A Groom’s Experience at Aachen
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Day 1- Aachen - We Have Arrived
With the horses settled, the equipment unpacked, and the American flag hung high the US riders prepare for one of the most prestigious competitions in the world, CHIO Aachen.
Photo: Meghan Byrne and DressageDaily's Mary Phelps at Aachen
Catherine and I are stabled with Steffen Peters and Ravel. We arrived shortly after 4pm this afternoon. I settled Cadillac into his stall and unpacked. Cadillac is stabled across the aisle from his father, Solos Carex! We then spent some time setting up USA banners, curtains, blankets and flags. There is no question when walking past our stalls which nation we proudly represent.
I am very lucky to be driving a smaller lorry so that I was able to find a very convenient parking spot right next to the stable. There are so many huge lorries that are parked like sardines. Several of them have living quarters and room enough for 6 or 7 horses. There are electricity hook ups everywhere making the parking lot look like a spider web of wires.
Tomorrow brings the vet check and open schooling for all riders. Much more to come….
Day 2- Aachen
The rest of the afternoon was left for sightseeing. Catherine and I took one of the Mercedes sponsored shuttles into downtown Aachen. Downtown is filled with unique novelty shops, chic fashion boutiques, and delectable bakeries. The entire landscape of downtown is settled on a hillside, which adds character to the already warm town. In the center there is an enormous century old church. Inside the church the walls and ceiling are designed with colorful mosaic tiles mixed with gold leafing. Having the opportunity to see the surrounding cities in which these incredible competitions are held is such a privilege.
In the afternoon, after it had cooled off, I took Cadillac out for a walk and grazed him for a while. In the evenings there is always something fun to do. There is either Dressage or Jumping to watch and usually the grooms get together and have a cookout around the lorries. This environment is such a great way to meet people from all over the world. It is fun to talk to other grooms and find out how their stables are run and what different things they do to manage their top horses. I certainly learn a lot by talking to the seasoned grooms, who have been with their riders for several years.
Tomorrow is the first day of competition for the Dressage riders. The Prix St. George starts in the morning followed by the first half of the CHIO Grand Prix. Catherine will be riding in the second group of riders which doesn’t start until Thursday. So tomorrow will be a schooling day and allow plenty of time to watch some of the best riders in the world. More to come…
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