German event rider Bettina Hoy has dispelled rumours that she plans to retire from top-level competition at the end of this year after being appointed national coach of the Dutch eventing team.
“I do not intend to retire yet and will still compete Designer 10, who is aimed for Badminton, as well as producing young horses to international level,” she told H&H. “I will coordinate both parts of my new life – as a coach for the national team of the Netherlands and as an active rider for this year and see how it works.
“Nevertheless from next year onwards Team Nederland will have priority. The European Championships this year will be only an interim goal to see where we stand to optimise our training for next year’s World Championships. The next goal is to qualify a team for the Olympic Games in Tokyo [in 2020]. Our aim is ultimately to be successful in Tokyo.”
Bettina was appointed last week and has a contract for two years in the role. She will work primarily with the top riders, but will also assist some up-and-coming competitors.
“Contact with the Dutch federation started at the end of last year,” said the 1997 European champion. “So it happened all very quickly and I signed only last week.
“I am very grateful to the Dutch federation that I can now successfully use all my skills, experience and knowledge from competing at top international level myself for the past 35 years to continue the fantastic work of Martin Lips [previous team trainer]. The goal is to help the Dutch eventers to be as successful as their dressage and showjumping teams! And I am very much looking forward to it and feel extremely motivated to start helping Team Nederland.”
The Dutch took the team bronze medal at the 2014 World Equestrian Games, but had a less successful time at the Rio Olympics last summer, finishing out of the medals.
Bettina has started visiting each rider at home to get a feel for their facilities and work out how she can best help each person.
As well as her own competing, Bettina also acts as a carer for her elderly parents and will juggle all the aspects of her life with her new role.
“It’s a difficult one, but my parents totally understand that this is an amazing opportunity and I will work it out with my brother,” said Bettina. “My family has always been so massively supportive and are just so proud for me to be appointed national coach for the Netherlands, especially having grown up just 30 minutes from the Dutch border.”
Bettina starts a crash course in Dutch next week, but says she doesn’t expect it to be too difficult as the language is fairly similar to the Westphalian dialect her father speaks.
“En ik ben heel goed met dat leren van een nieuwe spraak!” she joked — which google translate tells us means, “I am good at learning new languages!”