CHIO meets the Sun King
Louis XIV would definitely have liked the CHIO Aachen. He was a passionate rider and horse lover, he adored huge pageants, the pomp, the show. He used to set off for hunts and hacks from Versailles Palace, which stands for France more than any other castle. The impressive stables, the Grande Écurie, are located directly next to the Palace. Our French partners chose this symbolic venue as the place to present France as the partner country of the CHIO Aachen 2019. We agree that this was a good choice of location. Which is how it came about that a delegation from the CHIO Aachen accompanied by several journalists rose very early one day, so that late in the morning they were able to look out of a window overlooking the castle courtyard only to gasp in amazement and finally present the partnership together with their French partners. I
France is going to present itself in all its facets in Aachen. Of course, it will significantly shape the spectacular Opening Ceremony. Many things that distinguish our neighbours will be demonstrated in the show. The long tradition of being a proud equestrian sport nation of course, the French horse breeds, but also fashion, music, culture and history. The visitors can also look forward to the legendary Garde Republicaine or the proud riders of the Cadre Saumur. Some of them will also take part in the “Horse & Symphony” concert. Here, top-class horsemanship will be united with the live music of the Aachen Symphony Orchestra under the direction of the General Music Director, Christopher Ward. There are currently still tickets available for the Friday evening, July 12th, 2019 starting at 8.30 p.m. The centrepiece of the German/French partnership will be the “Rue France”. The partner country will be presented in manifold ways in the heart of the tent city, the “CHIO Village”. All of which will be gathered around this year’s CHIO Aachen landmark, a 15-metre high Eifel Tower which bids the visitors “Bienvenue!”.
Of course, during the press conference all parties stressed that the partnership between France and the CHIO Aachen also has a social, uniting function. This is why as one of the most symbolic places of the Republic, Versailles, was naturally the ideal location for the occasion. And yet there is a further good reason to meet up precisely here: Because horses were always part of the important Palace complex in Versailles. Up until the French Revolution around 2,000 horses were stabled there permanently. The most elegant of which were kept in the above-mentioned stables that were built in 1683. Back then already, as today, mounted on horses the ladies encountered men at eye level. Numerous paintings in the Palace demonstrate that horsemanship was not purely a man’s world, many female riders shared the passion for horses. The horses will be returning to Versailles in 2024 for a further spectacular occasion: This is namely where the equestrian competitions of the Olympic Games will be held, along the Grand Canal in the Palace’s park. What a spectacular setting for the sport. And perhaps also the next parallel: Should the initiative to hold the Olympic Summer Games in the Rhine-Ruhr region prove successful, the equestrian competitions would be staged nowhere else than in Aachen.