Wim Ernes, former Dutch national team coach and FEI 5-star dressage judge, has passed away at the age of 58 after a battle against cancer.
His proudest moments came at last year’s FEI European Championships in Aachen, when the Netherlands took team gold and individual bronze, and at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, when they claimed team and individual silver and individual bronze, but these were just two in a long list of successes that threw the spotlight on Wim Ernes’ role as a highly successful and admired national coach.
He also placed a great deal of time and effort into improving the quality of riding and is well-known for his judging, having judged at the London 2012 Olympic Games, three FEI World Cup™ Dressage Finals and at the FEI European Championships 2007 in Turin (ITA). Wim Ernes was promoted to an FEI 5* judge in January 2008 being one of the youngest ever to join the elite circle at that time.
“Wim was an all-round horseman with a heart for Dressage. He was also a really focused judge and a man who was always coming up with new ideas for the sport. We will miss him intensely,” said FEI Executive Board member and Chair of the FEI Dressage Committee, Frank Kemperman.
Wim Ernes was also very involved in the breeding side of the industry, chairing the KWPN Stallion Dressage Selection Committee for three years until November 2015, having previously worked extensively within the Committee for five years before taking over as Chair.
In recognition of his huge contribution to equestrian sport in the Netherlands, he was earlier this week honoured with the prestigious golden KNHS award by the Royal Dutch Equestrian Federation (De Koninklijke Nederlandse Hippische Sportfederatie).
The 2015 European gold medal team of Edward Gal, Hans Peter Minderhoud, Diederik van Silfhout and Patrick van der Meer will carry the coffin at Wim Ernes’ funeral service in his home town of Schimmert (NED) on Saturday.