For the rider of jumping horses, every fence, every class and every show presents its special challenge. But the greatest of tests is Aachen in Germany, the scene this week of the Silver Jubilee in international jumping competition. Aachen is the biggest international horse show in every way—attendance (between 30,000 and 50,000 spectators each day for 10 days); prize money ($30,525); and more than 100 jumpers. At Aachen, too, jumpers face the most formidable and most varied of obstacles, made doubly difficult by the exceptionally long courses. Only a superbly conditioned horse has any chance to win. Aachen spectators spend the entire day at the show. The grounds are equipped with restaurants, a bank and even a barbershop. The local citizens' interest does not end with the competition. Each year a reception is held for the teams and their captains at the Rathaus, and the streets around it are crowded with people hoping to catch sight of favorite riders entering and leaving, a celebrity treatment rarely accorded horse show performers in this country. Aachen participants are always moved by the closing ceremony. At dusk of the last day, as the champions make a final tour of the ring, the huge audience stands, waves white handkerchiefs and sings "Auf Wiedersehen."
Aachen spectators applaud in rhythm with traditional air played by the hand as winning riders circle the ring after each event.
German Olympic rider Alwin Schockem√∂hle guides jumper over a spread fence, one of many Aachen obstacles famous for size or solidity.
The wall comes tumbling down, soon to be followed by horse and rider, as Brigitte Schockaert of Belgium and her mount misjudge an obstacle.