Thursday 28 August 2014 - 20h21
For the first time Dutch riders formed a team for Endurance at the Word Equestrian Games and the harvest looks promising in form of the country’s first individual silver.
“Endurance is a very small discipline in Holland and we have spent a lot of time and investment on the sport”, said Theo Ploegmakers, president of the Royal Dutch Equestrian Federation when watching his riders briefly resting before going onto the final loop to complete the 160 kilometer ride.
Ploegmakers described the Dutch investment as “taking care of the right promotion for the sport to win over more young riders and making sure they find good trainers and good horses.”
At Sartilly Dutch Marijke Visser showed what happens when the classical way of riding meets Arab horses. Her grey mare Laiza de Jalima flew over Normandy soil like an eventing horse. The ten year old mare is owned by Dubai’s sheik Abdulla Bin Faisal Bin Saqr Al Qassimi and trained in Holland. Ploegmakers is pleased abut this Europe-meets-Arabia combination: “That is the future of the sport, having good riders looking for good horses.” Twenty-one year old Marijke Visser won a young riders’ endurance world championship 2013 and rides dressage. “That is why she is such a good role model for us”, Ploegmakers said. Visser is a student, but at the moment focussing on her riding. To get ready for the World Equestrian Games she and mare Laiza moved to the Belgian Ardennes to train with the Belgian chef of the Dutch Equipe, Emile Docquier.
Endurance at WEG 2014 played right in Ploegmakers cards. He thinks the pictures transmitted via TV of endurance riders on the beach with Normandy’s icon of Mt St. Michel in the background were “exceptional promotion for the sport.”
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