Gert Jan Bruggink: “Doing odd jobs like driving a course, you have to be very precise…”

When he drives from his hometown to the grounds of CHIO Rotterdam, he feels like a wise man driving from east to west. The Ajax coach has stayed in his stable several times, while he is a fan of FC Twente and compares odd jobs with leading a tournament. In recent years we’ve heard very little about this ultra-fast rider which is why it’s time to call Gert Jan Bruggink!

Yesterday at 4:15 p.m. I raised a bottle of champagne, because at that moment it had been exactly four years when I broke my hip in a fall from a horse and was still on the same horse four years later at that time. But joking aside, it’s not the same. It was before.In fact,I only want to ride four or five horses a day,although it’s not quite possible at the moment.I can still play the game and it makes me happy,I didn’t expect it.I had an artificial hip and a long way to go, But I can enter the ring again.

New beginnings at Riesenbeck

Everything is a little slower and I’m driving less, but instead I’m doing other things. Breeding is my wife’s hobby, so we are breeding and training some foals in the hope that there will be new caps. Indeed, Pia would have participated in more competitions, but unfortunately she also fell while the horses were on the truck, so to speak, for a competition in Reisenbeek. I was now well on my way again and so we suddenly decided that I should take her place. I had some good results and so again it was an unexpected start. Meanwhile, I won the Grand Prix again.

culture shock

I have never been to Rotterdam as a visitor, I immediately come as a rider. I think in 2002 or 2003 and with the horses Joel, Marumi and Lincoln. I remember having a great time right away and really enjoying the award ceremonies. That’s because of the kind of pricing, I got old stuff back then. Last week I saw them in my mom’s closet. When you win, you always like something, but honestly it was a culture shock for me to go from East to West as a wisecrack. To make it more clear, I had a mountain bike with me to cycle from the stable through the woods to the main area. I was naive, I didn’t lock it up and my bike was gone. But I think Kralingse bos is a special place to compete in the city center. This is partly due to De Big’s pancake house, which I really associate with CHIO.”

Grand Prix 2004

Gert Jan belongs to a select group of seven Dutch riders who have won the Grand Prix in Rotterdam since 1948. We ask him about his memories. Geert Jan is clearly skeptical, but then begins to choose his words carefully. Geert Jahn: “It was 2004, a special year, an Olympic year. Everyone in the frame wanted to go to Athens. The team was pretty well known, but not quite. Albert Zuer, Jeroen Dubeldam and Jan Tops and I were in the Rotterdam team and the best of them will go to Aachen Where the fifth man and the Aachen team are going to the Olympics. I disagree. When you lead a team in your country, you want to win and that way we were rivals, that wasn’t a pleasant experience. I came out as a winner on that team, but the national coach was still not sure, he He wanted to wait until after the Grand Prix, which I really didn’t want to ride. After much hesitation, I decided to start anyway. The result is known, I won the Grand Prix. Despite or perhaps because of stopping at the last hurdle in the jumping area. Done Receiving the Aachen and Athens ticket, but I didn’t have a good feeling about it.

Break the reins in the jump

The moment I have the best memories was the moment I almost hit the jackpot. That was in 2013 with Dejavu. He was 9 years old and was at the start of a great career. I really wanted to win again and was on my way, still hitting a few snags. However, it did break my eye. However, I jumped in and we were able to complete the course. I received a standing ovation from the audience. In 2016 we had a visit from the royal couple at our stables and they even remembered this, which is very special.”

Once an athlete, always an athlete

We ask Gert Jan if we’ll ever see him again at Kralingse Bos, despite the fact that he takes it a little easier. He did not lose his sense of humour: “You also have jockeys on foot… But joking aside, that would be great after all that’s happened, just for my own feeling after such a sudden end to a fine career. With a local or some other very good horse. Yes, I would, When I was an athlete it was always an athlete. You won’t hear me complain. After all I’ve been through, coming home more often is nice too. But in the past you’ve been away from home every weekend….. Are you celebrating your 5th anniversary Seventy in 2024 A great goal to work towards!


Unfortunately I don’t have a crystal ball and can’t look forward. But I am glad that I can do everything again. Health is above all and satisfaction is the main thing. And I am satisfied. I don’t feel disabled, but unfortunately I’m not completely old. I have an artificial joint and this is a weakness that I have to take into account.

Furniture family

Less riding on horses than in the past, Geert Jan told us. We ask him how he fills the days now. Gert Can: “I love odd jobs. I come from a furniture family and I really picked it up during corona time. Then I found out that you have to be very precise when doing odd jobs, just like on the course. I mean, if you see the plank wrong, it’s That board is lost and that’s the way it is on the course: if you make a mistake, you can’t right it again. So you have to focus on both from start to finish.”

Source: CHIO Rotterdam

Leave a Comment