The Isabell and Dorothee Show at Aachen Dressage

The CHIO Aachen in the north west tip of Germany has long been recognised at one, if not the most important horse show held each year in Germany.  It attracts the top riders and horses, particularly from Europe. It is only a few miles from both the Belgian and Dutch boarders and is well served by motorways from across the continent.

Deutsche Bank Dressage Stadium Aachen.

Together with show jumping and dressage at Aachen, there are top international classes for three day eventing, vaulting and driving. All the competitions are under FEI rules and this is a five star event. It runs for five days each July. There are two main international stadiums at Aachen, one for showjumping, the Hauptstadion Stadium with a capacity for 40,000 spectators; and a second only for dressage, The Deutsche Bank Stadium. The Deutsche Bank Stadium was opened in 1999, and is the largest stadium of its kind in the world. It has a capacity of 6300 spectators.

In this article, we are going to concentrate on the CDIO 5* dressage, The Lambertz Family Cup. This is a competition runs over two days. Day one is the Grand Prix and the second part, each competitor has to complete a Grand Prix Special test. This class had 31 combinations. The Lambertz Cup is the dressage Nations Cup for Germany, one of eight in the FEI Nations Cup Series held in different countries. If a country submits three or more combinations, they can compete as a team for their country. The team with the best overall scores are the winners. In this class, there were seven countries competing as teams. This Grand Prix is also the first round for the individual title. Other riders are allowed to compete, but do so as individuals assuming that their respective country has sent less than three riders.

Katherine Bateson Chandler USA

The first rider into the stadium was Holland’s Marlies Van Baalen riding her 13 year old KWPN bred bay gelding Ben Johnson. She got a total of 67.500% which must have been rather disappointing for a rider from Holland with such a high profile. The five judges for this CDIO 5* were from USA, Russia, The UK, Germany and Denmark. Irina Maknami from Russia was the chairman at C. In the early part of this competition, the American Katherine Bateson-Chandler took the lead with 72.674% riding 14 year old gelding Alcazar. First British rider Louise Anne Bell was thrilled with her own Into The Blues’ performance with 70.043%.

Charlotte Fry. Current European Young Rider Champion

In the second section, another eight horses took their turn. German rider Jessica Von Bedow-Werndl riding 12 year old mare TSF Delera BB rode a smooth expressive test well received by the home crowd and the judges gave her 79.000% to put her in the lead. Second British rider, 23 year old Charlotte Fry, daughter of the late British rider Laura Fry, rode a very nice test in her first major senior international. Based in Holland and current European Young Rider Champion, Charlotte got 74.345% from the five judges and temporarily put her in a good second place riding Dark Legend. However, Danish rider Cathrine Dufour riding 9 year old Bohemian pipped Charlotte for second place with 78.413% .

The third session of the day was likely to see major changes in the leader board with some of the big guns appearing. Steffen Peters from the USA and Adelinde Cornelissen from Holland were likely to produce decent scores, but in the event the two managed mid 70% which put them in the top ten but nowhere near the top three. Dutch dressage seems to be rather in the doldrums at the moment. They did not send a team for this Nations Cup which is most unusual and in recent times their teams and individual scores have been quite well off the mark. In a nearly full stadium, no doubt after a good brautwaust for lunch, German Dorothee Schneider riding

Dorothee Schneider at home.

Showtime FRH, a Hanoverian 13 year old gelding rode another very smooth and proficient test, on what I thought was a particularly nice horse, to take the lead with 80.609%. Charlotte Dujardin, riding the 12 year old gelding Erlentanz followed in two horses later. As she went through her paces, the judges had her in 4th place at the canter stage, but as the more difficult and higher marked movements were shown, she went quickly to second place and at one stage was in the lead, but the pair ended up with 79.152% and back to second at this stage of competition.

The final session of the day was always going to be about one rider – the last for the German team; the evergreen Isabell Werth riding the chestnut mare Bella Rose II, a Westphalian horse. The 49 year old went straight into the lead with the trot, walk and piaffe/passage with over 80% but during the one time changes, things started to go wrong with several expensive points being lost, putting the combination into second place temporarily. However, you are not world champion on several occasions without being able to rescue the situation which Isabel did to end up winner with 82.783%.

Isabell Werth. Winner of Grand Prix.

The final scores for the first part of the Nations Lambertz Cup was Germany in a commanding lead of 242.392% followed by Denmark with 228.274%, in third, The United States with 225.392%. Great Britain with only three members in the team, (so all three scores had to count) were in fourth place on 223.630%. The top three teams had four members in each, therefore under the rules were allowed to cancel their worst score of the four team members.

In two days time we see the second part of this Nations Cup with the Grand Prix Special.

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