‘Now I’m hoping to be selected for the Z-Quality Auction’, Frank Vanleeuwe concludes at the end of a selection day in Lanaken. The Jury is still out, but Esperence Z stands a good chance. Esperence has presence and was an eyecatcher in everything she demonstrated. This is going to be a sport horse for riding jump-offs, somebody remarked. Frank Vanleeuwe has every right to be pleased as Punch and is off to a good start with his breeding. ‘Esperence is from my first breeding collection and I am full of ambition.’
Frank is a former rider from the Torhout equitation school. He did an internship at Marc Van Dijck’s yard and got a position with De Breemeersen. ‘It’s true I have a horsey background, but that is about a quarter of a century ago. Opportunities are limited for stable riders, most of the time you keep riding young stock. In my days Marc Van Dijck was still in the saddle and at de Breemeersen there were a couple of children dying to take over the reins from the young horses. For an apprentice rider like me it was not financially viable to build a future on that basis’, Vanleeuwe looks back. VanLeeuwe made his success as an entrepreneur in gold and silver and developed a partnership with the University of Liège concerning a few medical aspects of his horses. We write 25 years later and Frank’s passion for horses never faded into the background. ‘A good friend of mine suggested to join forces and invest in horses, at first in EQ Science, more recently in EQ Stud with the ambition to turn that into a professional stud farm and stallion station.’
It’s evident that Frank’s style is the professional approach. Two years ago he purchased a broodmare at the Z-Online Auction. Not just any odd mare, this was Taltina Z, and he was prepared to pay € 60,500 for her. Taltina Z is a Taloubet Z daughter out of Ratina Alpha Z. This year she produced three foals, one of them being Esperence Z (Emerald). ‘In the past years I bought several horses and foals at various Z auctions. My intention is to bring together the best blood in my breeding programme and to run a stallion station too. Like for instance Django Unchained Z, a Dominator Z son out of a Kannan dam who stems from the first collection I purchased via Zangersheide. I can objectively say that Zangersheide auctions provide the best material.
For the future I have the ambition to have stallions from my own stud on offer’, Vanleeuwe says: ‘It's a new project, this year I have four foals, next year we want to quadruple that. I have also invested in embryos from famous names like Chacco Blue and Comme Il Faut and although it’s quite tempting, I’m not selling my embryos. I’m too much of a breeder to do that, I want to see my foals. Later on I would like to sell half of them to cash in on the financial return, the other half I will keep as a stud stallion or to compete in the sport.’ Frank’s stud is situated in Mont Le Soie, Wallonia, and he has also invested in a farm in Normandy. For schooling purposes his horses are moved to the sport stables at a new complex in Brecht. With Esperence Z Frank Vanleeuwe has given us a pretty good idea of his standards.