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Looking back at 2020 – with Rob Ehrens: “I think that 2020 brought us back to reality"

Saturday, 26 December 2020

Rob Ehrens. Photo © World of Showjumping by Jenny Abrahamsson.
Rob Ehrens. Photo © World of Showjumping by Jenny Abrahamsson.


Text © World of Showjumping



Over the next few days, WoSJ asks chef d’equipes, grooms, riders and show organisers to look back at 2020 – a year out of the ordinary for absolutely everyone. Next up is the Dutch Chef d’Equipe, Rob Ehrens.

“2020, what a strange year,” Ehrens begins. “We started the year very positive. Until March, I remember how my agenda was fully booked with shows, trainings and clinics. In a blink of an eye the whole month of March was empty – and that turned out to be only the beginning. For many, it has not only been a big financial struggle but sportive too. The positive thing about it all was that you could spend time on things at home that you normally wouldn’t get to do. I spoke about this with my riders: To take this time and use it well. Riders could go back to basics.”

“Looking back at what we had been used to – going to shows every weekend – maybe that was not normal either?” Ehrens says. “I think that 2020 brought us back to reality. We should not see our horses as tools we use for running after ranking points and money in as many big shows as possible. Riders have to learn from this period."

The hype we have seen over the last years with so many five-star shows – too many, in fact – has not really been healthy.

"Perhaps in 2021, riders can focus more on the quality of the shows instead of quantity. I think that is something we should learn from 2020. I think it will be difficult to change, but I hope we all have learned a lesson,” Ehrens says.

“We don’t know what is going to happen next,” Ehrens says, looking towards the new year. “At the moment we don’t see the end of the tunnel. How is that going to affect our selection process? Do we have enough shows when the outdoor season starts? It worries me a lot. The only thing we can do, is to stay in close contact with our riders. For 2021, the main objective will be to make sure we have the best possible team for Tokyo and for the European Championships. As a Chef d’Equipe, you need an overall view of the combinations of the moment. It is a big task and it won’t be easy under the current circumstances.”


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