Bert Rutten: successful international career as rider and coach

A Stubborn 17-year-old

Bert’s father Jo was crowned “Rider of the Year” in ’86 and nominated “Horseman of the Year” in ’76 and ’84. Luckily for Bert the apple did not fall far from the the Rutten family tree: Bert too proved to be a dressage star. At the very young age of 15 he competed in his first international competition on Neapolitano (by Talisman). At 17, against his father’s wishes, Bert left school to go into horses professionally. It turned out to be the right decision and he can now look back on a successful international competition career.

Bert qualified for the Olympic games in Los Angeles in ’84 and travelled there together with his father. Unfortunately, once there they discovered that Bert’s horse was lame. Jo took Bert’s place with the just six-year-old Ampère (by J. Amagun) and came fourth with the team. A year after these Games (in ’85) father and son decided to pool their strengths and to set up a professional equestrian business: Dressuurstal Rutten was established.

International career

During his career, Bert formed part of the Dutch team for several European Championships, World Championships and Olympic Games. He competed successfully on the KWPN-approved stallions Havidoff, Clavecimbel and Pagani. He was part of various European and World Championship teams with Parsival (by Kristal), Olympic Garibaldi (by Idool), Zirkoon (by Nurprimus) and Robby (by Doruto).

Thirteen Horses Trained Grand Prix-level

With Robby Bert won team Silver at the World Championships in Cedar Valley in ’86, the first team medal that the Netherlands had won since the Olympic Games of ’28 in Amsterdam. In total he competed with 13 horses, all trained by himself, at Grand Prix-level.

The end of Bert’s Competition Career

Tragically, a trailer accident on the return journey from a very successful competition in Goodwood in England brought an end to the sports career of stud stallion Clavecimbel (Statuar x Apple King xx). This also brought an end to Bert’s own competition career. There was no successor to Clavecimbel at that time and Bert prioritised coaching  nationally and internationally making training for personal competitions no longer possible.

Bert has held several top jobs in the equestrian world. In 2003 he was appointed team coach for the Dutch team. He fulfilled this task with great passion. Since 2016 Bert has been chairman of the Dressage stallion grading committee. He is also part of the selection committee for the Limburg Foal Auction. Additionally, Bert is also busy with breeding.