The Inventory Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) in the Netherlands contains ICH of which the communities, groups or individuals involved have written a safeguarding plan. Those plans are reviewed by an independent review committee. Every two years an evaluation of the safeguarding takes place.

Description

Every year, on Ascension Day, the horse-driving tour takes place in the Alblasserwaard region. The equipment, the whole of carriage or coach with horse, tack and clothing, can be antique or contemporary. Everyone who owns the equipment can join. The horses and ponies must be trained to ride in harness and the driver must have a driving proficiency certificate. The tour is around 18 miles long and passes the Lower-Merwede river or the Noord and the Lek, and returns alongside the small bog river the Alblas. The start and the end of the tour is the riding-stable Alblasserdam or the Beyaert Riding Society. On the very day the participants come to the harnessing location with horse trailers, cattle trucks and other trailers. There the horses are harnessed and around 10.30 PM the procession of twenty to thirty harnessings takes off. After an hour a coffeestop is made, during which the drivers can chat with the public that has been informed through social media and local weekly magazines. Subsequently the tour goes on and at 1 PM there is a stop for a picnic. The public can comment on the carriages and the harnessing again with the drivers and the other participants. During lunch the horses get water to drink and a carrot. There is a farrier in case loose horseshoes need to be secured. After lunch the tour is continued with one more stop to go, to finally return to the starting point for unhitching. At the end of the tour a prizes are awarded for the most beautiful equipment and the best picnic.

 

Community

In the past, on Ascension Day, farmers in the Alblasserwaard region went to church with horse and cart. During the severe winter of 1963 the Alblasserdam Ice Club organised skating competitions and, in cooperation with the farming community, a sleigh ride and a ring tilting competition for sleighs on the frozen river Alblas. This sleighing tour, in which 43 harnessings from all over the country took part, led to the establishment of the Arresleeclub (Sleigh Club) Glijen en Rijen on March 29th, 1963. The tour on Ascension Day was the first tour with carriages that the club organised in 1963 and it developed into its most important tour with carriages. The driving season of the Sleigh Club opens every year on Ascension Day with the tour around the Alblasserwaard. During the first years quite a few inhabitants of the Alblasserwaard owned a horse and cart. This number has decreased over the years. Nowadays one can also rent horses and carriages for the driving tour, with or without a driver.

 

History

The horse-driving tour is plotted by a number of board members of the Sleigh Club Glijen en Rijen. Next to their own members, drivers from other clubs are invited for this tour. Obviously one can join as a guest too. The participants are a cross-section of the population: farmers, citizens and country people. Driving skills and the horse-driving sport are often passed on from father to son or daughter and the number of driving members of the club remains a stable 110. In winter, if possible, sleigh rides on natural ice or ice rinks are made, but in spring, summer and autumn carriages are used. The Ascension Day tour is accompanied by expert traffic guides and an emergency response team. Along the route hundreds of people are watching and at the afternoon stop again, hundreds of people come to admire the carriages and let the drivers talk about their passion.

 

Contact

Arresleeclub Glijen en Rijen
Plantageweg 138E
2951 VH Alblasserdam
Zuid Holland
Website