The horses at the CHIO Aachen cope well with the current hot temperatures. In an interview, Chief Veterinarian, Dr. Friedrich Wilhelm Hanbücken, who has been accompanying the CHIO Aachen for 31 years, 16 of which in an executive role, explained why.
Question: We humans have a lot of problems with the heat. What about the horses here at the CHIO Aachen?
Dr. Friedrich Wilhelm Hanbücken: The horses that compete at the CHIO, are well-trained athletes. Furthermore, the strain of the jumping or dressage sports is very short, higher temperatures hardly affect them at all.
Question: Is it a different case in the eventing and driving disciplines?
Dr. Hanbücken: In international comparison, the eventing course is relatively short and is thus not such an exceptional challenge for the horses. But, of course, the strain is higher than in the other disciplines. That is why the horses are permanently checked by vets, judges and per camera while they are on the track. This allows fast reactions should any signs of fatigue occur. The same also applies for the four-in-hand drivers. Furthermore, we have reduced the required speed and have integrated extra walk phases into the course.
Question: Have you introduced any further measures due to the temperatures?
Dr. Hanbücken: Naturally, we are making sure that there will be plenty of possibilities of cooling the horses down at the finish. Ice, water and big ventilators that emit a cool mist.