Medals, memories and incredible bonds: two greats to bow out at major show

  • Two sporting superstars will bow out at CHIO Aachen as eventing legend SAP Hale Bob OLD and former world showjumping champion DSP Alice will officially retire.

    Ingrid Klimke’s double European champion and five-star winner was a stalwart of German championship teams, winning a total of seven medals.

    Ingrid partnered the now 19-year-old Helikon gelding to her first CCI5* win, at Pau in 2014. The pair were second at Badminton the following spring and also finished ninth at the Gloucestershire event in 2017.

    Their weighty medal haul features the 2017 and 2019 European individual gold medals, plus 2018 individual world bronze, Rio Olympic team silver, European team gold medals in 2015 and 2019 and 2021 European team silver.

    Ingrid announced “Bobby” was retiring from eventing last year, after he sustained an injury at the World Eventing Championships test event in Pratoni in May 2022.

    He will return to Aachen, where he has twice won the CCIO3*-S, one last time for an official retirement ceremony at midday on 1 July.

    Simone Blum will retire her 2018 individual world showjumping gold medallist DSP Alice in Aachen’s main arena in the break between the two rounds of the Nations Cup on 29 June.

    The exact details of the 16-year-old mare’s farewell ceremony are being kept as a surprise, but organisers added that “everyone should have a handkerchief ready to hand”.

    Simone became the first woman to take the world individual title for more than 30 years when the pair took victory in Tryon, where they also helped Germany to team bronze.

    Simone recalled the first time she sat on the now 16-year-old mare in 2014.

    “I looked her in the eyes and thought: What type of a wonderful horse are you?” said Simone.

    Their other achievements include the Halla challenge trophy for the most successful horse at CHIO Aachen in 2019 and securing team silver at the European Championships in Rotterdam the same year, finishing fourth individually. It would turn out to be their last championships together, as the mare sustained an injury, although she did return to lower-level international competition.

    “I wouldn’t be where I am now without Alice. She has always been my soul mate. Because she is so unique, we have a very special connection,” said Simone, adding that Alice “loves Aachen”.

    “I am very much looking forward to letting Alice revel in the applause of her favourite crowd.”

    • What are your favourite memories of these special horses? Send your thoughts to hhletters@futurenet.com, including your name, nearest town and country, for a chance for your letter to appear in a forthcoming issue of the magazine

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