European Champion Campari Z: abnormal but above all phenomenal

Campari Z (Contact vd Heffinck) and Elian Baumann were part of the Swiss team that became European champions in Riesenbeck. Breeder Kim Vanderwaeren was there and had tears in her eyes: 'I am an amateur. How big is the chance that your horse becomes European champion? That is a thousandth of a chance. Then you should know that his life has been hanging by a thread.' Kim lives near the Provahof, Bert Prouvé's riding school. At home they had nothing to do with horses, so she signed up for the group lessons. That is how it started, on a riding school horse. I was and am an amateur. Yes, I was a member of the local LRV club and rode eight horse, but that was never more than I tried. After the group lessons, I decided to buy a horse and that became Olivia vh Provahof (Platini M x Etretat). She was 11 years old, jumped LRV Heavy with Kim Thiry but had a tendon stroke. End of sports career. For me, she was suitable as a recreational horse. Olivia had already given birth to 8 foals. I also wanted to breed a foal from her. The first was a failure. Her second foal was Campari Z. As a sire I chose the then 5-yr-old Contact vd Heffinck. I saw him at competitions and saw something in him. Contact appealed to me immediately.

Campari was born, his mother lost  already her colostrum, so we rushed Campari, one day young, to the clinic where he stayed for ten days. His life was hanging by a thread. After 24 hours, we had to separate him from his mother. I have no idea if that was a heavy trauma or if it had an influence, although Campari Z has never been a normal horse. Bram Blockx saddled Campari and that was no gift. Campari was not easy to ride. I never really rode him, I did try, but he went in the corner with me. Actually I didn't enjoy it. Nobody did, for that matter. Kim Thiry has ridden Campari at the BK and Gesves, later also Bert Prouvé has jumped with him, because he could jump. When he was 8 years old, we sold him and he ended up in Italy. We then lost track of him. Afterwards, I heard that he had seen black snow there. That he was even taken to the slaughterhouse. Until the present owner Riccarda Wenger discovered him. Pitifully thin, but it clicked. She understood him and vice versa. Campari Z gave her his trust.

Elian Baumann is her rider, but Campari Z is still with Wenger. She rides and trains him daily and brings Campari with her trailer to Baumann once a week. My parents are Campari Z's biggest fans. They bought a mobile home and follow him at his competitions. In Zandhoven he won two classes. In La Baule Campari Z won the Nations Cup, in Sankt Gallen he came sixth in the GP after two clear rounds. For Tokyo he was a reserve, he was in quarantine but did not travel.  His mother Olivia died last year. Campari Z was her last foal. I am glad that Campari Z ended up in a good place and that I still have contact with Riccarda Wenger, who constantly informs me about Campari Z. We both share in the happiness of Campari Z.' 

Bert Prouvé describes Campari Z as an unguided projectile: 'a phenomenon of a show jumper, but also a difficult horse to handle. His mother Olivia is the grandmother of the 1.60m mare Cadida vn Provahof (Lux Z), who in turn is the mother of the 1.60m mare Jadida Prova (Ugano Sitte). So Campari Z comes from a good mother line, although nobody thought he would become so good.'

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