We would like to point out to the reader that we have divided this article into two chapters to improve readability. The first part tells the story of the Van der Vorm family up to 2005. The second part is about the current owner, Eric Berkhof Paarden b.v., covering the period from 1994 to the present. Eric Berkhof built up the horse business, first without accommodation, then in Sprang Capelle and from 2005 in Dinteloord, into what it is now: a household name in the Netherlands and abroad.

History of Margaretha Hoeve under the Van der Vorm family

Margaretha Hoeve, situated in West Brabant, was founded 239 years ago by the Van Tilburg family. The farm was built on newly reclaimed areas of land in the municipality of Nassau.

Little is known about its past until 1989, but from then on we know all the details. A ferocious storm partly damaged the beautiful thatched farm. The Van der Vorm family had bought Margaretha Hoeve shortly before, and renovated the beautiful building according to the traditional design afterwards. It was also at that time that it was bitten by the horse bug for the first time: a friend and business contact, Henk Bolluyt, donated the pony Femke. As Femke was young and they would have had to wait for another three years, she was sold and the pony Jitske was bought for daughter Annemiek, who trained the pony for Class M by herself. Her brother Marius was also successful with this pony. After this first introduction to horses the fate of Margaretha Hoeve was sealed: during the renovation of the beautiful thatched stable in 1990, fifteen beautiful boxes were built that are currently used for breeding.

This was the first step towards a true horse business. In 1993 the new stud farm was built, the most modern one of its time! Soon there were 175 horses. These were mainly show jumpers. For dressage horses a partnership had evolved with Wim van der Vorm's former business friend, Henk Bolluyt. This meant that the dressage horses were in Bolluyt's stables and Margaretha Hoeve accommodated the show jumping horses. They combined forces under the name "Bollvorm". This joint venture created many opportunities for equestrian sports. Much was invested in both dressage horses and show jumpers. Many skilful riders could benefit from this. Talented horses were made available to riders like Roelof Bril, Ben Schröder and Leida Strijk at the time. Remember, for example, Bollvorm's Lets Go, Bollvorm's Landgravin or Bollvorm's Wempe Juwel. You could compare it with today's Show Jumpers Fund, but then with two owners.

 Foto 10 Ben Schroder

Ben Schröder

 

Wim van der Vorm

At one point Wim van der Vorm made a sensible choice and continued by himself in his professional horse business. He boosted the team with a strong rider: Gerco Schröder, who gained a lot of experience in the team and was given many good horses by the Van der Vorm family. The horses he rode included Bollvorm's Lux, Athletico, Cantate Touch en Dehlia.

 

Riders like Pascal Uytendaal and Pieter Jan Berkers also enhanced their expertise in this team. In addition, many good horses were born in these stables. The best known horse is probably Optical, the stallion that led Piet Raymakers to many victories. This stallion was the offspring of our own stallion Athletico, whose mother was the famous mare Cassina: a Cassini whose bloodline is directly linked to the very well known mare Weisse Dame, daughter of Calletto, with whom Franke Sloothaak created a furore!

In short, the Van der Vorm family was passionately involved in equestrian sports and has made a valuable contribution to the major successes of Dutch riders. After selling Margaretha Hoeve in 2005, the family continued to be active in equestrian sports. It was only two years ago when the mare Perpueta stopped taking part in competitions after her very successful career under Willem Greve. In 2009 he won the GP of Maastricht with this mare. Perpueta is still successfully used for breeding.

History of Margaretha Hoeve under the Berkhof family

In 2005 Margaretha Hoeve was sold to Eric Berkhof, who has continued the farm on a smaller scale but from the same perspective as the Van der Vorm family. This means: breeding with good mares, supplemented with purchases of talented foals and young horses, in order to do as well as possible in competitions. However, there is one aspect that is different: Berkhof wants to remain a trader. He has therefore decided to continue to do a lot of trade in addition to breeding and the sports element. This choice was made for two reasons. Trade helps to cover part of the costs, but it also gives the opportunity to acquire new material, so that little by little the standard can be raised.

Period before 2005

We go back in time once again. Eric Berkhof had caught the horse bug a long time before he bought Margaretha Hoeve from the Van der Vorm family. His father Drik Berkhof had always been a passionate horseman.

 

His son Eric got both his passion for cars and the horse bug from him. First as a rider and later as owner, breeder and trader. Berkhof soon realised that he didn't have enough talent as a rider, and therefore quickly changed his role in equestrian sports to that of owner. It was only after he had bought his first car business in 1988 that he didn't have time for horses for three years. He bought another horse in 1991. This horse was called Vento, named after a Volkswagen model. It was bought purely for recreational purposes in the first instance. It soon turned out that Vento could do more, and a rider who was active at the Zandeind riding stables in Riel at the time was asked if he could get this horse to do some jumping. This rider, Alwin Duiven, immediately said it was a fine horse, and got him as far as Level Z. The moment Berkhof started to look further afield for the horse's development, the then owner of the riding stables, Frans Wilborts, suggested he should contact Eric Willemsz Geeroms. He had just set up his own business with his wife Myriam in Aarle Rixtel. They got on well from the start, and Vento moved to Aarle Rixtel. That was when he was really bitten by the bug, and a few more horses were purchased. The car business was also growing, and it was decided to pursue a two-track policy. Van Mossel would rule the football world with Volkswagen, and the company became car sponsor at RKC Waalwijk, and later also at Willem II. With Audi, Van Mossel was linked to the stables of Eric Willemz Geeroms and to a number of important competitions, like JIM Maastricht, Indoor Brabant and Concours Hippique Eindhoven. From 1992 to 1998 the horses of Eric Berkhof were associated with the stables of Eric and Myriam Willemz Geeroms. Then Eric Geeroms decided that he wanted to focus more on training customers and trade. This did not really correspond to Eric Berkhof's objectives. They decided to go their separate ways. But they never lost touch. Today Eric Berkhof is still on very friendly terms with Eric and Myriam Willemsz Geeroms, even though the couple has been living in the Dominican Republic for more than ten years.

Eric van der Vleuten

After Eric Geeroms and Eric Berkhof had decided to separate on friendly terms in 1998, Berkhof was lucky enough to be able to enter into a partnership with Eric van der Vleuten. Eric Berkhof feels he has been very lucky in this respect, as he believes that the partnership with Eric van der Vleuten has led to a professional turnaround.

 

After Eric Geeroms and Eric Berkhof had decided to separate on friendly terms in 1998, Berkhof was lucky enough to be able to enter into a partnership with Eric van der Vleuten. Eric Berkhof feels he has been very lucky in this respect, as he believes that the partnership with Eric van der Vleuten has led to a professional turnaround.

Today, Eric Berkhof looks back on what has always been a very fruitful and successful partnership. He has learned a lot from this outstanding horseman and has experienced beautiful moments. Everyone will remember the wonderful moments with Audi's Jikke or Audi’s Curastella! Through Eric van der Vleuten he also met another good friend, Cees van de Oetelaar, who would later play an important part in supplying very good horses to Margaretha Hoeve. Eric van Vleuten, later along with his son Maikel, was also a great advert for the Audi brand and the Van Mossel Groep.

This "advert" was given a further boost in the period from 2002 to 2003 with Eric van Vleuten's friend, Emiel Hendrix. Emiel won't need any further introduction. He was and is the gentleman of equestrian sports. He wore the Audi colours until he ceased to be an active sportsman; the highlight was when he won the big prize of Geesteren with Audi's Finesse. During the partnership with Eric van der Vleuten, Berkhof began a small-scale setup with young horses at the back of his house in Sprang Capelle. That was around the turn of the century. At that time the local rider Bas Pruimenboom rode the young horses. At the end of 2000, Berkhof bought the riding stables named "Stal de Nedervenen" on the other side of his town. Until 2005 the young horses were trained there, and the first international results were achieved with the stables' own rider. This was the talented Swedish rider Henrik Ancarcrona. In 2004 he ranked 47th on the world league table. This was mainly due to the two excellent show jumping horses Audi's Candlelight and Audi's Acke. Yvonne Brok, the then stables manager, also greatly contributed to this success.

 

The year 2005 turned out to be an important year for the company Eric Berkhof Paarden b.v., founded in 1998: Stal de Nedervenen was exchanged for Margaretha Hoeve, and Henrik Ancarcrona returned to his own country. As Erik Berkhof had quite challenging plans for Margaretha Hoeve, he decided to look for a very talented rider. He found such a rider in Vincent Voorn, who became European champion among the young riders in Schaffhausen with his own horse Audi's Gestion Priamos.

This was the start of a partnership that would last for eight years. In the years after that, the current plan of approach was further developed. That plan consisted of breeding good young foals from mares that performed well in equestrian sports on the one hand, and purchasing good young foals and good young horses on the other. Today the company still reaps the benefits of that policy: Margaretha Hoeve has been able to operate at international level, as had been its ambition.

Period after 2005

From 2005 to 2013 Vincent Voorn performed well with the Audi horses. The most important victory was winning team gold at the EC in Mannheim in 2007. Vincent completed a double clear round in the Nations Cup with Audi's Alpapillion Armani. He also did very well individually by finishing fourteenth. And that was not all: many big prizes and good classifications were to follow. In short, Audi's Alpapillion Armani has meant a lot to the stables. Other horses that have been of great importance to the sports achievements of Margaretha Hoeve are Audi's Reflection, Audi's Radja and Audi's Cierania.

During this period the sponsorship agreement with Eric van der Vleuten continued. It finished in 2008, when VDL Groep, owned by Mr Wim van der Leegte, took over the agreement. The result was a very attractive three-party agreement, which meant that Eric and Maikel got a good sponsorship agreement with VDL Groep. The close friendship between the Van der Vleuten family and Eric Berkhof still continues today. They were both proud that in 2013 they had a good horse again, which was six years old at the time.

In addition to the first contracted riders, Eric van der Vleuten, Henrik Ancarcrona and Vincent Voorn, a number of good riders have been able to develop their talents at Margaretha Hoeve. They include people like Tom Martens, a very talented rider who worked at Margaretha Hoeve for four years, and also Dominique Hendrix, Geoffery Goubouts and the gifted horsewoman Louise Saywell.

 

Voorn V MAAS05D25471

Vincent Voorn with alpappilon-armanie

 

Ivo Biessen

Meanwhile, we have arrived at the second half of 2013, when Ivo Biessen took over from Vincent Voorn as first rider. Good results had already been achieved with the horses Audi's Wizard and Audi's Azzaro, and we were hoping to continue this trend in 2014 and beyond.

 

Ivo Biessen has deserved his place as first rider, after being patient as mainly second rider under Vincent Voorn. In that role he nevertheless grasped his opportunities with the more experienced horses like Audi's Upgrader, with whom he won the GP of Nieuwpoort and became second in the GPs of Caen and Geesteren.

This is clearly an example of a young sportsman who has a good plan for reaching the top. In addition to Ivo Biessen, Amanda Landeblad and David Corcoran were recruited in this period to train young horses and see how far they could get with them.

At the beginning of 2015 a number of changes took place. Ivo and David decided in full consultation with us that it was time for a new step in their career beyond Margaretha Hoeve.

Anno 2020 the team is Rodrigo Almeida and Charles Berron.

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The riders all have their own stable with fine and young horses that they may train themselves. All riders also know that horses are being sold, but that new talent is also sought continuously, for trade as well as for achievement in sport.

Finally, a number of other characteristics. The Margaretha Hoeve has had many partnerships with various breeders and people who were able to find good horses. We have mentioned Cees van de Oetelaar and Nancy Huismans, but we also want to mention three other good friends of Eric Berkhof: Rene Viscaal, Frans van de Pas. Frans van de Pas has a very good farm, and has provided many good horses, among which the top-class horse which the sponsor of Joe Clee, Mr. Criel, bought at the Margaretha Hoeve: Audi's Wineada. Cooperation with Frans van de Pas has been ongoing for more than twenty years, and is still pleasant, which means a first condition is met. Cooperation must not only be good for trade and sport, but mainly also has to be pleasant!

We are glad to have been able to give you a peek into the history and the current situation at the Margaretha Hoeve. Of course we will keep you updated on further developments. We will update the history annually with what has happened in the past year.