The CHIO Aachen, the great equestrian festival, experienced a turbulent Saturday that brought out all facets of equestrian sport: grandiose performances, a dead horse, fantastic demonstrations of the unity of rider and horse and the disqualification of one of the great stars of dressage - by Isabell Werth because her horse had wounded its mouth.

The many thousands of spectators experienced emotional roller coasters, and the critics of this sport will feel fired.

Evi Simeoni

sports editor.

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Above all, the fact that the horse Allstar, with which the eventing rider Rosalind Canter became double world champion four years ago in Tryon, was so badly injured in the cross-country course that he had to be put to sleep: the owners made this decision "on veterinary advice". , it said in an official statement.

The 17-year-old, extremely experienced stallion had not fallen once.

He had severely hit his left front leg on a corner and was then unable to walk.

It was later determined that even an operation could not have saved the horse.

"Love and Respect"

"There are no words for the love and respect I have for Allstar," said the rider.

Her team won the eventing test in the Soers, which is actually known for combining high technical requirements with a low risk of accidents.

All participants were full of praise for Rüdiger Schwarz, the designer of the cross-country course.

But the risk for riders and horses inherent in this sport cannot be completely eliminated.

The 6,000 spectators in the dressage stadium experienced an unpleasant scene, where they had just celebrated the Danish Cathrine Dufour – she won the Grand Prix Special with her highly impressive young gelding Vamos Amigos and also delivered the decisive result for the victory of her team.

Isabell Werth rode into the arena as the last starter with the stallion Quantaz, who could have turned the team result, but she could not finish her test.

Chief judge Susanne Baarup from Denmark rang her bell just as Quantaz started to change lead in twos.

The judge wiped the stallion's nostrils with a white cloth, which turned pink.

Blood on the horse's mouth leads to disqualification as a precaution, even if it is a harmless minor injury.

Werth: "A small wound"

It was the first time that such a mishap happened to Isabell Werth.

At first she didn't know why the judge had ended her exam.

"I thought maybe I'd made a mistake," she said and explained: "It's nothing but a small wound on the inside." National trainer Monica Theodorescu pointed out that everything was fine at the mandatory bit check before breaking in .

"That happens sometimes," she said, emphasizing that the decision was correct and in accordance with the rules.

On Friday evening, Isabell Werth celebrated the supreme art of dressage when she said goodbye to her dream mare, Bella Rose.

She rode the 2021 Olympic freestyle in Tokyo one last time before retiring the 18-year-old chestnut mare.

Many tears of emotion flowed when the crowd waved white handkerchiefs in farewell according to Aachen tradition.

In this form, Bella Rose could just as well have competed again - at the World Championships in August in Herning she would have had chances of a medal.

"I'm proud to be able to say goodbye to the mare in this form," said Isabell Werth, who floated for an evening.

Half a day later she landed roughly again.

"If you haven't experienced everything, you haven't been there long enough," explained the 52-year-old, the world's most successful tournament rider.

There was a comparatively harmless hustle and bustle about the individual victory in eventing.

First, the Swabian Michael Jung and his top horse Chipmunk had been at the top - after the best dressage, a flawless special jumping and a supposedly flawless cross-country.

However, after hours of scrutiny, the judges ruled that Chipmunk had not cleared obstacle 14 correctly.

As a result, Jung slipped back to eighth place, and Sandra Auffarth (Ganderkesee) with Viamant du Matz was declared the winner.

The German team finished second behind Great Britain, who had to mourn the loss of one of their best eventing horses.