The word ‘Paardje’ is Dutch for ‘little horse’ and was one of the first words that Jan was able to say as a child. Shortly after that, he started “saving” to buy a pony. When he was 7 years old, his parents, who had no history in horses, decided to buy a shetland pony for him. Although this wasn’t a huge success (as the pony got sold very quickly) horses have always been an important part in Jans life ever since.
Jan started his competitive career with pony racing on the ‘wild track’ and later he performed at competitions in dressage and showjumping up until Dutch Z level. In 1976, Jo Rutten gave a demo with Banjo at the Dutch NKB championships, just after they had participated in the 1976 Olympics of Montreal. This demo made a big impression on Jan: “This is what I want”. In 1981 Jan finished his ORUN education (to become an instructor) and in those days you had to do both showjumping and dressage at Z level for the final exams. After that, Jan completely turned to dressage and from that moment on, he went to train with Jo Rutten. Up until today, he’s being trained by Bert Rutten.
His most famous horses include Durban (Pretendent x Safari), Tristan (Havidoff x Wisconsin) and Kenwood (Clavecimbel x Chronos). After being sold, Durban was showed at Grand Prix level in America with George Wilson and Tristan was competed at Grand Prix level in Germany by Hubertus Schmidt. Jan showed Kenwood himself at Grand Prix level before he got sold to Rachel Ivstan from Great Britain.
His next horse was Dodi ( Zidane x Concorde) who he competed at Small Tour Level. Till the end of 2019 he was competing with Espléndido (Negro x Flemmingh) in the Prix- Saint George before he was sold to Japan. Currently he rides Second Level with Little Rock (George Clooney x Johnson), Third Level with Izzy (Diëgo x Kennedy) and Small Tour with Häkkinen (Diëgo x Lord Leatherdale).
In 2015, Jan completed successfully the KNHS/NOC*NSF-course ‘Trainer-Coach 5’ which means that he has an official degree to train riders up until Grand Prix level.
As a consultant, Jan is concerned with, among others, horse and horsesport related issues. In this context, he is the author of the following Dutch pieces: the ‘Limburgs Paardensportplan voor de Provincie Limburg’, the ‘Kernsportplan Paardensport voor Provincie Gelderland’ and the ‘Hippisch Accomodatieplan Brabant voor provincie Noord-Brabant’. Furthermore, he was the president of the Dutch ORUN and member of the Dutch working group ‘Werkgroep Onderwijs van de Sectorraad Paarden’. The KNHS gave Jan a golden award on 15 mei 2018 for all the work he did.