November 10, 2010
By Andrea CaudillThe American Quarter Horse Journal
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Bert Wiering and Antoinette Hazeleger of the Netherlands Quarter Horse Association
Bert Wiering and Antoinette Hazeleger of the Netherlands are at the AQHA World Championship Show on a fact-finding mission. Bert is the president of the Nederlandse Quarter Horse Associatie (Netherlands Quarter Horse Association), an affiliate of AQHA, and Antoinette is the NQHA show secretary. To learn the ins-and-outs of managing Quarter Horse shows, the couple figured the best place to come was at the cradle of Quarter Horse shows.
Attending for the duration of the World Show, Bert and Antoinette are working with AQHA’s Director of International Affairs David Avery, getting tours of the event, helping at the show office and just experiencing the show.
“(We wanted to see) how things are done here, and we want to do it in Holland, if possible,” Antoinette said. “How the stables are run, how everything is prepared … it is interesting to see the differences.
“It’s more disciplined here,” she continued. “If you look at the warm-up arenas, how they prepare their stalls, it’s different than (we do). There’s a lot of discipline here; it is orderly.”
Antoinette manages about eight shows a year for the Dutch affiliate, which includes about 60-100 entries per show. Their championship show in October, which includes the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium, hosts 400-500 entries.
Both noted that they were surprised by the sheer size of the show.
“Also, the very big trailers,” Antoinette added. “The goosenecks are very big. In Holland, we have a few goosenecks, and they are little. In the trade show, there is a trailer with living quarters, all that leather and wood – it’s amazing! But so is this whole place, the arena, the barns, everything.”
Antoinette owns western pleasure horse Invited By Brio, a 6-year-old gelding by Brio Glow Bars out of Gotta C Thebigleague by Invitation Only. While they were in Oklahoma, they made sure to take a quick trip to nearby Oklahoma Stud to visit the gelding’s great-grandsire Barpassers Image.
“(American Quarter Horse interest) is increasing in the Netherlands,” Bert said. “We have more entries and more members …people are enjoying riding at our shows.”
The Netherlands is famed for its international dressage stars; Quarter Horses are a small minority there. So why pick Quarter Horses?
“If you compare it with dressage horses, they are easier to get along with,” Bert said. “The character of the horse, they are not nervous. They are friendly and calm. I think it is our task to explain it to people, what you can do with the horse and what you can use it for.”To learn more about the NQHA, visit its website at www.nqha.nl/.