Famous Aachen horse show moves to digital format

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Aachen is the latest equestrian show to move to an online format, following the cancellation of the real thing because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The one-off change makes for a slight alteration in the event’s “CHIO” name, from “Concours Hippique International Officiel” to “Concours Hippique International Online”. It will take place from August 4 to 9.

“Of course, nothing beats the real CHIO Aachen,” said Frank Kemperman, Chairman of the Aachen-Laurensberger Rennverein e.V. (ALRV), but organisers feel they have come up with a good solution in moving to a digital format, using cutting-edge technology.

Among the innovations is to use official technology partner SAP, which has developed a dressage judging app that be implemented during CHIO Aachen digital.

They say that “CHIO Aachen digital” will be a combination of virtual experiences, social media, sports and entertainment. There will be dressage and show jumping challenges with top international riders, as well as a virtual eventing competition, plenty of fan involvement, a mobile phone game and a German vs. Dutch national cup in four-in-hand driving. Highlights of some of the most famous competitions in the world from past years will also be shown, including the Rolex Grand Prix, Mercedes-Benz Nations Cup, and the Deutsche Bank Prize, which will be expanded with extra material, much of which has not been published before.

“Of course, we would have all preferred a live event at our traditional showgrounds,” said Carl Meulenbergh, President of the ALRV, “however I am convinced that we will be able to bring a great deal of the legendary CHIO Aachen atmosphere to the people’s homes in the scope of this digital event.”

2020 is the first time that Aachen has been cancelled. It began with the founding of the Aachen-Laurensberger Rennverein in 1898, initially with horse races, with shows following later. International equestrian events have been staged in Aachen since the 1920s. The only time the event did not take place was during the Second World War, from 1940 to 1945.

Each year about 350,000 guests from all over the globe visit the traditional competition grounds over the ten days of the event.

Aachen’s World Equestrian Festival for 2021 is scheduled for June 25 to July 4.

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