Eventing is considered to be the Queen of sports among the equestrian disciplines, the SAP-Cup as one of the highlights of the CHIO Aachen. After her first victory in 2014, Sandra Auffarth claimed her second triumph in this competition in 2022. We spoke to the 35-year-old and conjured up the right setting for Sandra and her trusted partner, Viamant du Matz.
You always seem to be extremely relaxed when you ride. Is that deceptive or are you really never nervous?
Well, let’s say I am always very focused. But of course championships and important competitions do affect me and I do get very nervous. But I think it is one of my strengths that I am able to concentrate so well, which enables me to tackle the tasks at hand in a relatively relaxed manner.
You spend countless weekends travelling to shows throughout the year. Is that sometimes tedious?
It is sometimes, to be honest. But travelling frequently is simply part of our sport. And I love what I do. But above all I am very grateful that I have several fantastic horses at my yard at the moment, which allows me to participate at big shows – also in the jumping discipline. I really enjoy doing that and I am also very proud too. But when we do have a weekend without a show, I incredibly enjoy spending the time at home.
What does home mean for you?
A great deal. We live here in a cute, small village, where everyone knows everyone. The solidarity is unique. For example, when I returned after my victory in Aachen recently, everyone in my immediate environment followed my progress and crossed their fingers for me. Then, there is always a nice reception back home with all the neighbours. That is precisely the most precious aspect of a victory: Sharing it with the people, who are close to me and who celebrate my success with me.
These people include your family too, who accompany you to each important show…
…yes, exactly. I think that is where my inner serenity comes from, which helps me concentrate during important competitions. Because I know that I have so much support. That is definitely also the case if anything goes wrong – that is also part of our sport. My family is always there for me in such moments. We experience all of the highs together, but also all of the lows. That helps me get over setbacks and emerge from them strengthened.
Your current top horse is Viamant du Matz. What is he like?
Mat, as we call him at the yard, is a very reserved, sceptical horse. It took ages for me to win over his trust. But he loves the sport, is very smart and always gives 100 percent. We have experienced so much together over the years, that has really brought us closer together. That is also a great feeling for me as a rider that you become more and more of a team together with your horse.
Does he notice when it is an important show?
Yes, of course. I find it particularly nice to see how proud he is when he returns home after a good performance. You can really notice that the success makes him grow and how content he is with himself.
He must have been particularly content after the CHIO Aachen then. After all his name is now engraved on the legendary winner’s board…
…Yes, that is simply marvellous. Aachen is the most important show of the year alongside the championships. Notching up my second victory there is something really special. All the more so, because things weren’t always that easy with Mat at first. It means a great deal to me that we have both made it together.
You have already achieved so much in the sport. Do you still have any sporting goals?
Yes, of course. There are many things that I still want to achieve. One day, I would love to compete in the Rolex Grand Prix on the Sunday afternoon. After all, dreams are allowed.