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The Morning
Images by Merri Meldea
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Welcome to Holland || 2008 Ermelo: Vet in Day || 2008 Ermelo: The Dutch Championships
Ermelo Aftermath
by Merri Melde

Ermelo: A Championship in the Netherlands

Participators from: Russia, Belgium, Luxemburg, Denmark, South Africa, Botswana, Lithuania, Italy, Great Britain, Germany, The Netherlands, France, Austria

BC Judging


Photos by Merri Melde

Closing Ceremonies


Photos by Merri Melde

The Finish


Photos by Merri Melde

The Race(3)


Photos by Merri Melde

The Race(1)


Photos by Merri Melde

The Race(2)


Photos by Merri Melde

Arrivals


Photos by Merri Melde

Vetting(1)


Photos by Merri Melde

Vetting(2)


Photos by Merri Melde

Endurance Holland


Photos by Merri Melde


Ermelo Aftermath - Sunday June 8 2008

You don't just pack up and leave a CEI endurance ride in Holland when you cross the finish line; your horse has to stay overnight and get permission from the veterinarians to leave. And you still don't just pack up and leave: if you are a finisher, you are strongly encouraged to be present for the Awards Ceremony, which comes after the Best Conditioned judging. One to four horses in 6 of the 7 races showed for BC (the 60 km Junior ride had no finishers of two starters), getting examined by the veterinarians, and trotting out, up and down in a straight line, and then in a circular pattern. (The same patterns varied widely among the handlers!)

Then every finisher who was still here - only a few snuck away - dressed in their nice white riding tights and team colors, and mounted their horses and filled up one of the indoor arenas, while the stands filled with people and the officials took their chairs at the front of the arena behind the table filled with awards.

First, time was taken to honor Joan Eikelboom with a moment of silence - Dutch endurance rider, organization helper, and good friend to many - who died suddenly earlier this year. We all fell silent; a dog barked, a horse neighed, and then it was quiet again; and I'm sure that somewhere Joan heard us all.

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2008 Ermelo: the Dutch Championships - Saturday June 7 2008

81 riders left the starting line today in a cool damp fog, beginning with 23 riders on the 160 km ride at 5:30 AM. It began as an uneventful, orderly walk out onto the road in front of the KMSH offices, and a trot out on the trail into the forest. The sun was not yet up, but there was plenty of light to see by, even in the cover of the forest.

32 riders started on the 125 km (15 of them in the Junior 125 km) at 6:30 AM; 19 riders started the 100 km (2 in the Junior 100 km) at 7 AM; and 7 riders (2 of them juniors) started the 60 km at 7:30 AM.

Officials marked down riders that went out, and checked them for their regulation FEI wear: collared shirts, vest turned the proper way, shoes with heels (this measurement will increase in 2009 - requiring a larger heel), stirrups with cages or safety releases. No riders in tank tops at this ride. Three of the riders in the 100 km ride were sent back to change their stirrups, and they almost missed the 15-minute time limit to start on course.

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2008 Ermelo: Vet In Day - Friday June 6 2008

Come to Holland to ride endurance and you get it all: good competition, a broad medley of rivals, an efficiently conducted ride, a congenial and homey atmosphere, and fun. While you may be in it to win, there's nothing wrong with having fun with endurance, too. For some there will be disappointment, but if that's in store for you, maybe this is one of the best places to have it.

Held on the grounds of the Dutch National horse federation near Ermelo, The Netherlands, the 2008 Dutch National Championships attracted riders and crews from all over: Austria, Denmark, Germany, France, Lithuania, Russia, Luxemburg, Italy, Belgium, and of course Holland; and officials from Holland, Germany, Austria, Lithuania, Great Britain, South Africa, and Botswana.

The grounds (stalls, paddocks, indoor and outdoor arenas, a cross-country course) are used for many horse disciplines - this week a driving clinic took place, and even as the endurance horses began moving in, the carriage horses were pulling their last rounds. There's plenty of space for parking and camping - in this part of Europe, many people bring caravans and tents to stay in - and stalls for 90 horses. Since 96 horses were pre-entered, organizer Eric Lamsma had to arrange for temporary stalls to be added.

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Welcome to Holland - Thursday June 5 2008

Again...

Last year I stayed with Eric and Anita Lamsma, then travelled with them to an endurance ride in Kreuth, where their young friend/family junior rider Jarmila Lakeman, rode their horse Satarov rode and finished the 120 km.

This year I am back with the Lamsmas, this time to see the Dutch put on an endurance ride: for the seventh year, Eric is the organizer of Ermelo. It's not just another endurance ride, but a CEI3* 160 and Dutch Championship, a CEI3*/3* YJ 125 km (that's Juniors and Young Riders), a CEI2*/2* YJ 100 km, and a CEI* / *YJ 60 km.

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