No other driver comes remotely close to Boyd Exell at the greatest horse how on earth, CHIO Aachen. Boyd has this month claimed Aachen’s ultimate individual driving honour, the Prize of Family Richard Talbot, for a record 11th time.
The Bega, NSW-born and Netherlands-based Boyd has won the Aachen title in 2003, 2009-2013, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2022 and now 2023. This impressive tally sits alongside his six FEI World Championship titles, ten World Cup Final victories, and 12 wins at the prestigious Royal Windsor Horse Show, among many other accolades.
His quest for title No. 11 at CHIO Aachen began in the Dressage, where he and his team finished a narrow second to American Chester Weber – one of the few who can claim to have beaten Boyd in the top prize at Aachen, relegating him to second place back in 2014. Boyd and his team of four horses – Celviro, Checkmate, Hero and Ivor – scored 38.92 while Chester achieved a mark of 38.85 where, like eventing, the lower the score the better.
Celviro (Vulcano x Waterman), a 16-year-old KWPN gelding; Checkmate, a British-bred 17-year-old gelding; Hero (Nando), a 11-year-old KWPN gelding; and Ivor (Crescendo x Patijn), a 10-year-old KWPN gelding all are owned by Exell Holding BV and were part of Boyd’s sixth FEI World Championship win in Pratoni last year.
The second leg of the combined driving, the Marathon, saw another second place to Boyd and his team behind German speed specialist Michael Brauchle – again incredibly close, with the scores reading 105.54 to 106.46. Boyd’s trademark consistency across the two phases saw him take the lead in the overall rankings – would he be able to hold on in the final Obstacle Driving (Cones) phase?