Breda – In one week from now the FEI World Driving Championship Four-in-Hand will start at the Prinsenhoeve estate in Breda (NL). At today's preview Focus and Ambition where the key topics for both drivers and organisation. This FEI World Championship Four-in-Hand, where 57 competitors from 16 countries will ride, promises to become a highlight in Four-in-Hand history.
For sure focus and ambition are key values for the Organizing Committee, Outdoor Brabant. President Cees Meeuwis has a clear view on the future of the event Outdoor Brabant and equestrian sports in West-Brabant. "If we can establish a permanent equestrian centre in Breda, this will not only be of tremendous economic value for us as an event organisation and allow us to execute our growth plans for Outdoor Brabant as a major international equestrian venue, it also enables great opportunities to many equestrians events throughout the year. We are currently working on detailed plans for a permanent place in Breda Breepark. In the nextcoming months we will reviews these plans with all stakeholders. For me personally CHIO Aachen is the example. But for now, all focus is on the upcoming World Championship!"
Dutch Chef d'Equipe Harry de Ruyter selected his golden Four-in-Hand team, which won all major championships in the past years for the Netherlands. "The horses are right now all in great shape and their riders in a great mindset. IJsbrand, Koos and Theo invested a lot in the selection and education of their horses and are experienced to ensure their minds and teams are ready for the battle in Breda. They all have great sponsors who allow them to focus and perform," says the Dutch teamcoach. As the host country Harry de Ruyter was allowed to select 9 riders for this championship. "Our chances on a team medal are significant but I strongly believe we have a good chance for individual medals too. Besides the dream team (IJsbrand, Koos and Theo) I have a group of very qualified riders including a lot of experience as well as young talent. With a little help from the orange crowd at the Prinsenhoeve I do expect great results!"
The last performance of reigning world champion Boyd Exell was in Aachen, last month. His focus is exclusively on the upcoming FEI World Driving CHampionship Four-in-Hand in Breda. "I will have to be in great shape and concentrate on the competition. The ambiance at the Prinsenhoeve is quite electric and Jeroen Houterman, the course designer is known for his technical obstacles in the marathon. But my focus is clear and I'm looking forward to next week!"
27-fault National Champion and multiple world champion IJsbrand Chardon visited the venue yesterday. "I'm impressed by the work of the organisation and course designer. The footage of the new dressage arena is looking perfect and the obstacles will be a major challenge for the riders. The course designer did a great job. Some of the new obstacles require speed where others are very technical. This combination will make the marathon not only very challenging for the riders but also exciting for the spectators."
Maarten van der Heijden, technical director at the Dutch Equestrian Federation, just back from Rio de Janeiro where he represented the Dutch jumping, dressage and eventing teams, expressed the importance of equestrian sports for the Netherlands. "Equestrian sports are ranked 6th of all sports in Netherlands but if you look at the economic value it's ranked second (because of f.e. trading, breeding and talent development). Working together with an experienced OC such as Outdoor Brabant shows how to organize a world class world championship. This event is of major importance for KNHS to boost the (international) exposure of the driving and eventing disciplines."
On Wednesday the 31st of August the vet check is scheduled followed by the official opening ceremony. Thursday the 1st and Friday the 2nd of September are dominated by the dressage competitions. On Saturday the four-in-hand drivers will compete during the spectacular marathon and on Sunday the final show down will happen during the cones competition.