The wisdom of a champion

To refer to him as a horseman is an understatement. Christian Ahlmann is first and foremost a man of great sensitivity and depth of soul.

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  • #german
  • #WEG
  • #olimpic games
  • #european championship

He is in fact an extraordinary horseman who has today matured a rare wisdom thanks to the wealth of experiences he has lived through, to the difficult times in his sporting career and which he has been able to address and overcome and from which he has emerged stronger and more mature than ever. His wisdom also stems from the great victories achieved on the most important shows in the world. From August 2012 to December 2013 he was number 1 on the World Ranking List. Three participations in the Olympic Games, winning a team bronze in Athens in 2004 with Coester, two World Championships, with the team bronze in Aachen 2006 with Coester, six participations in the European Championships in which he has collected a number of medals, including the double gold medal, individual and team, in Donaueschingen with Coester, six Finals of the World Cup with the victory in Leipzig in 2011 with Taloubet Z. Despite competitive events keeping him consistently busy throughout the year and around the world, Ahlmann still finds time to dedicate to the young horses that he often presents at the World Championships reserved for them every year in Lanaken, home to his father in law, Leon Melchior. To this is added the Grand Prix and Nations Cups victories, some of the most important in the world, one above all being the victory of the Grand Prix of Aachen in 2014 with Codex One, a result that is the dream of all riders around the globe. His presence is also evident in the 2015 season currently underway where he continues to make an impact as one of the Top show jumping riders....

As a wise and experienced horseman, Christian Ahlmann attributes his success to the work of the team behind every good horseman; a special team, composed of outstanding collaborators, a solid stable organisation and scheduling of the work and of the horse racing season that is practically perfect. His gratitude however as a priority focuses on his family, his father and mother, his wife Judy Ann Melchior, daughter of Leon Melchior, founder of Zangersheide Breeding and Studbook, and also on his sponsor of many years, Marion Jausss. Today it is the team in particular, given the level reached, that makes a difference in our sport, as Ahlmann himself confirms: "Everything in life develops and grows, nothing is the same as twenty years ago and as such our sport has also grown. The rearing, the technology in all equestrian sectors, the management level of the stables and of the horses, the structures of the competitions, and therefore the technical level of the pairings and races are constantly evolving. Today, there are many pairings; new teams have been added that are organised in order to remain on the circuits at the top. You need to manage your stables at the top level of professionalism and expertise to keep pace, starting with those who look after the horses on a daily basis and including the meticulous organisation of the competitions that are the realisation of a project for each individual horse. Germany is historically a nation of great equestrian tradition and therefore a leader in the disciplines of show jumping and dressage and now also in combination events - continues Ahlmann - yet even in Germany we have to work hard to stay at the top of the rankings in the major events. We must continue working to improve in all aspects, technical and managerial. In Europe the breeding of sports horses has reached a very high level and in Germany we are constantly trying to improve ourselves to produce young horses that will be able to reach the top levels. Breeding is the strength of a nation. Today the economic strength of the new teams allows them to compete at the highest level but I am convinced that the foundations and methods are the result of decades of tradition and culture. The entry of new teams is an asset for our sport because it stimulates the improvement and increase of breeding, it results in the creation of new venues for competitions with increasingly refined and important structures which then attract the attention of new major sponsors. This is testified by the new competitions that are taking place in structures and in high-prestige places and that have wide media coverage. On the other hand, however, simply buying good horses doesn't inevitable lead to good riders. No amount spent can buy an Olympic medal or a World Championship. You do not become champions by accident ... it takes years and years of work, of commitment and dedication".

"In order to main a high level it takes several high quality horses - continues Ahlmann - each with its morphological and aptitudinal characteristics and with their own particular personality and character. Based on its characteristics, each horse at my stable follows a work and competitive program according to its specialisms. Of course I know my horses very well and I know what their preferences are, what fields they perform best in, the terrain on which they jump best on and the competition class in which they perform, indoor or outdoor fields. It is on the basis of this knowledge that I organise the competitive program, always trying to include periods of hard work combined with rest breaks, alternating the horses in relocation and ensuring the best conditions for them. Horses should always feel comfortable with what they are doing in order to be competitive thereby ensuring steady growth and a stable career over time. Horse riding is made up of details. Every day is a new opportunity for growth and improvement. The essential basis is flat work. Every small detail must be addressed with precision. When I took part in my first competition, I was 12. I was eliminated at number 3! I was young but I was still quite disappointed and from that day onwards I understood that I had to work hard and learn if I wanted to obtain results. So I started working on flat terrain trying to understand what, how and why I was performing certain exercises and actions. In the meantime I improved my style. Months went by before I returned to competition. But when I resumed, I just kept going. Of course, there are always ups and downs, for everyone, but you should never lose heart, you need to persist and keep believing".

2012 was for Christian Ahlmann an important moment in his life: his son was born: "Leon was born into a family of strong equestrian tradition on the side of both parents - says Christian - My family and that of my wife Judy Ann have in fact been related to the world of horses for generations. So I hope that he too will continue with horses. He may decide to become a rider, trainer, coach or a breeder, it doesn't really matter which as long as he keeps going with the horses. In any case it will be his decision, I won't push him into it but of course I would be happy if he did continue in that vein. My wife and I are fortunate to have a family behind us that supports us and allows us to head off each week for competitions. Occasionally we take Leon with us but we try not to do so too often because it can be very stressful for children. This is my life, the only one I want. I am happy to be with the horses and to enjoy my life as it is and I wouldn't want to be doing anything else...".
​Christian Ahlmann was born on 17th December 1974 in Marl, in Lower Saxony, Germany, where he still has his stable. Supported since childhood in horse riding by his parents, inheriting his father's ambition and his mother's balance, he is now a pillar of German equestrianism. Determined, thoughtful, always ready to reflect on his performance, Ahlmann is a solitary person who loves the company of his family and of his horses. There are so many outstanding horses with whom he shares his successes, Taloubet Z, Aragon, Codex One and many others but the horse of his heart is and will remain Coester, the grey stallion that has made Christian Ahlmann not only a great rider but a true horseman also because of events that have marked their careers. Purchased in 2001 by Marion Jauss, the grey Holsteiner stallion, son of Calato, took Ahlmann to the highest international levels and to winning the most important medals from 2001 to 2009. Now, at twenty-two, Coester can enjoy retirement in the company of little Kessy, a miniature pony, also white, a true girlfriend. And hopefully they can continue enjoying each other's company for many years to come.