Tell us about Digital Aachen, what are the highlights of the programme?
«It is totally diversified. We have sport challenges with top riders like Patrik Kittel, Luciana Diniz, Ludger Beerbaum, Jessica von Bredow‐Werndl or Sandra Auffarth. In the virtual SAP Cup, the CHIO Aachen fans can become Eventing Managers, and on top of that there are many competitor stories on the most important competitions; for example, Luciana Diniz will tell us again what it was like being pipped at the post in the Rolex Grand Prix three times and Otto Becker and many others will report about the fascination of the Mercedes‐Benz Nations Cup. In addition to this, of course, we have highlights from the Rolex Grand Prix and other fascinating competitions and as‐live formats from the 2019 CHIO Aachen, enhanced with commentary as well as exciting background information. All of this is going to be highlighted in a daily report from August 4th‐9th, on Facebook, YouTube, chioaachen.de and via clipmyhorse.tv».
How did you come up with the ideas for the content?
«Naturally, the entire CHIO Aachen team have developed the ideas and the concept jointly. Whereby a lot of the input came from the outside – from the CHIO Aachen fans and even some of the riders have provided us with ideas».
What are your objectives for the digital event?
«Our aim is the same as for the “real” CHIO Aachen: Entertaining people. We want to deliver a bit of this very special and unparalleled Aachen Soers atmosphere to the living‐rooms of the CHIO Aachen fans around the world in this challenging year».
How has the team adapted to dealing with the COVID‐19 pandemic?
«Very well. The majority of the employees are working from home, we engage with each other via video conferences and online communications. Everyone adapted to the situation very quickly, I think we have also learned a lot in terms of how we will work in the future too».
Do you think this experience has forced you to look at changing the format of CHIO Aachen next year?
«We will no doubt also be able use many of the aspects that we have now digitally integrated into the CHIO Aachen in future. Applications like the Eventing Manager, but also the intensive online exchange with our visitors and fans».
Do you think there will be more virtual events, even after the pandemic is over?
«I can well imagine that, albeit on a smaller scale. Everything that offers added value is worth being considered for the future too».
Have you observed any great initiatives in a different sport you would like to mention?
«Definitely, there are many good initiatives and ideas of how to keep fantastic events alive in spite of the pandemic».
Which riders have been involved with Digital Aachen?
«National riders as well as international. For example; Ludger Beerbaum and Sandra Auffarth, Jessica von Bredow‐Werndl, Ijsbrand Chardon, Patrik Kittel and Luciana Diniz will be involved».
What has been the biggest lesson you have learnt during these challenging times?
«To never be too sure about anything».
What have you most enjoyed about putting the Digital Aachen together?
«The enthusiasm within the team. Of course, we were all sad, disappointed and stunned that the CHIO Aachen 2020 had to be cancelled – but it was magnificent experiencing how new ideas were born and put into practice».
Looking at the quest for the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping in 2021, which riders do you think will be in contention for it?
«The great thing about our sport is the high density of performance. There are no longer five or six riders that dominate everything like in the past. We experience outstanding sport in the most fascinating equestrian arenas in the world every year in the scope of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping. Scott Brash made it clear to us that it is possible to master the ultimate challenge, but who is going to be the next contender? That is impossible to predict. Of course, my fingers are crossed for our Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping live contender Martin Fuchs. And next to them I personally would like to say: I would be delighted if it were to be a woman».