According to an announcement on the official CHIO Aachen website today, the World Equestrian Festival, CHIO Aachen, cannot take place as planned this year. Instead of merely postponing the event, the organisers have decided to cancel the event due to the corona crisis. “People’s health takes top priority,” said Frank Kemperman, Chairman of the Aachen-Laurensberger Rennverein (ALRV). He went on to say that against the background of the national and international developments as well as the measures adopted by the Federal Government, it was decided to cancel the CHIO Aachen 2020.
“This was a very emotional and very difficult decision for us,” stated Michael Mronz, General Manager of the Aachener Reitturnier GmbH (ART). According to Mronz, in spite of the fact that the CHIO Aachen has strong, reliable partners and the great support of its loyal spectators, the situation still presents a huge challenge.
However, the fans and friends of the CHIO Aachen won’t have to completely miss out. “We will organise a virtual CHIO Aachen 2020,” reported Michael Mronz in the hope that it will be possible to convey at least some of the legendary CHIO Aachen atmosphere in digital form. The organisers will present more details about the project over the next few days.
The corona cancellation is the first time that the CHIO Aachen has ever been cancelled in its long and illustrious history, with the exception of WWII.
The history of the meanwhile largest equestrian event in the world began in 1898 when Aachen-Laurensberger Rennverein was founded initially to hold horse races. Subsequently smaller horse shows were organised. International equestrian events have been staged in Aachen since the 1920s, the only time the event didn’t take place was during the Second World War, from 1940 to 1945. As early as 1946, competitions at the showground at the Aachen Soers recommenced, from 1947 onwards on an international basis. Today, each year around 350,000 guests from all over the globe visit the traditional competition grounds just outside the city of Aachen over a course of ten days.
The emotional support for CHIO Aachen among the equestrian community is second to none: “The solidarity of the people with their CHIO Aachen is immense during these difficult times,” reported Carl Meulenbergh, the ALRV President. Many of the ticket holders have already explained that they have decided to forego having their ticket price reimbursed. “We are sincerely grateful to them for this generous gesture,” stated Meulenbergh, because: “As a non-profit making organisation, the ALRV is reliant on this support.” Donors will of course receive a donation receipt.
Tickets that have already been purchased can be converted into tickets for the CHIO Aachen 2021 (June 25th to July 4th). The CHIO Aachen team will now go about contacting all registered ticket customers and kindly asks everyone to currently refrain from placing telephone enquiries, because it will take some time to set up the technical requirements needed for the purpose.
The offices of the CHIO Aachen remain closed to the public until further notice.
Following from yesterday’s publication of a new RCVS flowchart, indicating a higher degree of flexibility for veterinarian treatments of non-emergency cases under the coronavirus lockdown, BEVA and the RCVS have published further updates. This guidance will remain in place for the duration of the current lockdown.
BEVA reiterates the standard government advice that everyone should stay at home but acknowledges that “veterinary practices provide essential services to safeguard animal health and welfare, and it is vital that this work continues during the current lockdown.”
BEVA advises that for all veterinary work, individual vets and veterinary teams need to carefully try to balance the needs to maintain animal health and welfare and to work in ways that prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, which means that while “the number of clients seen face-to-face should be kept to an absolute minimum”, instead of taking a prescriptive approach, BEVA now asks veterinary surgeons “to assess the risk to animal and human health prior to performing any visits or procedures.”
The BEVA statement continues:
“In particular, veterinary surgeons should determine whether the work unequivocally needs to be done within the next one to two months (i.e. it is time-sensitive work) or whether it can be delayed. For example, it is difficult to see a justification for performing PPE or poor performance investigations at the current time. If work cannot be delayed, then you need to determine whether it can be done safely (including maintaining 2 metres physical distancing from anyone else). If the work cannot be delayed, then it is appropriate to risk assess the specific circumstances and proceed if deemed safe and appropriate. However, if the work cannot be delayed but cannot be conducted safely, then you will need to use your professional judgement to devise a plan as how the situation can be resolved.”
The RCVS published a new flowchart providing guidance for veterinary procedures, effective from 14th April 2020.
In a departure from previous communications, which appeared to rule out any routine and non-emergency visits, the flowchart, while asking vets to consider first if a non-emergency case can be supported remotely, advises vets that if they can effectively support the case while maintaining social distancing for their team and the public, they can “go ahead, taking care to risk assess for [themselves], [their] team and the public, to include consideration of movement of people to, from and around the premises”.
In cases where social distancing cannot be maintained, the advise is that if “the planned intervention [could] have animal health and welfare or public health implications if not carried out within two months” veterinarians can “go ahead, if [they] feel confident in [their] risk assessment for [themselves], [their] team and the public, to include consideration of PPE and movement of people to, from and around the premises.”
It is with the greatest sadness that we heard today of the passing of Dr Wilfried Otto Bechtolsheimer who passed yesterday, 8th April 2020.
Writing on her Facebook Page, Laura Bechtolsheimer Dressage, his daughter Laura Tomlinson wrote:
“We see the sun slowly setting, and we are still surprised when it is suddenly dark.”
It is with great sadness and profound regret that we say goodbye to our husband, father, grandfather, trainer, mentor and friend.
Dr. Wilfried Otto Bechtolsheimer 14th October 1948 – 8th April 2020
He is survived by his wife Ursula Laura; his children Felix with wife Geraldine, Götz with wife Alida, Till with wife Julia and Laura with husband Mark; and grandchildren Annalisa, Amélie, Wilfred, Lukas and Hanni.
His deep passion for our sport and his love of all creatures, but horses in particular, were at the heart of his artful horsemanship which touched so many of us and will continue to inspire.
An intimate funeral for the family will be held on Saturday 11th April at 11am in Ascona, Switzerland. Details for a memorial service in his beloved Gloucestershire will be announced later in the year.
British Showjumping launch their official Podcast with host Adam Cromarty. The first episode is now available on the link below and will, over the next few days, start appearing on all the podcast platforms that people listen to them on.
During the period of sport shut down we aim produce regular broadcasts with future episodes giving further updates, news and views along with rider interviews and insights from those supporting the sport.
Tune in to the first episode which includes an update from British Showjumping and Interim British Equestrian Federation Chief Executive Iain Graham. Adam also catches up with showjumping member and NHS nurse Jessie Tamman along with British Team rider Holly Smith who discusses juggling home schooling and keeping her yard going through the lock down period. NAF UK also talk to Adam about producing supplements during this time of isolation and social distancing whilst legendary David Broome CBE tells us about his international career including a time a horse left on a train for Rome without its groom!