I knew the Dutch love their bikes, even before I moved to the Netherlands. And I had also heard about the love of horses in this country. But I had no idea that one could possibly combine the two.
illustration Henk van Ruitenbeek
After I settled in Wageningen, I wanted to take up an old hobby again and I looked for a riding school. I quickly found one and signed up for a trial riding lesson. When I received an email that advised me to come by bike, I was not surprised. In the Netherlands, everyone goes everywhere by bike. But when I arrived, I learned there was another reason. ‘First, we have to get the horses, they are still in the paddock. It’s a bit far, so we get them by bike,’ a girl from the riding school told me.
Huh? Bike plus horse? I was surprised and could not imagine leading a horse while riding my bike. However, although it sounds strange at first, it actually worked. These horses were used to this procedure and (with one exception) trotted meekly beside us while we cycled to the riding hall. After the lesson, the horses had to be brought back to the paddock. It was dark outside, so we were provided with bright yellow safety vests before the adventurous return journey began. The riding teacher realized that I was entertained and summed it up nicely: ‘You know, Dutch people are born on bikes.’
Johanna Sanke, an MSc student of Food Technology, from Germany.
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