WIJK EN AALBURG • Wijk en Aalburg is said to be home to one of the oldest equestrian federations in the Netherlands. In 1922, the Land van Heusden en Altena Equestrian Society was founded as the National Equestrian Society. This year they have something to celebrate, which is their centenary. A special and respected age for the association.
While it is clear that the association was founded in 1922, the exact date is unknown. The initiator of the Command Union was the clerk of the Heusden Subdistrict Court. At the time, people could become members at the age of 14, provided they had access to a horse that was working on a farm. “That is why the sons of farmers in particular were very active at that time,” says Antoinette van Reswijk, the association’s secretary since 2016. During World War II, the association struggled. “During the war, the Germans confiscated many horses. Many horses were also sent to Germany from this region. It was a difficult time for the club, but after the war it recovered,” says Van Reswijk.
In 1970, another difficult time followed. There were only five members left in the association, the life of the association was temporarily halted and survival hung by a thread. Four years later, a number of former members breathed life into the club, so club life has continued at full speed since then. The riding club was very active in the 80’s and 90’s. And the well-attended competitions organized at that time on the plains of Wijk and Aalburg, are proof of this.
The equestrian association Land van Heusden en Altena is still very active today. We are a relatively small association with 39 members, ten of whom are donors and three honorary members. 26 people are active members. “We’ve never been bigger,” says Van Reswijk, who immediately added a comment. “But that makes it fun. In a club of 100 members, getting to know everyone is much more difficult. Our club is much smaller and knows us better.” According to Van Rijswijk, the association does not necessarily need to become much larger. “If only we could survive.”
The club from Wijk en Aalburg has fairly young – mostly female – members. The youngest active member is 9 years old and the oldest is 40 years old. There is only one male member. “We actually miss the guys, especially when we have to pitch the tent,” Van Reswijk says with a laugh. “It’s best not to do this only with women. Fortunately, my father is also active within the association.”
Members of the equestrian federation Land van Heusden and Altena own a horse of their own and settle on it elsewhere. There is no place for this on the rental site in Wijk en Aalburg, at 34 Veldstraat. All activities take place on this site, for example, dressage lessons are given on Wednesday evenings in the club. Twice a year, members can participate in the official dressage competition. In addition, a training match is organized every year, for both members and non-members. Because of the Corona pandemic, this has not happened in the past two years, but usually a fun activity is organized monthly by the equestrian association. Consider a clinic or fun activities for children.
On Saturday, June 11, the association organizes a special holiday in honor of the anniversary. In the morning there is a breakfast club for all members including supporters and children. There is also a bingo game for kids. In the afternoon, different clinics will be presented and there will be a raffle for amazing prizes. Next there is a reception for all (former) members, stakeholders and other invited guests, followed by a sumptuous barbecue. (former) members can register for this fun day at www.lvhea.nl. On Friday, May 27, the club will hold a fun children’s evening in the afternoon for all Altena children. “This year’s afternoon is so free and so much fun because of our wedding anniversary,” Van Reswijk says excitedly. “There will be a lot to do today, like games about horses, playing in a rubber castle, crafts and eating french fries.”
Initiator: Mr. W. Ruitinga
First official match: 1927
Special event: In 1933 PSV Land van Heusden and Altena attended the jubilee of Queen Wilhelmina in The Hague with twelve horses and knights.