Katrin Eckermann and Julien Epaillard dominate in Friday’s competition in Aachen…

CHIO Aachen Friday - 007

After yesterday’s fall Eckermann strikes back with a sensational ride in the Prize of North-Rhine-Westphalia. The entire rider community here in Aachen were still discussing her accident at the water fence yesterday, when young Katrin Eckermann won the Prize of North-Rhine-Westphalia. In the jump-off that was contested by 14 pairs, Eckermann, the 24-year-old from Sendenhorst near Munster put in an incredibly fast round in the 40° CHIO cauldron with the 13-year-old, Rhineland-bred, gelding Carlson and reached the finish line in 45.11 seconds. She risked everything and then immediately sought the cool shade in the stable area after her ride.

Eckermann didn’t march back to the Main Stadium until the last rider Marc Houtzager from the Netherlands entered the ring – to be congratulated briefly by her colleagues. Because none of her 13 fellow competitors was able to beat her time. Eight pairs jumped clear, but Eckermann was the fastest. “It was absolutely brilliant. Putting in such a performance after such a setback is what distinguishes a top sportsperson,” commented Dr. Dennis Peiler. The Executive Director of the German Olympic Riding Committee (DOKR) has been taking an interest in Eckermann’s booming career for some time already. His positive assessment: “She is a tough winner-type and she kept her cool at precisely the right moment again.”

“I forgot about yesterday this morning, and today I was the first rider in the jump-off and gave it my all and in the end I was first” said Eckermann.

In spite of her fall the previous day, Eckermann had set herself a clear, ambitious goal for today’s main competition. “It was clear for me from the start that I was going to give everything I’d got. After all, we are here in Aachen, where it is quite acceptable to risk all,” the self-confident rider stated. She also mentioned that she had never had a problem with water jumps before. Firth Of Lorne – whom she will ride in the Rolex Grand Prix – is already in shape again. “I lunged him this morning. He is fit,” the rider reported. Just like herself. “I got up this morning and I simply put my thoughts about the Nations’ Cup behind me.“ For Eckermann things have come full circle. A few years ago the exceptional young talent won jumping competitions for aspiring young riders in the Albert-Vahle Arena. Now she is also beating the “big stars”.

“First of all I have to say that this is the second most important class of the whole week. It was a very, very good class where a lot of ‘first horses’ jumped” said Deusser. “The line from the triple bar to the triple combination was a very difficult line – the riders towards the end of the class had a bit of an advantage and that is probably why we had a bit more clear rounds in the end of the class. The riders knew how to ride the line. It was really long between the two verticals and then very short to the oxer which was difficult for all horses to jump.”

Doda Miranda finished second with his relatively new mare AD Nouvelle Europe Z. “She was so quick I couldn’t follow. I think she was faster than me from the start to the finish line. She is a very fast and good rider with a quick horse as well. It was very hard to beat her – I tried! But I’m very happy with the second place because I only rode this mare for three months. My federation is observing me as an option for the WEG so it was a very important result for me. I have another horse, my best horse Bogeno and he will jump Chantilly. Normally they want him, but it is good to have another option.”

NetAachen-Preiss to Julien Epaillard and Pigmalion Du Rozel…

The best rounds in the NetAachen-Preiss came from the final few riders, but it was France’s Julien Epaillard and Pigmalion Du Rozel that were the fastest combination. It was an action filled competition as many of the horses did not the small Devil’s Dyke-version at fence seven; which saw plenty of refusals. A total of four riders were eliminated and three retired. Coming in with only seven riders left to go, the notoriously fast Epaillard took over the lead from Germany’s very own Hans-Dieter Dreher and Quiwi Dream (Quidam De Revel x Contender). Eppaillard cut Dreher’s time by 0.57 seconds. Coming in as the 25th rider in the order, Belgium’s Olivier Philippaerts moved into third place on Carlito C (Kannan x Romeo), with a time over a second slower than the winner.