On the most recent WBFSH ranking Zangersheide comes in first place. A fine acknowledgement, but we owe this reward to the breeders. Year after year they work out the best matches by selecting and combining the best sport genes. They have done so for decades and looking at all the new life, today it´s no different. The combined genes have already written history in the sport. In this year collection we see dams of sons and daughters that are jumping and winning World Cups. Or who themselves have taken part in great championships. The direct link with top sports is never far away. It offers no guarantee for the new life but it definitely provides more certainty. Considering the stallion choices we can see that standards are set high for the sires. Taloubet Z for example is the obvious choice when looking at his sport accomplishments. But our breeders also give young stallions a chance, although they do wish to see even better papers then. One thing´s for sure: both on the maternal as well the paternal side the sport must be embedded with a big ´S`.
Eise Brinkman from Zuidbroek and Norbert Lodewijks are the best of friends. Together they run a breeding stud, for the fun of it, and hence the name of their stables is For Fun. Some six years ago they made their name with Bro For Fun Z when he became Reserve Champion at the Z-Festival. Brinkman himself has jumped up to 1.30m level and in his day job he is a distributer of Subli equine feeds. That job takes him to many stables and thus he gets to know lots of horsey folk. All that together has given him an insight into the world of breeding. ‘Well, we´re a team of young puppies who get together every Thursday to discuss the world of horses’, Eise smiles. ‘We breed purely for the fun of it, which doesn´t mean we´re not trying to do it well, on the contrary. For every combination we do a lot of homework. The Z-Festival represents a good parameter and it´s also great when we can sell a foal via one of the Z-Auctions. Chiefly stallions that is, we usually keep the mares for the sport and breeding. It´s a hobby and we´re trying to be good at it. You have to stay sharp.
Meanwhile Axwell For Fun Z has already been born, a son by Aganix du Seigneur Z. Why Aganix? ‘Because we have already seen many of his offspring and he can improve canter for our Numero Uno mare. I don´t want to brag, but I´ll give Axwell a 10 for athletic ability. We also have a Comilfo Plus Z foal and we chose that stallion for his movement. And it shows, it´s a bold, strong foal. We´re expecting a Cicero Z foal as well.’
During the Z-Tour you just may have seen Koen Vereecke in action with Donna vd Windeweg Z (Diamant de Semilly). At the same time you may have met Luc Deknudt, the breeder of van de Windeweg. He´s approaching his retirement age but still a practising dentist. From 8am till 8pm, he laughs: ‘so it´s obvious there´s not much time left for my hobby. I come from a farmer´s background but never got on the back of a horse until I was 38. Thanks to my two sons that happened about 25 years ago when they learned to ride in a riding school. They have infected me with the horse bug. One of my sons, Cederik, has made horses his profession. My first foal was born in 2000. Before that I used to buy horses for my sons but you know what it´s like, the trade is not always straightforward. Hence I decided to get into breeding myself. Generally two foals a year. My third foal won the free jumping at the Z-Festival. That´s very educational for foals and young horses, in my view. The Z-Festival is like a weekend holiday for me. I present the colts to the Jury with an eye on a selection for the auction. It´s the same now for Torino vd Windeweg Z, a Taloubet Z son out of Tibora vd Windeweg (Thunder v Zuuthoeve). I chose Taloubet Z because of his successes in the sport and because I love the Galoubet blood. Just look at how Taloubet Z performed during his farewell when he was already 18! That means he´s a strapping fellow. You will also see my Kannan filly at the Z-Festival but she´s not going to the auction. She stays for breeding. She is out of the same dam as Koen Vereecke´s horse which he competes with internationally. As a rule my sons take care of the horses´ schooling and when they´re six, seven years old they´re usually sold off’, Luc Deknuct from Ieper wraps it up.
Marie Stephanie Delheid is a veterinarian at Stephex Stables. So she knows all the horses but there´s one that stands out for Marie Stephanie: Tobago Z! ‘What can I say? He´s got it all. By now his athletic ability surely is widely known but he is also a stallion with fine contact manners. And I´ve already seen his first offspring. I own a young mare by Cardento, which I ride myself. I´m not a breeder, really, but fate has brought us together. And obviously I enjoy the privilege of seeing Tobago Z virtually every day. He has swayed me to go for this experiment, breeding my very first foal. She´s called Trinidad Z and I´m presenting her at the Z-Festival, hoping she will be selected for the auction.’
The ‘Van den Bosrand’ horses are evidently much in demand by the international top riders. Early this year European Champion Peder Fredricson purchased the Cardento son Kirlo vd Bosrand.
We remember Giljandro vd Bosrand (Orlando x Clinton) from when he graced the podium of the Sires in Lanaken. And even more from when he jumped the World Cup Final with Henrik von Eckermann three years ago. And when he triumphed in the Nations Cups of Sopot and Odense with Rene Tebbel. Last month the half sister of Giljandro became the proud mum of Talice van den Bosrand, again a Taloubet Z son. The breeders are Luc and Kathleen Huyghe Maenhout from Maldegem: ‘We were both local riders and we got married 30 years ago. Gradually, riding has moved into the background. We bought a mare from Hubert Hamerlinck. Initially for the sport but we are amateur riders and that mare was so hot-headed that she was too difficult for us. We reconsidered and decided to use her for breeding because she had quality. That´s how we got into breeding. We were first-timers at the Z-Festival last year. On the one hand we were happy with the result, just behind the finalists which isn´t too bad for a first time. On the other hand though we felt some disappointment because our foal wasn´t selected for the auction. Later we managed to solve that by way of the Breeders Auction. We are agricultural farmers and have the space to keep the foals on but even then not all of them can stay’, Kathleen says. ‘My husband would like to keep them all but I want to cover the costs. And yes, paying the bills is part of my duties, my husband has no idea what all the expenses amount to (laughs). We have been in the game long enough to know that not every foal turns into a success story. Breeders like to share all their successes but often reality tells a different story. Not all new arrivals are stars.’
It´s not standard practice to sell the Van den Bosrand foals when they´re still foals: ‘We breed six to seven foals a year. We try to sell some of them and the others are raised here and later on go to Kurt De Clercq. It must be a win-win situation. When he believes in them he starts their schooling, with the intention of selling them on after a few years. This year we have a Taloubet Z foal out of Giljandro´s half sister because I´ve been a fan of that stallion for quite some time. Then there is a foal by Columbus Z, because of his extra jumping capacity, and by Brunetti Z, a high-legged stallion with heaps of sport quality. We´re planning to take a few foals to the Z-Festival with the intention of entering them for a Z auction.’
Evelyne Van Vreckhom and Pilar Cordon are great friends who have joined forces in breeding. We mostly know Evelyne as a trainer of youngsters and Pilar from riding at high levels, read: the Olympic Games, like in Rio 2016. Mares that have acted at the highest level but have reached retirement age now serve their breeding stud. One of the mares is Coriana van Klapscheut (Darco x Heartbreaker), from the stud of the Van Rossem family in Pajottenland. Coriana jumped internationally under Eric Lamaze and Pilar Cordon and in 2010 she gave birth to Koriano (Lord Z), who became World Champion at Zangersheide two years ago. The same combination has now produced another foal, christened Loriana Phylira VV Z. The full sister of the World Champion.
Evelyne and Pilar have more attractive mares to breed with, such as Goriana van Klapscheut, a daughter out of Coriana by Vigo d’Arsouilles. And then there is Gribouille de Lys who jumped at the Rio Olympic Games. ‘We have invested a lot in our stud over the past few years. We use ICSI quite frequently and are expecting foals by for instance Heartbreaker and Chacco Blue. It all costs loads of money and the first priority now is to earn back some of our invested money by selling foals. We´re also planning to educate foals because that, basically, is our core business: I school them until they are 6, 7 years old and then Pilar takes over. We clearly aim for the highest sport levels with our own breeding products.’
In Houthulst, West Flanders, Brunetti Z has a son called Bacardi vh Vrijbos Z. ‘Because we live on Vrijbos Street which borders on Het Vrijbos’, Geert Vandewaetere gets going: ‘and it has a criminal history. At the end of the 18th century Het Vrijbos was the base camp of the Baekelandt Gang.’ Fortunately that was a few centuries ago and Bacardi now grazes in all safety on the edge of Het Vrijbos. ‘I´m 57 and have been riding since I was 14, at a local riding club. Right now I have a well-behaved 6-year-old and I´ll stick with him. Bacardi is for my son’, Geert smiles. ‘I´m a driver by profession but back home we live and breathe horses. We breed for our own personal use and then not even every year. The dam Finesse de Cerise (Kashmir vh Schuttershof x Randel Z) actually belongs to my daughter-in-law. Three years ago she bred a Jaguar van Paemel from it and now she´s given birth to a Brunetti foal. It was a bit of a fluke, really. My son and daughter-in-law are renovating and hence have little time for the horses, so they are all here in my yard for the time being. Breed a foal from her, they suggested, as a compensation for taking care of her. That´s how Bacardi came into the world. They opted for Brunetti because of his capacity and his remarkably powerful canter.’ Geert has no intention to sell: ‘I´m an awkward seller, we strictly breed for personal use.’ Will he ever ride Bacardi? ‘Probably not, he´s for my son. By the time he gets saddle-broken I will be 60, I think I´d rather stick to my new 6-year-old horse’, Geert laughs.
Is there anyone who doesn´t know Jos Ceulemans? The most colourful supporter in equine sports. And breeder of DH aka Dwerse Hagen, where horses graze surrounded by greenhouses full of lettuces, tens of hectares. There once was a time when Jos bred dozens of foals. ‘That number has been drastically reduced’, we hear from Jef Goossens, who is the person in charge of foals and raising young stock at DH: ‘These days only 25 to 30 foals are born here but at various auctions we buy foals as well so we still end up with around 50 foals every year’, Jef smiles. DH owns a number of very good mares, like Withney DH, who is on the national team with son-in-law Patrik Spits. Meanwhile Thibeau Spits is gradually taking over the riding. Last year Thibeau became European Champion with the Belgian Junior Team. He has also won his first international GPs, with Bellissimo Z (Bamako de Muze x Chin Chin), and she has brought a foal by Taloubet Z. ‘Ti Amo Domi DH Z is a chestnut filly born in February. We chose Taloubet Z for his speed and the competitive mentality he displayed in the arena. Bellissimo Z is an exceptionally competitive mare too and we wanted to embed this characteristic. The foal itself is a good and supple mover, shows lots of blood, is terribly inquisitive and can change direction practically on the spot. So that looks okay. Sometimes we take a long time to consider a combination and sometimes we improvise the minute the mare is in season’, Jef Goossens says. ‘The mare is always the starting-point and then we try to find a suitable stallion. In first instance we are a sports stable where horses get their training. Seen in that context it´s not surprising to opt for Taloubet Z. Foals are not for sale unless buyers or auctions specifically approach us, but that´s limited to just two or three foals per year.
The German village of Mühlen is famous thanks to the Schockemöhle family. It´s also the place where Alwin´s daughter Vanessa Schockemöhle lives. ‘I chose Levisto Z because he has so much appeal. With Judy Ann he has won practically everything there is to win and he has shown off his qualities time and time again. Levistina Z´s dam is a Calvados Z x Cassini II daughter, her name is Cassise VS and I have bred her myself. Cassise is a half sister of Balthargo (by Baltimore 62), who jumped up to 1.35m under Maxime Harmegnies, and of the OS-approved stallion Balousino (by Balou du Rouet). In addition to this mare I have three other show jumping mares I use for breeding, but above all I´m into polo ponies.’ Vanessa explains. ‘Since breeding show jumpers is our family business I have always done that too, but in actual fact there are between 120 and 150 polo ponies stabled here the year round. That makes us the largest Polo stud in Europe. We own six stud stallions and we deliver the semen nationally and internationally. Another branch is the schooling of horses and of course, the trade. Show jumpers therefore are more of a hobby, although I have done a fair bit of jumping myself. But once I was introduced to polo sports I lost my heart to it (laughs). Still, I frequently opt for Zangersheide. It is a true sports studbook whose stallions can also be seen in the sport itself and according to me that is of great added value for breeding. They also keep close tabs on dam lines and have good sales platforms for their foals. So they offer an interesting package deal! I´m terribly pleased with this gorgeous, high-legged and tall filly, but for the right price everything is for sale.’ Vanessa finishes with a smile.
Frieder Dietterle´s stables can already boast two Zangersheide foals. The first colt listens to the name of Hulapalu Z and is a Heartbeat Z son. The second, Cyttrus Z, is a son by Cornado II Z. ‘We decided to use Heartbeat Z because we were looking for a stallion who combines good jumping ability with a good character. So we went to the Studbook for advice and after talking it through they recommended to use Heartbeat. His dam, Basita, is a Coriano Z daughter and very talented herself. She has a lot of blood and definitely passes on her talent. The foal´s granddam, Casita 4, also lived in our yard and competed in the sport up to 1.45m level. To me she was an exceptional mare, especially at national and regional levels, but unfortunately she died too early because of a colic attack. Basita herself got as far as 1.35m level in the sport,’ Frieder tells us. ‘We´re very pleased with our Cornado II Z foal too. He is incredibly beautiful and tall. Very high-legged and longlined, the way I like them to be! He comes out of a Spartacus TN x Nabab de Reve dam. She was a terribly good jumper too but because of an accident couldn´t compete in the sport. Selma, as is the name of this Spartacus daughter, is a half sister of Cornelis II who is a Heartbreaker son jumping 1.45m courses.’ Every year about two to three foals are born at the Dietterle family yard but this year five mares are put in foal. They have already chosen four stallions: Cornado II Z, Heartbeat Z, Solid Gold Z and Dominator Z. Hopefully all mares will catch easily!’ Up until last year Frieder only bred with the Holstein Studbook but last year he switched to Zangersheide because he was aiming for something more modern. Frieder owns around twenty horses but basically, it is chiefly a hobby and a passion.
In France a C Java Cedre Vert Z was born, a mix of proven sport blood. French breeding succeeded in purchasing Arizona vd Arenberg (Quidam de Revel x Codexco) when she was six years old. We know Arizona as the dam of the five-star GP horse Utamaro d’Ecaussines (Diamant de Semilly) who made a career under Joe Clee and who won the World Cup of London in December with William Whitaker in the saddle. Since early this year Utamaro and Niels Bruynseels have been a team. Utamaro also has a full sister, the 8-year-old Bali des Cedres Verts who´s making an international career with Marlon Zanotelli. Arizona has two offspring who both jump international events, an 8-year-old and one that´s older. Her youngest descendant is a filly by Cicero Z Van Paemel: ‘Actually, we wanted a Taloubet Z foal last year but he had only just left the sport so that didn´t work out. Hence we opted for Cicero Z, and C Java is the result. We breed on a small scale, just one or two foals a year. We flush our mare just once and she then carries her other foal herself. That´s the way we operate. The foals are not for sale. At the age of four they are introduced to the saddle and we start their training without rushing them. After a few years they are generally sold.’
We know Samuel Hutton as a rider of Abdel Saïd. Kevin Witteveen used to work for Jessica Mendoza and has switched to Alexandra Thornton´s Dunwalke Stables where he is in charge of stable management and training the horses. Kevin and Samuel jointly founded Burhill Sport Horses in 2016, a yard where they educate youngsters after having completed their day jobs. At present they have around a dozen or so under their care. Since young horses are a substantial investment Kevin and Samuel decided to breed their own. Nothing ventured, nothing gained so Kevin and Samuel invested in good-quality dam lines which they pair to proven sport stallions such as Asca Z, Aganix du Seigneur Z, Vagabond de la Pomme, Canturano. ‘Our oldest ones are 2-year-olds now. We aim to school most of them ourselves but we cannot keep all of them. So in June we´re off to the Z-Festival to present a foal for the first time. We have never been there before. Originally we had plans to come last year but the mare wasn´t fit so we had to cancel. We´re set on coming this year though. Definitely with a Cabrio Z colt out of our Vigo d’Arsouilles mare: Confidence BS Z. Another mare, For A Smile (Carnaval Drum), had earlier produced a filly by Aganix du Seigneur Z (Amazing Smile BS Z) and one by Canturano II (Clever Smile BS Z). As luck has it, we first flushed them and retrieved two embryos from Mylord Carthago: Mylady Smile BS Z and Magic Smile BS Z. After that we flushed an embryo from Don VHP Z which has resulted in a foal we called Diamond Smile BS Z. As a rule we breed about three foals a year, this year we happened to get five and one of them is definitely coming to the Z-Festival to be sold.’
Gerry and Danny Dune together own Grovely Riding Centre where youngsters get their education. This is what stirred their interest for breeding. They have already produced several well-known horses such as Beezie Madden´s Darry Lou (Tangelo vd Zuuthoeve) as well as some foals like Torc Falls DB Z (Tangelo vd Zuuthoeve) who moved to Russia, or Big Time Z (Big Star x Cassini) who was sold to Stud Eichenhain in Germany and Dalens DSH Z (Dominator Z x Casall) who was bought by Ximena Milmo from Mexico. For their stud they own nothing but good-quality mares, such as Negura MS Z (Nabab de Reve) who has a foal by Cabrio Z. The sister of Michael Whitaker´s international Portofino brought Vegas Z (Vagabond de la Pomme) and she is the proud dam of an Asca Z foal (Azalea DC Z). Along with the Portofino blood, Grovely Riding Centre can also boast the blood of Fragance de Chalus, by way of her granddaughter. Furthermore, they possess dams by For Pleasure (Beaukilly) and Diamant de Semilly (Fancy) that are used for breeding. We used Cabrio Z on our tall Nabab de Reve mare and her foal was born in February (Cabrera DSH Z). The same mare is now in foal by Tobago Z. This year I have eight foals which will all be Z registered. Azalea DC Z stays with us because her dam is going into the sport. We would like to sell the Cabrio Z via the Z Auction.
The Van Straaten family from Den Ham has been breeding show jumpers for decades. One example is Michael Whitaker´s Handel II. Recently, Jeroen Dubbeldam won Bronze at the Dutch Championships with Roelofsen Horse Trucks Eldorado (Diarado), another of Fred van Straaten´s breeding products. The breeding history of the Van Straaten family goes as far back as the 60s with the purchase of the Gelderse mare Isabelle who was to become the foundation of their stud. Among her offspring are the approved stallion Fair Play and the internationally competing horses Exodus and Hurricane. Annually some fifteen foals are born, the colts are sold off and the fillies undergo rigorous screening when they´re 2½ years old. Next, they first have to bring two foals and subsequently are started in the sport. ‘I never take part in foal inspections. Ultimately, the sole standard of our breeding is the sport and we stick to a very strict policy. We have a long-standing tradition with Zangersheide which dates back to Mr Melchior. Our contact with Alex Korompis has always been good too. We have used many Z stallions for our stud. It´s the same now with Kazan Z (Baloubet du Rouet x Heartbreaker). When I laid my eyes on him I was completely smitten. In my view he is the most beautiful son of Baloubet I have ever seen. It´s a colt with good commercial potential. He was born end of April out of Gentle Belle (Corland x Carolus) and will come up for sale.’
Joanna Banas is the Polish link with Zangersheide, because there too Z is used in breeding. Like at the Osadkowski Riding Club where around three to four foals see the light of day each year. Here too they use dams which have made their mark in the sport. One of them is C.Silesia Z (Chellsini Z Osadkowski Riding Club) who will also compete in the sport this year. For sport is greatly valued in Poland. Hence they chose Zangersheide where sport stallions are the core business. Another mare, Aida HL (Pink Floyd HL x Alexis Z), this year brought the foal Great George Z. A foal by George Z, chosen because they were keen to add the Usha van ’t Roosakker blood to their breeding lines. Presently, Aida HL is in foal by Aganix du Seigneur Z. Aida, who has also seen the action in the sport, previously brought Amulette, and this offspring of hers became Champion 6-year-olds in Norway as a youngster.
Aleksandra Furgo owns a small-scale family stud with two mares. Currently they have two 2-year-olds, one of them by Dominator Z: Dominick Z. Last year Dominick Z´s dam was paired to Columbus Z which has resulted in a colt called Cedrick Z. They chose Columbus Z because in addition to his perfect pedigree he also has excellent technique and dynamism over the jumps, Aleksandra explains. She was so thrilled with Columbus Z and Cedrick Z that she decided to stick to the same combination this year. Aleksandra Furgo got to know Zangersheide via Dominator Z and clearly has a taste for more.