Some of the world’s leading vaulters are limbering up for Aachen in Germany this weekend, in what is shaping up as a preview for the upcoming Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.
Vaulters from 18 countries, comprising 48 individual vaulters, 57 horses, and 13 teams will be battling it out in the Albert-Vahle Arena.
Among them is Mary McCormick, from the USA, who has flown her own horse over for this and for WEG in France. Palatine will also be the horse on whom fellow US vaulter Mary Garrett will compete.
Also in the field is Joanne Eccles from Great Britain with WH Bentley, who has won at Aachen since 2009. But there will be some serious competition this year, with overall World Cup winner Anna Cavallaro from Italy with Harley, the European Champion Rikke Laumann from Denmark with Ghost Alvarvad Z, and top Swiss vaulter Simone Jäiser with Luk.
The Germans have not managed to beat any of these vaulters yet this season, which is something national coach Ulla Ramge is looking to change. She has nominated her four top protégés for Aachen in the hope of topping the podium. Leading the host nation is Corinna Knauf. The 21-year-old vaulter from Cologne is the national champion and Germany’s number one, and she is setting her aims high with her ten-year-old Westphalian-bred mare Fabiola. The other three are Theresa-Sophie Bresch (Tübingen), Christine Kuhirt (Bochum) and Kristina Boe (Hamburg).
The “Salto-Queen” Lisa Wild from Austria is also among the favourites. The 19-year-old from Salzburg took the vaulting scene by surprise at the World Championships in Le Mans in 2012 as the first lady vaulter to do a somersault on the back of a horse.
The top athletes from the men’s vaulting scene are also represented at Aachen. Last year’s winner Erik Oese from Moritzburg near Dresden will be battling it out with the exceptionally talented French vaulter, reigning European Champion Jacques Ferrari; Austria’s Stefan Csandl, who won the CHIO in 2012; Germany’s Viktor Brüsewitz, who has been part of the German elite since 2009, and his brother Thomas Brüsewitz.
Germany is hot favourite in the team competition, but instead of using their experienced horse, Arkansas, they are bringing in a new horse, Delia. It will be the first time in Aachen for both the nine-year-old chestnut mare and team member Johannes Kay.