Trotting on grass flourishes in the Netherlands
If you are near or in The Netherlands coming weeks you should definitely go to Aduard on 21 May or Leek on 4 June. In these places there are trotting meetings on grass. Events which are hugely popular events and draw great crowds of spectators. The riders, or ‘pikeurs’ in Dutch, with there trotters will ride like modern gladiators, putting on a huge show for everybody.
Next to the normal racecourses for trotters there are in the summer months a few towns, mostly in the north of the Netherlands who welcome the horses once or twice each year. On specially prepared grass tracks they ride their races. It takes special skills for the riders and the horses to win. Trotters who seldom have a chance in the regular races excel on grass.
Most drivers and trainers are very happy to come to these festive meetings. Competing hard for first price, but joining there colleagues and spectators afterwards. The fields are always completely filled with competitors and the mood more relaxed. If you lose this one, it isn’t that important.
“If you like horses, you’re in the right place, and also if you like speed”, according to Tjerk Dijkstra chairman of the racecourse in Aduard. “It’s a real spectacle and spectators can few it from right next to the track. We have done everything we can to provide a perfect racetrack and expect good race times. Also we have found a lot of sponsors, so we can offer a lot of price money. The riders are professionals and have to make a living.” Aduard, a very old village, will be welcoming the trotters Wednesday 21 of May. The races start on 16.30 hours local time.
Two weeks later a newcomer on the circuit will have its maiden race. Leek didn’t have a racetrack. The last times trotters competed in the town it was 80 years ago. “Some people challenged us that we couldn’t organize it”, tells Arrien Venema from Leek. “We assembled a good team, including Dutch amateur international Harrie van der Heide, who competed even in Russia and started organizing it. We succeeded and everybody is looking forward to it.
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