1. There are 428 permanent stables in Aachen.
Most were built before World War II, but some are more recent. All the stables are at least 3m by 3m. The stables are used frequently, both for shows and as a quarantine facility for horses travelling abroad from Germany, but there are no permanent residents.
“They’re better than temporary stables in a tent because they are always dry and out of the wind,” says show director Frank Kemperman.
The Germans always have block 1 of the stables during the normal Aachen show, CHIO Aachen, but as there are fewer German horses here for the Europeans than during the CHIO, they are sharing it with the Dutch.
This week, the vaulting horses have the outside stables, while the showjumpers are housed in the barns.
2. The stable managers’ office is manned 24 hours a day.
The stables are closed from 11pm to 6am and grooms have to be accompanied by a steward if they want to come in during this time.
The stables have cameras in them, so the stable managers can keep an eye on all the horses.
3. There are up to 18 vets on-site each day.
The veterinary station is the centre of veterinary activities at Aachen, under the care of veterinary service manager Dr Friedrich Wilhelm Hanbücken.
It has two areas for examining horses, as well as four treating boxes for horses who need closer attention.
There are always a minimum of six vets at Aachen, with up to 18 when disciplines such as cross-country or driving marathon are taking place, which require vets to cover the whole course.
The new veterinary centre was built for the 2006 World Equestrian Games (WEG) here.
“Frank Kemperman [show director] said we’re not doing it for the WEG, we’re doing it for the next 20 years,” says Dr Hanbücken. “We have very good facilities here.”
4. There are four or five farriers on site.
There is always a farrier in the final preparation area, in case a horse throws a shoe just before he is due to go in the ring. In addition, many teams bring their own farriers, who work with those on-site.
5. Teams decorate their stables with national flags.
Ok, you probably did know that. But you know you want to see the pictures.
Full report from the dressage European Championships at Aachen in the magazine out today (20 August). Full report from the showjumping equivalent in next week’s issue (27 August).