Christian Ahlmann and his dream of winning the Rolex Grand Prix at the CHIO Aachen

Christian Ahlmann has got a new favourite place at the CHIO Aachen showgrounds. In the tent city between the Mercedes-Benz Stand and the entrance to the stadium. From here he has the best view of the legendary winners’ board, which is inscribed with the names of the winners of the Rolex Grand Prix. Major Lotz was the first winner in 1927 and the name “Christian Ahlmann” has been listed on the board since 2014 too. We spoke to the 41-year-old show-jumper about his victory, the CHIO Aachen 2016 and the Olympic Games in Rio.

You won the Rolex Grand Prix at the CHIO Aachen in 2014. How does one feel during such a moment?

Christian Ahlmann: Very good, of course. I think it is the big dream of every show-jumper to win this competition once in their lifetime, being eternalised on the winners’ board one time in their life. That was a very special moment and achievement for me, my family, the entire team and for the sponsors.


Does the pressure increase when one returns to Aachen as the winner?

Ahlmann: With or without a victory – I have been extremely highly-motivated when I travel to Aachen for years. Alongside the Championships, the CHIO Aachen is always the most important show in the year. The riders take their best horses with them and they ride from Tuesday to Sunday. It has always been my dream to have my name on the winners’ board. This year my dream is to have my name inscribed on the board a second time. As I said: I am highly-motivated!


Is there a secret to the success behind your constantly good performances

Ahlmann: I don’t know whether there is a secret, but the most important thing is the team around you. My team comprises of super horse owners, grooms, riders, my family and they support me in every situation and take the pressure off me at the right times. Of course, I also have an important part in doing everything right in the ring. But that alone no longer suffices in our sport.


Is the CHIO Aachen a highlight of your show year?

Ahlmann: Aachen has always been the number one for me! The crowd, the atmosphere, the conditions – everything is simply first-class here. You don’t find anything like it anywhere else in the world.


Do you get the opportunity to enjoy anything else besides the sport at the CHIO Aachen or is it just a week of really hard work?

Ahlmann: I wouldn’t say it was really hard work. It is a fantastic week with magnificent sport and of course I do also try to gain a few other impressions here and there. However, for me it does mean several days of pure concentration. Because Aachen is the most important show with several sporting climaxes. Of course, I try to enjoy the show, however I do focus completely on the sport.


And what are the German team’s chances of winning the Mercedes-Benz Nations’ Cup this year?

Ahlmann: Of course, I hope that I will be on the team on Thursday evening. I am highly-motivated, my horses are in good form. It would of course be great if the German team was finally able to win again after a few years.


What are your expectations for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro?

Ahlmann: Of course, I will try my very hardest at the CHIO Aachen to qualify for the team that is going to Rio. And naturally it would be if I could qualify for the Rolex Grand Prix on Sunday again.

Christian Ahlmann and Codex One, winner of the Rolex Grand Prix 2014. Foto: CHIO Aachen/A. Steindl

Christian Ahlmann and Codex One, winner of the Rolex Grand Prix 2014. Foto: CHIO Aachen/A. Steindl