Gerrit-Jan Swinkels, the president of Indoor Brabant, the famous show in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, has died while riding.
The 67-year-old died suddenly on Monday (25 April) while riding on the Belgian coast at Knokke-Heist in West Flanders. The exact circumstances of his death have not been released.
Mr Swinkels became president of Indoor Brabant in 2002 and planned to hand over to his successor in 2017 during the event’s 50th anniversary.
He was also president of the board of directors of Springpaarden Fonds Nederland, which is dedicated to developing jumping horses.
“Gerrit-Jan was a wonderful person, and thanks to him the profile of equestrian sport has grown tremendously”, said John Roche, FEI jumping director.
“The sport has lost one of its greatest friends, enthusiasts and supporters, and an immeasurable void has been left. We will all miss him greatly.”
The first of nine FEI world cup dressage finals was held at Indoor Brabant in 1986, with the first FEI world cup jumping final staged there in 1994.
In 2012, the first joint FEI world cup jumping and dressage final was then held there.
“It has been a real honour to have Gerrit-Jan as a close friend,” said FEI President Ingmar De Vos said.
“As well as a great sense of humour, he had the magnetism and drive needed to grow equestrian sport, and for this he was valued internationally.
“Indoor Brabant has been a huge success under his Presidency, with the event welcoming the world’s best indoor Jumping, Dressage and Driving athletes as part of the FEI World Cup series. The equestrian community has lost a true soul mate and my thoughts are with his wife Anja and the children.”