This year’s All Nations’ Cup in Aachen was amazing. The show saw some of the very best Arabian horses from the world compete, and the atmosphere all weekend was brilliant.
But. There were a couple of things missing… Irina, Sigi and Erwin. All three born in Germany, and all three very much part of the fabric of our beloved world of Arabian horses.
In April, horse photographer Irina Filsinger passed away. Irina hadn’t been seen at shows for a few years now, but that did not mean that we had forgotten her. Quite the contrary, and her legacy will live on through her remarkable and evocative images that she shared with us all. The announcement of her passing was met with sadness from all that knew her, admired her, and respected her.
This has been an incredibly sad year, and just after Irina passed away, Sigi Siller of Om El Arab passed away in May. Born in Germany, Sigi spent most of her life in America in the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley, California. From the foundations of El Shaklan (Shaker El Masri x Estopa by Tabal) to the Om El prefixed mares and young stallions that are famed the world over, Sigi was a central part to the lives for many of us. Again, like Irina, Sigi hadn’t been to Aachen for a few years, but to see her daughter, Janina, there without Sigi by her side affected many of us.
And then, there was Erwin Escher. Like Irina, Erwin, too, was a photographer and he was also a horse breeder, through the Rothenberg Stud, that he ran with his wife, Annette. Erwin passed away just a few days after Sigi – and the world as we knew it was truly rocked. Erwin was seen in Aachen, in the centre ring, year after year, and that first look on Thursday, with the familiar figure missing was very hard to take.
The All Nations’ Cup Organisers, however, paid tribute to Irina, Sigi and Erwin in their own very special and beautiful way. A lovely marquee was set up, with large photographs of all three, with candles burning constantly.
Then, during Sunday’s opening ceremony, a video was played with words read out by announcer Mike Ashmore. My amateur footage is below to be enjoyed and shared – I apologise for any shakiness, but it is very hard to video when tears are streaming down your face. It was a very moving and fitting tribute to three incredible people that have been a part of all our lives for so many years.
This year has been hard – we have lost so many, and you can read more about the fallen in my piece The Year the Tears Came, published in the June edition of The Arabian Magazine.
But for now, please enjoy this lovely tribute to three amazing people – and my personal thanks to the All Nations’ Cup Committee for honouring our friends so beautifully.