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Breeders’ vision of Marinus Rietbert and Dirk Verhoeve

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Marinus Rietberg: The blood of Eldorado van de Zeshoek en Grandorado TN can be found in many of his horses

By Jenneke Smit / KWPN
Photography: Jacon Melissen et al.

Grandorado TN generates mutual pride among breeders – and to breed such a sensation is reserved for only the happy few. For Marinus Rietbert and Dick Verhoeven this shared breeder dream became a reality. Marinus has additionally bred a wide range of international showjumpers, including the Grand Prix horse Geneve R.

So there are plenty of reasons why his friend Dick tipped off the KWPN to pay some attention to this remarkable breeder. Their story is not just one of a passion for breeding, but also tells the tale of a strong bond between two families.

Under the spotlight

Last summer, Dick Verhoeven put his friend Marinus Rietberg under the spotlight at the KWPN, where his breeding accomplishments obviously had not gone unnoticed either. The two men share their greatest achievement as breeders of Grandorado TN. Unfortunately, Dick is no longer with us and has therefore not seen how his email dated last June led to an article in the KWPN Magazine. He passed away unexpectedly on July 20. For more than 30 years now his daughter Lia Agteres-Verhoeven has regarded the farm of the Rietberg family in Holten her second home, and now they tell their story together.

A shared pony

In 1994 Dick Verhoeven and his family moved from the province of Flevoland to the small village of Holten in the east of the Netherlands, where he took up his duties as mayor. “As a tactic to appease me in our move to Holten, he promised we would look for a pony for me to share and he immediately commenced the search,” says Lia. At an inspection of a local breeding association Dick Verhoeven asked around and was advised to contact Marinus Rietberg. “My son Erwin had a great pony he had outgrown, so that was a suitable match for Lia.”
Lia remembers the first introduction as if it were yesterday. “The pony competed at Z-level in both jumping and dressage while I had just learned the rising trot, so he was quite a handful for me. It was a matter of falling and getting up again.” It was the start of a close friendship between the Rietberg and Verhoeven families. “We lived in the village centre, and we still do, and I have kept riding and helping with Marinus and Jannie’s horses for years. The horses are my passion, and I was always welcome at their stable. To me it felt as having a second set of parents, and at competitions I was often asked if Marinus was either my father or my grandfather. It made me laugh because he is, in fact, neither.” Marinus adds: “Because Dick had a lot of administrative obligations, I often accompanied Lia to the shows.”

A promising start

Marinus and Jannie ran a dairy farm and always had an interest in horses. “Back then, we had workhorses at the farm, and we added the ponies when our children were young. In the early eighties our interest in breeding sparked, so I bought a filly from our friend Jan Stegeman, the father of showjumper Henri, in 1984. It was a daughter of the Anglo Arabian stallion Katouchon.” This Catroucholien (out of Siliane keur pref prest by Mirco, breeder J. Stegeman) brought immediate success for the Rietberg family. “Her first foal was a son of Aram, who was announced champion of the breeding day of Holbatheo. I then sold him to Jan Greve at the foal auction in Borculo... To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber
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