Rien van der Schaft Quits as Dutch Team Coach With 3 Weeks to Tryon World Equestrian Games Dressage

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The Netherlands’ 2018 Nations Cup gold medal team of Hans Peter Minderhoud, Emmelie Scholtens, Madeleine Witte Vrees and Edward Gal and coach Rien van der Schaft. The team was the same as that selected for the Tryon World Equestrian Games. © 2018 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

ERMELO, Netherlands, Aug. 23, 2018–Rien van der Schaft has quit as coach of the Netherlands dressage team less than three weeks to the start of dressage competition at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina.

Rien, who was appointed two years ago as a successor to Wim Ernes who died of cancer, gave the Dutch Equestrian Federation the explanation that his role was more as chef d’equipe than coach as most of the coaching was conducted between the riders.

The team for Tryon is Edward Gal on Zonik, Hans Peter Minderhoud on Dream Boy, Emmelie Scholtens on Apache and Madeleine Witte-Vrees on Cennin. All have family members who are their personal coaches or work together.

The Dutch team horses, along with other dressage horses based in Europe, are scheduled to fly on Sept. 3 to Greenville-Spartanburg airport in South Carolina about 40 minutes from the Tryon International Equestrian Center that will host the combined championships of eight international horse sports Sept. 11-23.

Rien was quoted by the Dutch web site Hoefslag: “It struck me that I had more the role of a chef d’equipe and not that of national coach. As I played longer, that I hardly had an accompanying role, I got less and less pleasure. Gradually I was less and less happy. I was allowed to be there (while) other people worked with each other.

But it became more and more difficult in that role and I felt that I had to make a decision.”

He said he preferred to make the decision now instead of waiting until after the Games as he would have felt uncomfortable walking around Tryon with no coaching duties. The riders had called him since his resignation, he said, and he believed everything was “fine.”