Holland’s Anky Van Grunsven was crowned queen of the kür on Saturday night, to deafening cheers from nearly 60,000 spectators.
Aachen rocked as each of the 15 riders in the freestyle performed their tests under floodlights in the main stadium.
“The atmosphere has been unbelievable, we have such a great sport,” said the Olympic and European champion. “This new formula [of a medal for the grand prix special as well as the kur] is so exciting for the audience, and great for the riders starting from scratch each night.”
Riding two horses before Anky, Denmark’s Andreas Helgstrand had the audience in the palm of his hand, as his nine-year-old grey, Blue Hors Martine, performed her test with passion and flare to “Voulez-vous couchez avec moi?”. His daring performance earned him 81.5%, a silver medal and a standing ovation.
“Martine used to be quite hot,” he explained, “and she finds the difficult movements easy, so we still have work to do on the basics.
Germany’s Isabell Werth took bronze after another outstanding performance with the once difficult Satchmo. Afterwards, she admitted the bay gelding had been a little tense, and that she felt it was a little early for his confidence to be performing in front of 60,000 spectators.
Britain’s Emma Hindle rode in the kur after Holland and Germany were compelled to drop one rider each from their qualified teams of four.
Lancet concentrated well, and although he popped a cheeky half buck into the canter right in front of judge Dr Schüle, this mattered little to Emma.
Afterwards she said Lancet “could be better” but spoke of her delight at flying the flag for the Brits in the kur. “I don’t mind what our mark is. It was nice just to be there,” she said.
Don’t miss this week’s Horse & Hound for in-depth reports on all the action in Aachen