Changes to the Leading Positions of the Dutch Dressage and Eventing Teams

Since Wim Ernes’ death and Johan Rockx refusal to permanently serve as coach of the Dutch dressage team the Netherlands have been searching for a new bondscoach. Now he has been found: Rien van der Schaft (62) will take up the position as of 1 January 2017. The former international dressage rider, who was part of the Dutch team from 1979 to 1983 at the alternative Olympic Games, two European Championships and a World Championship, had applied for the post of the US dressage coach in 2013 but lost it to Robert Dover. Rien van der Schaft has his own dressage stable and has developed numerous horses to Grand Prix level.

And there is also a surprising change for the Dutch eventing team: The federation has decided to cooperate no longer with Martin Lips, who has been bondscoach for the Dutch eventers for many years. Lips told that the federation said he did not have the competence to promote the riders in dressage. Lips said he himself had asked for support concerning this discipline after the Olympic Games in Rio, where the team’s dressage results were only mediocre. However, the federation expected that a bondscoach was capable of dealing with all three eventing disciplines. Lips said he saw that all big nations worked with specialists for dressage and show-jumping and admitted that he did not have the competence for dressage and show-jumping. “However, I’m asking myself who could do this job,” so Lips said after he had been told that the federation did not have the financial means for specialists.

Under Lips the Dutch eventers won team bronze at the WEG in Caens and qualified for the Olympic Games – a big success for the small nation. After Rio, so Lips said, he had had requests by two European nations. One of the requests had been really interesting, but he had refused since he thought the cooperation with the KNHS would stand. Now, however, he will support the Chinese team together with his son Tim.