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Dominique Eerdekens receives CHIO Badge of Honour

Dominique Eerdekens has been honoured by the Aachen-Laurensberger Rennverein e.V. (ALRV) with the Badge of Honour of the World Equestrian Festival, CHIO Aachen on Tuesday. During the CHIO Aachen 2008, the Belgian had stopped the driverless horse team of the Australian driver Boyd Exell in the Marathon course after Exell and his grooms had fallen off the carriage in an obstacle. “Dominique Eerdekens is truly a hero for us”, said ALRV-President Klaus Pavel in front of media representatives from Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. “Even if he himself considers his courageous deed, which he accomplished at the risk of jeopardizing his own health, as being the most natural thing in the world. Which, in today’s world, is surely not a matter of course.”

Eerdekens had grabbed the reins of the horse team that was galloping by and in doing so “was able to prevent an accident”, said Pavel. Also Boyd Exell, who lives in England and had come to Aachen exclusively for the tribute ceremony, thanked the Belgian from Neerpelt (Province Limburg). “He saved my horses, they could have suffered serious injuries otherwise”, said the Australian. “Especially because he has reacted in a calm way and has stopped the horses by letting them slow down in a wide circle. As a horseman he has done a great job. Unfortunately such accidents can never be obviated, even in spite of the highest safety precautions.” Dominique Eerdekens, who is a carriage driver himself stayed modest in spite of all the praise and the flurry of the photographers’ flashbulbs: “I just did not think about it, I simply wanted to help.” Thus, after stopping the carriage, he had just looked for his cap that he had lost during his jump into the reins and had drunk a beer.

Aside to the Badge of Honour, Klaus Pavel presented to the 43 year-old a new harness for Eerdekens’ own horse team, a certificate and a picture frame with the photo series that shows the moments of his courageous deed. Next year the Belgian will by all means attend the CHIO Aachen (June 26 – July 5) again as visitor – just like he did in the previous 15 years. But he will not have to pay for his visit, because the Badge of Honour permits him a life time accreditation for the CHIO Aachen.

 

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