The Indoor Brabant pioneered the indoor driving event for four-in-hand drivers Taking place from 21 - 24 March at the Brabant Indoor Arena of 's-Hertogenbosch (The Netherlands), the Indoor Brabant horse show includes World Cup competitions in no less than three disciplines.
For the dressage riders, this year's event is not a qualifier, but the final itself. The World Cup title will be decided in a freestyle to music. The show jumpers, on the other hand, will compete in a World Cup qualifier, their World Cup final taking place in Leipzig. The four-in-hand drivers begin their first official World Cup indoor season at the Indoor Brabant.
Even spectators who do not normally watch driving events will be fascinated when they see the fast thrilling action of the horses and carriages. Some years ago Indoor Brabant created a World premiere with their indoor four-in-hand driving competition, an initiative which fell on fruitful ground, leading to the introduction of the FEI World Cup.
A wild card for Koos de Ronde
The top drivers are competing this year in the World Cup series, including World champions such as IJsbrand Chardon, Tomas Eriksson (Sweden) and Michael Freund (Germany), which need no further introduction.
At the Indoor Brabant competition, six four-in-hand teams are on the competitors' list, including two Dutchman, World champion IJsbrand Chardon and, representing the younger generation, Koos de Ronde. He received a wild card from Indoor Brabant which allows him to fulfil his dream of competing there. He will do everything possible in the preliminary competition (22nd March) to show himself in the best light in readiness for the World Cup 'proper' competition (23rd March).
IJsbrand Chardon is very pleased with the new World Cup series: "A gain for the sport! This was proven by the first competitions, such as Amsterdam. The organisors, sponsors, drivers and spectators have all reacted enthusiastically. The World Cup is first-class advertising for our sport." But Chardon is also looking critically towards the future: "Continuity is very important for our discipline. If this initiative were not to be continued, it would not be good for our sport. Sponsors are extremely important."
IJsbrand Chardon is already preparing for the future. His current horses are not quick and agile enough for indoor competitions. "This year I won't have a chance because we lack speed", he says, "but by next year it will be a different ball game."