13 July 2014

Heijenrath: Successful International Debut

This past weekend the 2014 Best Western Driving Event in Heijenrath made its successful debut. Over 80 drivers from eight different countries vyed to take home top honours in the southernmost province of the Netherlands.  The biggest winner of the weekend was clearly the organization who introduced for the first time an international division for ponies.  Limburgs renowned southern charm, the wonderful volunteers and beautiful landscape set the stage for an event that has the potential to grow to a top destination for International pony drivers.

The weather gods were not cooperating the week leading up the the competition.  In two days more rain fell that what normally accumulates in a month.  The groundsmen worked round the clock to make sure that the stabling remained dry and the competitors parking accessible.  Even with the rainfall, the dressage rings were in super condition and the terrein dried out quite quickly despite the showers on Sunday.

The focus in Heijenrath was definitely on the pony divisions and in the single ponies reigning World Champion Martin Hölle from Hungary started off the show by driving a first class dressage and cones..  Hölle made the decision to pull out of the marathon which left an opening for the young dutch driver Marissa Schuiling, who grasped the chance and won her first international competition.  Close on her heels were countrymates Tonnie Cazemier and Els Broekman.

The Dutch also made a strong showing in the pony four-in-hands.  Two-time world champion Bram Chardon made his first start of the season with his pony team and not even two balls in cones was enough to knock him from his first position.  Belgiums Tinne Bax was second and the Netherlands Joey van der Ham was third.

Stefan Bosch who was representing Austria won the pony pair division.  Rodinde Rutjens from the Netherlands edged out Jans Manting for second place.

A two star single horse division was added for drivers needing qualification for the upcoming world championships.  This division was won by Frank van der Doelen with Eline Houterman and Belgiums Peter van Ouweland in second and third respectively.

Click here for results

Click here for marathon photos

Click here for dressage and cones photos