Susanna Cottica’s editorial
Aachen is an extraordinary event, for many reasons it can be considered the best in the world. It is 100% the horse’ show, and the best of the best is organised for them. The whole organisation is outstanding, facilities, stabling, the competition rings, the warmup rings… everything has been designed around the horses’ needs with even the smallest detail taken into consideration.The public is always exceptional. More then 350.000 spectators and 400 journalists and photographers. Five disciplines: Jumping, Eventing, Dressage, Vaulting. There are both sport and leisure horses, with parades and entertainment with beautifully turned-out horses. The effort of the whole team of the organisation is just incredible and no one has ever missed it. The spectators are all real horse people.
The spectators and all the atmosphere make Aachen the most difficult event in the world to compete at. Riders need the highest level of skills to be able to ride here as the atmosphere and the crowds can be very intimidating. To be able to jump in Aachen, horses and riders must be incredibly fit both mentally and psychically and experience has a key role in the success. This year is the 10th anniversary of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping and in Aachen Rolex has organised a meeting with the most representative testimonials of this prestigious circuit. Rodrigo Pessoa, Scott Brash, Martin Fuchs, Daniel Deusser were able to discuss about their experiences, their horses, and the long journey they all went through as riders and horsemen to reach the top.
Different nationalities, different roots and different personalities but the same point of view on equestrianism. It is essential to be a horseman before being a rider, and treasure the experience acquired day by day, with all the highs and the lows. Being wise, having experience, and remaining humble are key to deeply understand the extraordinary world of horses. «To be able to jump at a show like Aachen a horse needs to have all the quality, scope, strength, health, agility and heart but above all a levelled head» said Rodrigo Pessoa, talking about his ride Major Tom.
«Hello Sanctos is the most intelligent horse I have ever had the opportunity to ride. The more he grew, the more confidence he showed. He started off by being very shy during the London Olympics in front of a large audience, but day after day the cheering of the crowds gave him the confidence to become the champion that he is, the one who changed my life» said Scott Brash.
«The mentality of a horse is his number one gift; time and training can improve every aspect of his performance, but his personality and willingness to win are essential. Walking into an arena like Aachen could be daunting for many horses but some of them take it as an opportunity of showing their mental strength and grit, and the roaring sound of the arena will give them even more motivation, to show off their skills» says Daniel Deusser, talking about Killer Queen and Scuderia 1918 Tobago Z.
«In the Nations Cup, after the first clear round and Steve’s clear, I said, ‘Come on Pezi, let’s give our best and take home the Cup… he was with me, and together we tried our best, we felt we could succeed» says Martin Fuchs, just after winning the Nations Cup with the Swiss team.
Many are the anecdotes, the memories and the advice from the four top riders, who all agree that nothing is given. It is important to be always ‘alert’, just like the horses, with extreme attention to detail. The horses should always be in the rider’s mind, and he needs to be a part of their life like they are a part of his. Find on page 38 the interview with Scott Brash. The only winner to date of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, with his extraordinary Hello Sanctos.