Dutch equestrian pioneer Jacques Schoufour, honorary chairman of CHIO Rotterdam, died last week in hospital in Brasschaat in Belgium after a short illness. He was 86.
Jacques Schoufour was born and grew up in Rotterdam and was a well-known figure in the city. He was involved in the CHIO Rotterdam from the very first edition in 1948, but started in the equestrian world as a cross-country fence judge. He also worked as a dressage ringmaster before becoming secretary and finally chairman of CHIO Rotterdam.
In the first years after the war, the CHIO had a budget of 10,000 Dutch guilders and the event drew just a few thousand visitors. Thanks to Schoufour’s dedication and a great working partnership with his friend Daan Dura, CHIO Rotterdam grew and developed into the world class equestrian event it is today.
Schoufour was president of the CHIO Foundation from 1978 to 1995 and attended the event every year, including the 66th edition in June 2014. The new restaurant at the show grounds, which was inaugurated in May of this year, is named the Schoufour Restaurant in his honour.
He was also a member of the Jockey Club of Rotterdam at the Rotterdamsche Manege, venue for the CHIO, later joining the board of this traditional riding club, which is the oldest in the Netherlands at 177 years old. He was president of the Club from 1966 to 1979 and was made an Honorary Member after his retirement.
Schoufour was a hugely respected figure in the international equestrian world. In the 1980s he started the CSIO committee representing all major CSIO events and was also a former member of the Nations Cup committee. He represented the CSIO organisers at the FEI General Assembly for many years.
Hewas honoured many times in his life. In 2000, he was made an Honorary Member of the Dutch Equestrian Sports Federation (KNHS). In 2007, FEI President HRH Princess Haya presented him with the FEI Special Award in recognition of his outstanding services to equestrian sport and he was appointed an Honorary Delegate of the FEI. He was also a well-respected businessman, and was awarded a Knighthood by HRH Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands.
“Jacques Schoufour was a close friend and neighbour, who I will miss and never forget,” said FEI Secretary General Ingmar De Vos.
“Jacques worked tirelessly for equestrian sport, and especially for CHIO Rotterdam, where his huge support has helped to bring the event to the truly international status it enjoys today. He nurtured the show from the outset and played a key role in its success. His passing is a tremendous personal loss, and the equestrian world joins me in wishing his family and many friends sincere condolences at this very sad time.”
Jacques Schoufour’s generosity of spirit extended beyond the equestrian world into art and culture. He and his wife Ingeborg Martin, who died in 2001, were passionate about art, with a special interest in sculpture. In May 2008, they donated their beautiful collection of late-medieval sculptures to the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. The collection included 60 sculptures dating from 1350 to 1500 from the Netherlands, France and Germany.