Luc Tilleman: “We are seeing more of the natural quality of the stallions”

In Peelbergen Equestrian Center of Kronenberg, 18 new stallions were approved last Sunday during the last and decisive day of our Zangersheide Stallion Inspection. The stallions were traditionally judged by Eric Levallois, Heinz Meyer and Luc Tilleman and the latter looks back on this autumn inspection with satisfaction. “We had a good stallion inspection with a remarkable number of good show jumpers. As usual, the number of complete stallions is rather limited, but there were some really good jumpers whom we will definitely see on TV later in the Grand Prix's. Horses that showed scope and that jumped lightly from the ground.”

Quality is getting better

Also this year a large number of stallions were entered for the inspection, but Luc thinks the quality is getting better year after year. “I do have the feeling that people are becoming more and more aware that they really have to come here with a good horse, because otherwise it makes no sense. The picture must be somewhat complete and there are five points that you have to take into account. They must have a good exterior, stand correct on their legs, be able to move well, jump carefully and of course have some scope. When judging horses you should be able to see that you can tick off 3 to 4 of those criteria. Personally, I think it is especially important to have a good jumping horse in front of me, a horse that jumps lightly off the ground and jumps easily to the other side of the fence.”


“What we are very positive and happy about is that there are fewer and fewer stallions who are prepared in a negative way and this is also something that we have to keep working on and where we want to go. It is very difficult for us as a stallion selection committee to judge if the presenters do not show stallions as they really are. To be able to discover the natural qualities of a stallion, we must also be able to see them as naturally as possible. They may be worked and trained, but they may not be falsely prepared so to speak. In addition, I must also say that we have had a fantastic team in the ring for several years that guides the horses well and calmly to the jump and that nothing really happens. This makes it a lot easier for our jury to assess.”


One of the trendsetters during this stallion selection for Luc was the three-year-old Chaudfontaine JL Z, a son of Chacco Blue out of Jos Lanksink's former top mare Valentina Van 't Heike (Nabab de Rêve).

Chaudfontaine JL Z one of the trendsetters according Luc

“Chaudfontaine JL Z was indeed a striking appearance. He showed a lot of scope and therefore has the complete picture of coming out of a super dam line.

We also saw some good offspring of Aganix du Seigneur Z. These were all good jumpers who all showed a lot of scope on the fence and also all had a lot of looseness through the body. But we all know that the road ahead is still long. We judge the stallions when they are 3 or 4 years old, but at that time they are diamonds that still need to be cut. A lot will depend on how these stallions are treated in the future, how they are ridden, who they end up with, what training they receive… These are all factors that are of great importance.”

                                                                                                                 Aganix du Seigneur Z


Today, when we talk about breeding, the word ‘damline' comes up quickly, but how important is that damline factor in choosing the candidate breeding stallions? “First and foremost we look at the horse itself, because a good and correct horse with good balance and a good canter is and remains the most important factor. Today a lot of attention is indeed paid to the damlines, but we should not focus too much on that either. I just gave the example of Chaudfontaine JL Z who comes out of Valentina Van 't Heike, but that dam line also started somewhere. It is certainly always a bonus if a stallion comes out of a proven dam line and to get some covers as a young stallion, it will undoubtedly be an advantage, but don't forget that those good horses from the past also started somewhere. If we see a good horse that is correct, has four good feet, can move well, jump well and has a lot of balance, we will certainly give him a chance.”




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