As an amateur rider and an SAP intern, being inside the action at the World Equestrian Festival was a dream come true. Learn how SAP technology at CHIO Aachen is bringing the excitement of equestrian sports closer and closer to fans.

You could describe the Concours Hippique International Officiel (CHIO) international horse show in Aachen, Germany, as the “Wimbledon of the equestrian world.” This year, from July 12 through 21, the world’s top riders gathered to display their skills in the disciplines of showjumping, dressage, eventing, driving, and vaulting. As an event sponsor and official technology partner, SAP was there too, under the motto “Power Up for the Future.”

CHIO and SAP Team Up

Seven years ago, representatives from CHIO Aachen and SAP met at the AppHaus in Heidelberg, Germany, to come up with ideas for how to use SAP technology to make the event more exciting for fans. From spectator judging to tracking riders live with sensor technology or an interactive quiz for the whole family, much has been discussed and is now offered to equestrian fans.

How an equestrian fan experiences Ingrid Klimke at CHIO Aachen

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How an equestrian fan experiences Ingrid Klimke at CHIO Aachen

See what the author experienced at CHIO Aachen Video produced by Angela Klose.

New for 2019: SAP-Cup

This year SAP also became sponsor of the “SAP-Cup,” a two-day international eventing competition in which riders vied for both individual and team honors. The competition began on July 19 with dressage, the first of three disciplines.

SAP ambassador Ingrid Klimke was once again in Aachen to compete with her mount, SAP Hale Bob OLD. Klimke and Bobby put in a strong dressage performance that took them straight to the top of the individual class.

How SAP Technology Enhances the CHIO Aachen Fan Experience

Spectators watching the dressage tests were able to score the individual riders and tests via the Spectator Judging app and compare their scores with those awarded by the official competition judges. Meanwhile, the SAP Equestrian Showroom analyzed all the available data to provide insights into the various dressage riders’ performances. Dressage tests were judged with a paperless e-scoring system powered by SAP for the first time. It was also the first time that the results and running scores were presented in real time.

In the EquiRatings Prediction Center, SAP and equestrian data science partner EquiRatings presented a statistical model powered by SAP Predictive Analytics software that calculated the likely results before and during the SAP- Cup, monitoring individual riders’ chances of winning.

As in previous years, eventing riders had sensors attached to their backs. Data from these sensors was transmitted live with SAP Equestrian Analytics for viewing in the CHIO Aachen App and at the SAP Equestrian Showroom. Spectators could follow the riders on their way around the course and during the closing stage in the stadium, even when they were out of sight. Some also wore helmet cameras to allow fans to experience the ride from the rider’s perspective after the event.

A special highlight for 2019 was the Racewood equestrian simulator presented by SAP in cooperation with Mercedes in the Mercedes-Benz exhibition area. This life-like black mount, which whinnies and snorts like a real horse, captured the rider’s movements through sensors and offers an exciting and realistic ride for both novices and more experienced riders.

For CHIO Aachen, SAP linked the simulator to the SAP-Cup eventing course, giving those who managed to secure a coveted slots on the simulator the chance to share the same experience as their eventing heroes. Visitors also enjoyed a virtual tour of the course through a 3D headset and gained a rider’s-eye view of the size and complexity of the various obstacles.

SAP Ambassador Ingrid Klimke Triumphs

The SAP-Cup ended in a nail-biting showdown in the third and final test, cross-country. Having finished first in the dressage and ending the showjumping section with four penalty points, Klimke was in third position going into the cross-country test. A number of riders failed to finish the course, but she and Bobby put in a great performance.

With the final ranking depending on the very last rider, Klimke had a nervous wait before being able to celebrate winning the SAP-Cup in the individual class and the Nations’ Cup with the German team. She is the first rider to win the eventing competition in Aachen three times. She was also the competitor the EquiRatings Prediction Center tipped as the likely winner.

The charitable organization Willberry Wonder Pony was set up in 2016 by English teenager Hannah. Then aged 17, Hannah was suffering from osteosarcoma, bone cancer. The organization’s aim is to make a key contribution to cancer research and to grant equestrian-related wishes to seriously ill people and their families. Hannah lost her battle with cancer, but the organization is still going strong and its membership is growing.

SAP joined the list of the charity’s supporters in 2018. In Aachen, many of the eventing riders, including SAP ambassador Ingrid Klimke, demonstrated their solidarity with the organization by carrying a Willberry Wonder Pony on their backs while competing. SAP Berry is a registered member of the Willberry Wonder Pony organization and was a popular visitor at the CHIO in Aachen.

Melanie Scholz is an intern with the SAP News team.