This year Turbo Z attracted attention in Aachen, Rotterdam, Valkenswaard and Sankt-Gallen. His big breakthrough came at the start of the new world cup season. Turbo Z and Kevin Jochems won the first round in Oslo and jumped the jump-off in Lyon. They even took the lead in the WB circuit. But who is the breeder and owner behind this revelation? Wijnand Van Stam, 73, entrepreneur and hobby breeder. Z Magazine went to have coffee with him.
I have bred two horses that jumped in Aachen: Ginus and Turbo Z. There's a 21-year gap. Just to say you don't breed a Turbo every year'
The stable of Wijnand Van Stam can only be reached by ferry. His accommodation looks spacious and expansive, but Wijnand: When I moved here 43 years ago, I lived 3 kilometres from Schoonhoven, now it's only 300 metres Here they have not heard of the concrete stop. In the pasture graze two broodmares, Bigicini (Kojak) and Digicini (Indorado), two half-sisters of Turbo Z. One gave birth to a foal of Aganix du Seigneur Z this year.
With horses it is easier to be bad than good'
You see many good offspring of Aganix in the sport', argues Wijnand: As a breeder I look at the pedigree and I link that information to the knowledge of rider Anouk De Ruijter with whom I have several horses. I test my knowledge of breeding against her experience and insight. That's the way it should be. I may be able to breed the most beautiful papers, they have to get over it in the arena. But even with all that information you never get certainty and everyone is wrong.'
The foundation dam of Wijnand Van Stam is Gicini (Renville x Nimmerdor). She gave me four GP horses. To keep up with my times I would have to flush out embryos from her daughters, though I have no desire to do that at all. My mares are carrying their foals.'
The first horse we see is a 27 year old pony. Small but brave, we are told. It is my show stallion, indispensable for every breeder', says Wijnand: 'I have some horses with my Belgian vet Bart Veldeman. We have been working together for years, there is a bond of trust but it is my show stallion who determines the time of insemination. It has happened many times that I inspect my stallion, then take the mare to Bart after which she ovulates that evening or night.'
In the stables of Wijnand Van Stam are of course some descendants of Turbo Z. And a 3-yr-old Aganix du Seigneur Z and his grandmother is the mother of Turbo Z. And now you would think, he has enough horses and still I bought another one (laughs): Thor van 't Specialleke Z (Thunder vd Zuuthoeve). A three year old stallion, bought as a foal in Belgium. His mother is Zini W (Ludo W x Corland) who was born with me and Ludo W is out of Gicini, the mother of Turbo Z. I really like this now.(smiles) The resemblance is striking. Thor is just like Turbo at his age: a big skinny stallion. You can't take that to the inspection
Outside are some foals, of course by Turbo Z. And Aganix is also used a lot in the mother strain of Turbo.
Van Stam's foals are weaned as late as possible, at the end of October they leave the mare. I breed about five foals a year and when they are born they go to pasture as soon as possible. That's why I prefer my foals to be born at the end of April, beginning of May. Unfortunately we had a lot of rain this year. So much so that I wanted to sell them all....I couldn't. Actually, I'm not doing that and by now they know I'm not selling foals. I realize that's pernicious to the name recognition of my tribe, it is. On the other hand, I was able to sell Turbo Z's grandmother as a foal. That eventually didn't happen and that has been my great fortune. Otherwise we wouldn't be talking about Turbo today.
I just like to be busy with my foals and young horses and let them be their own nature. Championships, selections and tests are not for me. For the sake of the horses and because I also have to do it all by myself. Fortunately I have good agreements with some riders like Anouk De Ruijter who trains my horses. If they're not good enough, they leave. The better ones stay until they are 8 years old on average and are then sold. You have to sell at some point, even if there's no rush. Not in training, not in sales. The first horse of my foundation mare Gicini was Kor II (Elmshorn), born in 1992. I sold him as a four year old to Roelof Bril. At seven years old, he won the Grand Prix of Vienna, ahead of Hugo Simon and ET. Jumping a GP at that age is not allowed anymore. I don't need to tell you that Kor II didn't have a long career. So you learn from that too. That's why my horses get all the time they need. That costs money, but a horse like Turbo will be sold at some point and that compensates for a lot.
Some horses I semi-own with the rider and then we talk openly when a client presents. If we both feel good about it, we sell. Turbo Z is still all mine and that means that all the pressure falls on my shoulders. Everyone wants Turbo to stay in Dutch hands. For the sport and for Kevin Jochems. I understand that, but then why are there no Dutch investors? All responsibility lies with me. Ginus stayed with me too. He was 10 years old and hurt himself in Bremen against a stand. End of career. That's the way it is with horses
Wijnand Van Stam once had a carpentry factory where frames were made. He sold that company to a British buyer in 1989. Today, Van Stam still has a timber trade and a company that paints plywood. He's on The Board of Directors, the day-to-day management is out of his hands. His priority is his horses.
Turbo jumped phenomenal in the World Cups of Oslo and Lyon, right? My phone was ringing off the hook. Has it ever happened that a horse wins its very first World Cup? I don't think so. Kevin (Jochems) is a world rider, that makes a difference of course. And well, luck should be on your side. In the horses it is easier to be bad than good. I have bred two horses that jumped in Aachen: Ginus and Turbo Z. There's a 21-year gap. Just to say you don't breed a Turbo every year. That's not how it works, unfortunately.'
Wijnand Van Stam never rode a horse. A long time ago he bought a filly from Gelderland. I come from a farming family and animals have always appealed to me. That stuck. I wanted to breed good sporthorses and my first one was Ginus (Renville), a KWPN approved stallion. That's the greatest thing I've seen in sports. Because it was also the first time that my breeding product jumped GPs. My plan was successful. As a novice breeder, it's guesswork and missing out. And being lucky enough to meet the right people at the right time. I didn't always make the right stallion choice, fortunately I did get to know Renville and Nimmerdor'
What is the right choice of stallion? "Tell me who knows and you won't hear a thing
How does Wijnand choose the right stallion? I mainly look at the bloodlines. I use Kincsem (Carrera VDL) because he is a grandson of my Ginus. But what is the right choice? Tell me who knows and you won't hear a thing. In other words, I wouldn't know. Everyone has his own way of doing things and I prefer a stallion of which the (grand)mothers have given jumping horses. I think that's an important reference.'
Turbo wasn't very pretty at all as a foal and young horse. Because the mother of Turbo is small, Bart Veldeman advised to use Thunder vd Zuuthoeve. And I actually got a great model. For the same reason I have used Taloubet Z. Turbo was not only big, he was also a limp stallion. A very normal horse actually. So I kept him home longer. Turbo was only brought to Michael Greeve at the age of five. He rode Turbo for about five years and then I housed him with Kevin Jochems, ten minutes from my door.' Wijnand doesn't want to elaborate on that transfer.
Turbo Z is the thirteenth foal of his mare Gicini. Her first (Kor II) and last (Turbo Z) foal won a five-star GP/WB. 'That Turbo would do this, I couldn't have predicted. You won't know until they've done it Turbo Z was especially on the radar this year with a fourth place in the GP of Sankt Gallen and a fifth place in the GCT GP of Valkenswaard.
He jumped the Nations Cup of Aachen and for Wijnand Van Stam it was not the first time that he was sitting in the tribune as a breeder. My Ginus won the 1996 final of the 8-year-olds with Ulrich Kirchhoff. Your horse should get chances and Kevin Jochems got them from Rob Ehrens. If you can make it happen, the train has left. Kevin and Turbo have been given opportunities and taken them. They were reserves for the Olympic Games, the European Championship and the final of the Nations Cup in Barcelona. Then you're close to the top. And now he's confirming again in the World Cups.'
That Turbo Z and Kevin Jochems have found each other is rather a coincidence. I had brought Turbo Z back home after his stay with Greeve and there he was, at home in his stable. I didn't know Kevin Jochems. I do know Jan Vink who lives not too far from here. So the idea arose to bring Turbo to Jan Vink and he assigned him to his rider Kevin Jochems. We've since gotten to know each other and I'm glad they found each other.'
Turbo Z was once AES approved, so Wijnand can use him for his breeding. Out there, Turbo Z is not in demand. Or not yet? 'Yes, although we didn't want to have him covered fresh this year because he was getting opportunities in the sport and was on the longlist for the Olympics. After his World Cup victory in Oslo, there was a sudden demand. All we can offer is frozen food.' It hasn't been bad, Wijnand says as he looks back. He makes the remark that there are breeders who will never breed a Turbo Z. On the other hand, he thinks there could be some more Turbo's in his stable.