Acrobatics, dancing, horses and plenty of British flair at “Horse & Symphony”

It was magical, it was spectacular and emanated a lot of British charm in line with the partner country of this year’s CHIO Aachen: The unique “Horse & Symphony” concert experience impressed the crowds in the Deutsche Bank Stadium on Friday and Saturday evening.

The ingredients were the fantastic live music of the Aachen Symphony Orchestra, a few World Champions, dancers, nostalgic carriages and of course plenty of horses. The result was a staging of the popular “Horse & Symphony” format that whisked the crowd off into a magical world, which was above all one thing: “very British”. For the General Music Director, Christopher Ward – himself British – this year’s motto “All you need is love”, based on the legendary Beatles hymn, was a “home game”. So the music ensemble directed by him filled the Deutsche Bank Stadium with some of Great Britain’s most popular melodies: From the works of classic composers like Edward Elgar or Vaughan Williams, to legendary pop songs by Rod Stewart or Queen, through to popular tunes from James Bond and Harry Potter. All of which was enhanced by fascinating show performances, some of which were elegant, some action-packed, others of a historical character. For example, the Lower Saxony pony quadrille comprising of 25 German riding ponies performed an enchanting, accurate freestyle choreography on the sand arena in Aachen, the Grand Prix rider, Britta Rasche-Merkt, and her team sent a breath-taking light show in British colours up to the Aachen skies and Andreas Wintgens and his crew took the crowd off on a journey into the 19th Century with historical carriages, whereby particular the carriage pulled by 10 mini Shetland ponies delighted the spectators.


The animal trainer Anne Krüger-Degener and show rider Lisa Röckener also impressed the crowd. Whilst, accompanied by two horses, five dogs and a whole herd of sheep the former proved to be a source of best entertainment, the latter demonstrated together with her horse Valoo in a performance based on total trust that horses cannot only fly over cross-country obstacles without a bridle, but that horses can also skip rope. Also part of the show: The Pas de Deux World Champions, Justin van Gerven and Chiara Congia, whose spectacular performance to the legendary sound of “Skyfall” was not only accompanied by the Aachen Symphony Orchestra, but also by the singing of the Youth Choir of the Aachen Theatre. There was a particular highlight right at the end, when Great Britain’s Double World Champion, Charlotte Fry, let her aspiring your star, Especial, a son of her Olympic horse, Everdale, dance under the floodlights to a medley of famous hits by Elton John, Ed Sheeran and Coldplay and to the rhythmic clapping of the spectators. That was magical!

The photo shows the Pas de Deux World Champions Justin van Gerven and Chiara Congia at "Horse & Symphony". (Photo: CHIO Aachen/Andreas Steindl).

The photo shows the Pas de Deux World Champions Justin van Gerven and Chiara Congia at "Horse & Symphony". (Photo: CHIO Aachen/Andreas Steindl).