|CHIO Aachen Show Director Frank Kemperman stands in the show's new starwalk|
The squares contain the names of legendary horses who have shone underneath the stars of July nights in Aachen. And you can walk over it right now, because the show has just opened for 2011.
But not a hoofprint adorns the star. Instead, an actual horseshoe belonging to the respective four-legged superstar is embedded in the center of the star. There are names you might know: “Gigolo”, “E.T.”, “Ratina Z”, “Totilas” and “Hickstead”, to name just a few. There are 17 shoes, 17 stars, and 17 names of jumping and dressage horses, all of whom have either won the Deutsche Bank Prize, the Dressage Grand Prix of Aachen or the Rolex Grand Prix, the Grand Prix of Aachen.
And is there a correlation between champions and special shoes? There seem to be bar shoes of every type. It looks like a stroll down Aachen's Walk of Fame will be an education in orthopedic horseshoes. A little autograph by the farrier would be a nice touch--perhaps I will have to write a guidebook.
The Show Director of the CHIO Aachen, Frank Kemperman, came up with the idea of this special “Walk of Fame”. It took a year to make it happen: “We tried out a lot of things before finding a way of embedding the horseshoes into the plaques,” commented Kemperman.
The plaques were being set into place just before the show was set to open. The “Walk of Fame” can be found right next to the entrance of the CHIO Aachen offices.
Whenever I feel like everything in the world has been done: every creative idea, every perfect photo, every stunning magazine cover, every clever title or slogan has been used up by other people and there's nothing original left, I never panic for very long.
I know I need look no further than the website or magazine of CHIO Aachen. They're always up to something. More than a horse show, horse event, or horse festival, it is more like a state-of-mind...if you happen to have horses on your mind
If you're a rider, driver or vaulter, Aachen is where you want to compete someday. For the rest of us, Aachen is a giddy celebration of not just the horse, but the best that horses bring out in us.
Aachen's message is to love not just the horse, but the way horses can and should make us feel. We're pulled to Aachen because we know it is a world stage where great things will happen to horses and to ourselves. We can be innocent and awed, all over again, by what goes on there--no matter how hardened and grizzled we've become by our years in the saddle or in the barn aisle.
For some reason, Aachen always seems to send me a subliminal message or two each year. There will be photos in the magazine or news items or events that use images or concepts of the hoof that leave me smiling and saying, "Why didn't I think of that?" and I know that I can and will think of something for my seemingly impossible challenge at hand. Like the one that has me stumped right now.
I need to just let myself remember that Aachen is out there, constantly re-inventing itself with an ongoing stream of creative interpretations of everything Horse (and sometimes Hoof). And remember that so am I, and so are you. There's no end to what we haven't imagined yet.
Walk on, Aachen!
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