CHIO Aachen 2024 starts with a spectacular Opening Ceremony

Full house, fantastic atmosphere, what an opening of the CHIO Aachen 2024. Around 200 horses and 800 performers including cheerleaders, football players, Barbie, the reigning Mrs World and a country singer, who flew in especially from Texas, turned the official opening ceremony of the World Equestrian Festival into an exceptional evening in the Main Stadium.

When the US American jazz singer, Soleil Niklasson, performed the national anthem of her home country, the spectators in the sold-out Main Stadium in Aachen experienced a goosebump feeling right at the beginning. You couldn’t just sense the joyful anticipation of a fantastic evening with plenty of US American flair on the stands, but also on the Holy Grass. Because around 800 performers and 200 horses bustled around in the arena, turning the 90-minute official opening of the World Equestrian Festival into a colourful pageant.


“A perfect match!” is the motto of the CHIO Aachen 2024, which is strongly influenced by the partner country, the USA, this year. “An intimate friendship and close partnership connects this year’s partner country of the CHIO Aachen – the United States of America – with North Rhine-Westphalia, which we are currently celebrating and reinforcing in the scope of the NRW/USA Year,” the State Premier, Hendrik Wüst, explained in his speech, held from the centre of the stadium. “I bid a warm welcome to our guests and wish them all an action-packed, successful World Equestrian Festival.” And when the US American show-jumper, Laura Kraut, officially announced the CHIO Aachen 2024 as being open together with the most successful dressage rider of all time, Isabell Werth, and 100 children danced to “We are the world”, it was time for the second goosebump moment for the crowd. The action lovers in the extensive arena certainly got their money’s worth too. For example, a herd of Mustangs; the country singer, Danny Griego; the lasso thrower, Roper Kiesner; the racy Haflinger horses with their surfboards and off-road kjörers rocked the stadium. And just after the State Stud of North Rhine-Westphalia celebrated the deep friendship between North Rhine-Westphalia and the USA together with a US Western quadrille, the Main Stadium went pink. Because, surrounded by numerous soap bubbles, the two social media stars, Hella Gabbert and Julia Steinbrecher, paid tribute to the probably most famous doll in the world. After all, Barbie has US American roots, of course.


And that was not all either: Mrs World, Dr. Julia Schnelle, who was recently crowned in Las Vegas, paid a visit to the crowd in Aachen in a traditional chuckwagon – as did Burnie, the mascot of the Rhein Fire-Düsseldorf. He and Karli were in the front row when the football players from the Rhine metropolis conjured up a fabulous Superbowl feeling on the Holy Grass together with their cheerleaders and the US national team, “USA Cheer”, who flew through the nights skies of Aachen during their spectacular performance. And what other ingredients are needed for a typical US American show? Exactly, bald eagles. The spectators were amazed when the impressive birds of prey, which are depicted on the USA’s coat of arms and stand for freedom, courage and strength, circled over the Main Stadium. As a grand finale, in the exact same moment that the sun gradually sank behind the characteristic arch of the NetAachen Stand, a glorious firework display lit up the night sky and the performers came back into the Main Stadium to the legendary sounds of “New York, New York”, which the crowd rewarded with a standing ovation. So, it was goosebumps galore again!

The photo shows the flag-draped soldiers of the US military, the Color Guard, and the 3rd Infantry Regiment of the United States of America, the Caisson Platoon Soldiers. Photo: Franziska Sack

The photo shows the flag-draped soldiers of the US military, the Color Guard, and the 3rd Infantry Regiment of the United States of America, the Caisson Platoon Soldiers. Photo: Franziska Sack