Marcus Ehning winner in the Rolex Grand Prix at CHIO Aachen

Germany’s Marcus Ehning gave the 40,000 patriotic spectators a reason to celebrate at CHIO Aachen, as he clinched the prestigious Rolex Grand Prix title aboard his 15-year-old chestnut gelding, Pret A Tout. Although this is the fourth Major Ehning has won, his Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping journey has only just begun, as he becomes the new live contender. We spoke to Ehning following his incredible performance, which left him two seconds clear of his closest rival, Portugal’s Luciana Diniz:

Interview made by rolexgrandslam.com

What were your thoughts when you walked the course? 
I thought it was a really good course, I thought there would be about 10 clears and, in the end, there were 11. There wasn’t anywhere specifically that looked too challenging or that my horse couldn’t jump, but my horse has performed amazingly in past years here, and he gave me a confidence that I could really trust him and believe that we could go all the way. He is a very flexible horse and I am very lucky to be riding him.

Marcus  Ehning Marcus Ehning ©Kit Houghton - rolexgrandslam.com

Which round was more difficult, the first or second? 
For me the first round was more difficult, a few times I didn’t have the perfect rhythm that I wanted but I was very happy to be clear. The second round was amazing, from the first jump to the last, we were fast but there was a lot of control and I really enjoyed it. 

Where you nervous watching Luciana’s round? 
I was nervous watching Luciana, she is a good rider and has come close to winning here a few times.

You are now the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping live contender, will you be competing at the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ in September? 
Before this win today I was only focusing on the World Equestrian Games, but obviously now this is a very different situation. I need to speak to my team and my owners to work out a strategy and think about what we do.

Rolex Grand Prix results

Behind the Stable Door With: Marcus Ehning’s groom, Mel Obst

Groom Ehning Mel Obst, groom of Marcus Ehning

Can you tell us about Pret A Tout? 
Pret A Tout is the easiest horse we have, he has a super character and is so brave. He is very calm, you can give him to anyone to hold and he will behave, he is just lovely and easy. When he is jumping he is like ‘I am doing my job and focused’ after he has finished he is like ‘I am chilled, I just want to eat’ when he is eating he is very happy, I think he even had a bit of grass in the prize giving! In the stable he is so relaxed and such a wonderful horse to be around, I am so lucky to work with him.

How will you reward him tonight? 
We will reward him with a lot of food, he loves food. He loves carrots, apples, everything, so he will be getting all of those tonight for sure.

Do you get nervous watching Marcus compete? 
No, I am usually ok actually. When I watch I usually stay very calm, I think whatever happens it will be ok! When he is inside the arena I start to get a little bit nervous, but I always try to hide it!

How did you feel when you realised Marcus had won? 
I felt unbelievable, it is so exciting for us! We have had an amazing week here at CHIO Aachen and to win the Rolex Grand Prix tops off an incredible Show for us, to win this and the Mercedes-Benz Nation's Cup, it feels like a dream. It took some time to sink-in that we had actually won, I suddenly realised Luciana’s time was slower and worked out we had actually won, it was unreal.

Now you are on the Rolex Grand Slam journey, do you think you will go to Spruce Meadows? We have some amazing horses that could certainly compete well at Spruce Meadows. The Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping is something I every rider wants to win, and I would really love for us to go to Spruce but we will have to see!

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