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Rob Ehrens: “I look back at my 16 years as Dutch Chef d’Equipe with a lot of pleasure”

Wednesday, 17 November 2021

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ "I look back at 16 years as Dutch Chef d’Equipe with a lot of pleasure, remembering many good results, good communication and great relationships with my riders,” Rob Ehrens says. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.


Text © World of Showjumping



After sixteen hugely successful years as Chef d’Equipe for the Dutch showjumpers, Rob Ehrens contract will not be renewed by the Dutch Equestrian Federation (KNHS). On Monday, the federation announced that they will end their co-operation with Ehrens by the end of the year. To World of Showjumping, Ehrens tells how he feels about the decision that has caught many by surprise – including Ehrens himself.

“I did not expect this, or see it coming, not at all,” Ehrens tells World of Showjumping. “Last Friday, I had a meeting with the federation and I was told my contract would not be renewed. It was a big shock for me, and although I don’t have answers as to why, I have to accept the decision. In my opinion, the way this was done was not the right way to finish our co-operation – I have been working with the federation for 19 years. As a coach I have always been loyal to the country, and during my years as a Chef d’Equipe there was never any negativity in the press, no fights among the riders and everything has been running with good communication. I believe we have had success enough, because I also know the reality; you cannot win all the time, the showjumping world is hard. I am not a person to throw mud when things don’t go my way. However, those who ask will get this answer from me: I believe I did not deserve this.”

With Ehrens at the helm, the Dutch showjumping team became World Champions on two occasions: In Aachen in 2006 and in Caen in 2014. At the 2012 London Olympics, the Dutch team took the silver while Gerco Schröder claimed silver individually, and this year, in Tokyo, Maikel van der Vleuten jumped home an individual bronze medal. There has also been plenty of success at the European Championships, for example in Aachen in 2015 where the Dutch brought home the gold medals both individually and in the team competition. This year, the Dutch team was victorious yet again in the Nations Cup Final in Barcelona – for the third time.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ “I love the sport and I still want to go to the competitions,” Rob Ehrens, here seen with Marcus Ehning, tells about his future plans. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

Despite the way things have ended, Ehrens will remember his time with the Dutch showjumping team as a pleasant period in his life. “I look back at 16 years as a Dutch Chef d’Equipe with a lot of pleasure, remembering many good results, good communication and great relationships with my riders,” he says. “It should have been longer. When the federation comes up with a decision like this, it would in my opinion have made more sense to inform me about it at the beginning of the year. That is what I always told them: I am loyal, and when I don’t want to do this anymore, I would tell the federation at least a year in advance, so that the sport can go on in a positive way. I had hoped the loyalty would have been returned, but I was mistaken. I am not easily upset, but I have to be honest and say that this really hurts. I have made my point to the federation, and  told them that I am not happy with how things ended – and for me this chapter is now closed.”

“I love the sport and I still want to go to the competitions,” Ehrens tells about his future plans. “I hope to stay involved with the chef d’equipe group that we have, and keep contributing towards the future of our sport. There is a lot to do, and I hope I can keep up with it. For now, I work at home, we have our own stable; there is always enough to do. I will wait and see what comes next. First of all, we are now one month away from Christmas and I am going to enjoy this time at home with my family.”


No reproduction without written permission, © copyright World of Showjumping


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