Dutch equestrian master gallops for Shanghai

Yang Yang
Hendrik Maarten Dijkerman, 66, a professional rider and coach from the Netherlands, has helped Shanghai develop the equestrian sport and all things related to horses.
Yang Yang

Shot by Ma Xuefeng, Sun Minjie and Yan Jingyang. Edited by Zhong Youyang. Subtitles by Wang Xinzhou and Alexander Bushroe.

In 2014, the Longines Global Champions Tour came to Shanghai for the first time with its glamorous competition, galloping horses and riders tall on the saddle. The event marked a tremendous step forward for the city's strength in holding international sports competitions.

Hendrik Maarten Dijkerman, 66, a professional rider and coach from the Netherlands, broke his personal record for a jump over a hurdle height of 1.9 meters at the China Tour following the 2015 Shanghai Longines Global Champions Tour, on Fritz, a German horse he had tamed and trained.

Dijkerman comes from a three-generation equestrian family. He first came to China in 2012 and found that the country was just getting started with the horse business. He stayed a bit longer in Shanghai to help the city develop the sport, teaching people how to take care of horses, feed them, make shoes for them as well as riding skills and all things relating to horsemanship.

Dijkerman loves a horse for its intelligence and sensitivity. "They have their own mind. I think, 'go left,' and the horse has already turned (left)," the Dutchman said.

Dijkerman is not just a skilled rider and a patient coach but also a spiritual horse tamer.

"Every time you bring some new people up to the level, you feel nice. That's also what has kept me going through all these years. The same applies for horses. I start with four or five-year-old horses. I train them, level them up until 13 or 14 … and I start with young horses all over again. That's what keeps me going," he noted.

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