How it all started
In 1937, the Rotterdam riding school called “de Rotterdamsche Manège” moved from the location at the Tuinderstraat to the Kralingse Hout, where the school acquired a riding facility surrounded by a substantial piece of land. In the same year, a 2-day horse riding competition was organised for the very first time, with participants coming from all over The Netherlands. Also in 1939 and in 1940, the Rotterdamsche Manège organised competitions, which were being continued after WWII. In 1947, also some Belgian riders were invited to join the competitions. In 1948, one could really speak of a concours hippique at an international level. The main initiator of this event was Mr. Job Dura, at that time chairman of “De Jockeyclub”, the Society which was established at the Rotterdamsche Manège. Mr. Dura managed to persuade the director of the Rotterdamsche Manège, Mr. Ad Klebe, to set up such an event with him and with the help of others. In the meantime, not only the silver but also the golden lustrum of the “Concours Hippique International Officiel” have been celebrated. In the light of these two milestones, two books were published to describe all these years of CHIO events.
The first riders
In the earlier days, it were mostly soldiers and members of wealthy families who participated in the competitions. Although this has luckily been changed throughout the years, they are still to be found amongst the participants. Being the first Dutch winner, Harry Wouters van den Oudenweijer won the Grand Prix in 1969, riding the horse Abadan. This picture shows horse and rider being congratulated by mayor Thomassen of Rotterdam. Only in 1988 did (the then unknown) Jos Lansink succeed in putting up the same achievement, riding the horse Felix. Another public’s favourite is Anky van Grunsven. Anky has won more dressage competitions than any other of her fellow Dutch competitors.
HRH Prince Bernhard has joined the first ten competitions as a rider. To honour this fact, in 1957, Mr. Dura presented him with a cup while speaking the historical words: “This vase shows the names of the horses you rode in Rotterdam, including the names of the horses you fell off with…”. The Prince’s daughters have quite clearly inherited his love for horse riding. In 1957, HRH Princess Beatrix won the Championship for Hunters riding Foxtrot. Nowadays, the Royal Family are mostly represented in the group of regular CHIO guests. This picture shows Prince Bernhard riding the horse Agenda.