USA’s Robert Dover, Holland’s Rien van der Schaft Final Candidates for American Dressage Coach

9 years ago StraightArrow Comments Off on USA’s Robert Dover, Holland’s Rien van der Schaft Final Candidates for American Dressage Coach
Robert Dover on FB Kennedy at 2007 World Cup Final in Las Vegas, his last championship. © Ken Braddick/
Robert Dover on FBW Kennedy at the 2007 World Cup Final in Las Vegas, his last championship as a competitor. © Ken Braddick/

Robert Dover, six-time Olympian for the United States, and Rien van der Schaft, a classical dressage trainer and former Olympic rider for the Netherlands, are the two applicants to be the next Technical Advisor/Chef d’Equipe that the U.S. Equestrian Federation announced Wednesday have gone through an initial interview process.

The USEF said that Robert, 56, of Wellington, Florida and Rien, 59, of Wenum Wiesel near Appeldoorn, the Netherlands, had been interviewed by the six-member search committee.

The High Performance Eligible Athletes Dressage Committee and the members of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Dressage team are next in the process of interviews which will then make its recommendation to the High Performance Dressage Committee. The USEF Executive makes the final signoff.

Eric Straus headed up the search committee, as he had for the new leaders for the U.S. Eventing and Jumping teams, to find a successor to Anne Gribbons who was coach of the U.S. team for three years through the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Kentucky, the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico in 2011 and the Olympics in London last summer. Other members of the search committee were Janet Foy, chair of the high performance committee, Catherine Haddad-Staller of Califon, New Jersey; Susan Dutta of Wellington; Anne Kursinski, a jumper rider of Frenchtown, New Jersey and David O’Connor, former president of the USEF and coach of the eventing team.

The posts of technical advisor and chef d’equipe were combined under the job description for dressage that was drawn up after the London Games. Anne Gribbons had been the coach while Eva Salomon was chef d’equipe, but both resigned within a few months of each other.

Robert Dover has been on more Olympic dressage teams than any other U.S. rider before retiring from competition in 2007. He has also been coach of dressage for the U.S. eventing team as well as heading up Canada’s high performance coaching.

He was an applicant for the post in 2008, proposing a detailed pipeline for development of American dressage from the beginning levels to high performance that was implemented to a large extent though by Anne Gribbons who beat him out for the job.

He was recently appointed to the U.S. Dressage High Performance Committee and separately has launched a campaign to raise funds for U.S. teams to compete in Europe ahead of the World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France in 2014.

rien van der schaft

Rien van der Schaft has been actively involved in riding and training since leaving school. He has competed nine horses at Grand Prix level, and trained many more to international level.

He was a member of the Dutch dressage team from 1979 to 1983 and competed for his country at the alternate Olympic championships in Goodwood, England in 1980, at two European championships and a world championship. His wife, Inge, also competed for the Netherlands on two Europeans and the world championships. Rien is reported to have committed to being in America for the majority of his time and to make himself available on other occasions as required.

The job description specifies the successful applicant should be based in the United States, but that does not preclude activities in Europe.

The language also specifies that the job requirements can be changed, which is expected to occur after a candidate is selected and settles into the position.