In the famous battle of the sexes competition at the CHIO in Aachen, it was the men who were the victor’s – just like last year. The male riders defeated the ladies in the “Best of Champions” competition. The winners included the reigning Olympic gold medallist, Steve Guerdat from Switzerland with Qui Vive De La Tour. The very combination who also won the opening competition at the CHIO Aachen this week, the STAWAG-Prize. The top-ranking American Kent Farrington with Robyn Parsky’s Blue Angel, Germany’s Marcus Ehning with Comme Il Faut, living legend Ludger Beerbaum with Carinou, and the European Team Champion Ben Maher from Great Britain with Diva II as well as his European Championship team member colleague Scott Brash with Hello Sunshine.
The ladies were represented by Katrin Eckermann of Germany, Janika Sprunger of Switzerland, Reed Kessler of the USA, Katharina Offel of the Ukraine, Luciana Diniz of Portugal and France’s Pénélope Leprevost. After a first round, both teams rode head-to-head over two identical courses. Reed Kessler was eliminated in the first round, which meant that Scott Brash would not compete in the second round either, so four pairs rode in the head-to-head, instead of the planned five-member team layout. The men already managed to secure a clear lead in the first round, which they defended comfortably in the second round.
It opened up well for the women with Katrin Eckermann going clear on Olivia La Sweet but unfortunately a fence down for Janika Sprunger and Reed Kessler requiring to retire meant they ladies fell back. Katharina Offel’s clear round did little to assist the ladies as Luciana Diniz and Penelope Leprevost also picked up faults.
For the second round all combinations enter the arena at the same time and line up in the order of their relay; with each team competing against one other simultaneously over two identical courses. The difference in points of the teams after the first round is converted into seconds; therefore delaying the start for the ladies team, which meant a significant disadvantage for the second round. This major disadvantage meant that the Men’s team had it in the bag and once again reign as Best of Champions at Aachen.