The four-in-hand driver, Bram Chardon, the son of legendary Dutch driver, Ijsbrand Chardon, is just 25 years old. And has been a regular guest at the CHIO Aachen for almost as long. But he is actually sitting on the carriage for the first time this year. And promptly claimed his first victory.
The Obstacle Driving Competition, where the drivers can choose their own course through the obstacles, was on the agenda for the four-in-hand drivers today. Depending on the degree of difficulty there is a fixed amount of points for successfully passing through the obstacles. The driver with the most points and the fastest time wins.
Today that was the Dutch driver, Bram Chardon, on his CHIO Aachen debut. “I was pleased with how everything went over the last two days,” explained the tall young man, who is currently heading the field in the Nations Cup classification with his fellow team members, father Ijsbrand and Koos de Ronde. “It is a dream come true for me to be able to compete here in Aachen. And then to enter the Main Stadium with the white blanket this afternoon is already a huge success for me!”
But the CHIO Aachen is not over yet. Tomorrow, they will set off across the cross-country course in the Marathon competition. Bram Chardon said: “I am well-prepared, but the Marathon in Aachen is different to anywhere else. The crowds of people, the atmosphere, that makes it more difficult to concentrate. Especially since the horses have to give their very best five days in a row. But today’s team is also competing in the Marathon tomorrow and in the obstacle driving on Sunday. That gives me security. Apart from that I think I have prepared myself well and I have the feeling that we are ready for Aachen.”
Bram’s father, Ijsbrand Chardon, came fifth today. His son was his groom up until last year. “In the meantime it is a real battle between papa and me. But we are still a team, walk the courses together and develop our strategy together.”
Mareike Harm came a close second for Germany. A ball fell at a decisive obstacle. Otherwise she would have won. “It would have been fantastic, if the ball hadn’t have fallen,” the driver from Schleswig-Holstein stated. “But we are happy nevertheless!”
Third place behind Mareike Harm went to the driver from Hungary, József Dobrovitz, followed by Koos de Ronde (NED), Ijsbrand Chardon (NED), Glenn Geerts (BEL) and Benjamin Aillaud (FRA). The two-time dressage winner Boyd Exell (AUS) “only” came eighth.