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10Feb 15

Gert van den Hof at Jumping Amsterdam: an act or true horsemanship?

Gert van den Hof is a Dutch horseman. Gert also has a very dry sense of humor and has phenomenal 'stickability'.For this very reason he was given the opportunity to perform his act at Jumping Amsterdam, the big international show of nearly two weeks ago. 

I call it an act as in my opinion it as exactly that. His act contains the ability to put a saddle on an untouched horse within minutes of entering the very big and impressive arena, including the lively audience and then, as the icing on the cake, to climb on top, proceeding in something between a canter and gallop, in the meantime entertaining the by now overexcited audience with halfwitted jokes and funny, somewhat helpless sounds. He has an assistant (his brother) who reads the horse's mood to perfection and complements this with a lunging-whip. The timing is sheer perfection.  

I could not help but loose my generally critical eye as the horse barely bucked, seemed to settle ever so quick and also Gert knew the exact moment when 'enough was enough'.

Although it all seemed so very convincing, somewhere inside my head a little alarm went of and I googled Gert and found several clips on You Tube. Not all was as smooth as what I witnessed at Jumping Amsterdam and of course not every horse is equally uncomplicated, This is also not my problem with his performance. My problem is that in some cases I know from experience that giving the more complicated horse a little more time means less trauma for the horse in its initial phase.

Horses can buck and rear. Gert van den Hof has no fear for that. He understands horses to perfection. His show is powerful. I dread to think that some horse owners might go home and try this themselves and I also know this will happen. They will inevitably end up with possibly Gert in order to sort out their by now scared-out-of-its-wits horse..... if they survived their ordeal, that is.



Dressage Training

Dressage training needs variety, including pole work

Dressage Training

Dressage training needs variety, including pole work

About Liz Barclay

Her love for horses together with her dedication made her into the trainer and dressage rider she is, today. She is versatile and inventive and likes a challenge; whether it is a technical training question, a confidence issue or a problem involving the management of the horse or pony.


My book 'THE FARMER, THE COAL MERCHANT, THE BAKER...' with the subtitle 'A Personal Impression of the Development of the Gelderland Horse World' has been received with more enthusiasm than I possibly could have hoped for. Click here to contact me and I will send you a copy. £7.50 + postage, or click here to order from Amazon.