“Bobby” says “Goodbye”
Aachen was always a top venue for him, as winner of the SAP-Cup his name is eternalised on the legendary winners’ board twice. On Saturday afternoon the Riding Master, Ingrid Klimke, officially retired her partner in success, Hale Bob OLD, from the sport at the CHIO Aachen 2023.
There couldn’t have been a more fitting setting: The best of the SAP-Cup of the CHIO Aachen 2023 lined the way as one of the stars of their sport entered the Holy Grass of the Aachen Soers one last time: SAP Hale Bob. Led by his long-standing rider Ingrid Klimke and his groom Carmen Thiemann, the 19-year-old gelding returned to the venue where he had always been so successful in his career. His name is eternalised twice on the legendary CHIO Aachen winners’ board. In 2017 and 2019 he carried his rider to the victory in the SAP-Cup. And the accomplishments the pair have notched up at international championships in the course of their joint career is long since equestrian sport history: Ingrid Klimke thanks “Bobby” for the first individual title in her career: In 2017 the pair claimed the European Championships title in Strzegom, Poland. Two years previous to that they made their championship debut at Blair Castle, Scotland: Team gold, fifth in the individual classification. In 2016 they flew to Rio de Janeiro. The silver medal with the team at the Olympic Games was followed by individual bronze in 2018 at the World Championships in Tryon (USA). Then, at the European Championships in Luhmühlen in 2019: Double gold! The pair picked up their last medal in 2021 at the European Championships in Avenches (SUI). Aged 17 at the time, “Bobby” finishing fifth in the overall ranking, the pair greatly contributed towards the German team picking up the silver medal.
After 70 international eventing competitions, that Hale Bob OLD has competed for Klimke’s yard, the end of his sporting career came to an end earlier than expected. At the test event for the World Championships in Pratoni del Vivaro, Italy last year, he sustained an injury on the cross-country track and never returned to the sport. But a horse of his calibre can’t retire from the sport without a fitting ceremony. And that is what happened on Saturday afternoon in Aachen’s Main Stadium. With his ears pricked, “Bobby” listened to the speech of his long-time rider, who described him as being her biggest tutor. “Thank you Bobby, for all the unforgettable moments, that you have bestowed upon us,” stated Ingrid Klimke, whilst her former top horse chomped happily away on a carrot that Henrike Paetz, Director Strategic Global Sponsorships SAP, had brought along for him. And then he paced out of the arena to the thunderous applause of Aachen’s crowd. He is on his way back to the spacious fields in Münsterland, where he will enjoy his well-deserved retirement with the rest of his four-legged friends. Take care “Bobby“.
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