegro, CHIO Aachen has been the stage for extraordinary achievements and breathtaking performances.
Top sport, tradition, the best crowds, and the best organizers in the world come together here. The series is fantastic for the sport.Marcus Ehning, winner of the Rolex Grand Prix 2023
This year proved to be equally breathtaking as three Germans graced the podium at the tenth anniversary of the Rolex Grand Slam, where the legendary Marcus Ehning and his remarkable partner, Stargold, claimed the victory.
As CHIO Aachen continues to evolve, it remains deeply committed to preserving and promoting the heritage of equestrian sports. By combining tradition and innovation, the event ensures that the legacy of horsemanship lives on, inspiring future generations to strive for greatness and fostering a deep appreciation for the bond between humans and horses.
CHIO Aachen stands as a testament to the enduring heritage of equestrian excellence. From its humble beginnings to its current status as an international equestrian extravaganza, the event has become a symbol of tradition, prestige, and unparalleled sporting achievement. For all those who have had the privilege of witnessing the magic of CHIO Aachen, it is an experience that will forever be etched in their hearts, embodying the essence of equestrianism at its finest!