CHIO Aachen directly on the doorstep
By Peter Jegen
Of course, caravans with yellow number plates are stood there. The Netherlands as the partner country of the CHIO Aachen are however not the only reason for experiencing the World Equestrian Festival from a mobile home. This option has already existed for years.
And for the grooms of the best jumping and dressage horses, camping at the shows is just as much part of the everyday job as for the team at four-in-hand driving competitions. Whereas the four-legged athletes are housed in stables, their two-legged friends live in horse vans that are equipped with luxurious living compartments.
“When things get tight, I search for a solution,” said Georg Pohen. The farmer has been asked for over a decade whether he can put up several obstacle judges at his farm, Gut Kuckesrath, which is located at the Soers right next to the start of the cross-country course of the four-in-hand drivers and eventers. No sooner said than done. Together with the Aachen-Laurensberger Rennverein he came up with the idea of making an area available for caravans and mobile homes, as well as for the trucks of the diverse exhibitors at the CHIO grounds. The possibility of camping within walking distance from the Main Stadium spread like wildfire.
“Now we already have many guests,” said Pohen, whilst he noted the number plates of two newcomers at the large wooden table in front of his house. As is nearly always the case, they are regular guests. They know how everything works: Pay 30 Euros a night, place the receipt in the windscreen so that it is easily visible and drive to the allocated pitch – and then enjoy. Like on an orderly camping site there is electricity and water, permanently installed showers and toilets. Furthermore, that incredibly unique CHIO Aachen atmosphere is all-in here . The eventers and four-in-hand drivers gallop directly past the caravan door.
In the midst of it all, instead of just being present is of course easier when camping at the CHIO. Living in mobile homes is part of everyday working life for the grooms. These houses on wheels are parked in the middle of the showgrounds. “That is wonderful and very practical,” said Armando Jacobo, whilst the Oldenburg-bred grey mare, Caruschka, is grazing peacefully next to him. The Brazilian groom works for Eduardo Menezes and has no reason to complain. Caruschka won the opening jumping class at the CHIO on Tuesday and his boss had bought a brand new horse truck prior the show.
Costing a six-digit figure, this certainly burns a hole in one’s wallet, but a so-called horse truck like those of the Stephex brand on display in the Aachen Village, always offer every imaginable luxury. On purchasing a lorry to transport horses with, one also gets five-star accommodation to boot – and saves the costs for expensive hotels from then on. “A kitchen, bathroom, shower, toilet, living and sleeping area, TV, fridge,” Armando Jacobo lists the comforts of his accommodation. And he brags proudly that it even has air-conditioning. The Brazilian is working at the CHIO in Aachen as a groom for the first time. Unlike the experienced campers at Pohen’s farm, he can’t possibly know that it is more important to have protection against the rain than against the heat here. The others have namely already dug a ditch around their awning in case it pours with rain.
By Peter Jegen
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