By Christopher Hector
Photography: Roslyn Neave and FEI
It annoys me when I read articles about ‘breeders’ and when I get to the end I’ve heard lots of self promotion, but discover that there is not one single product of this breeder’s programe that has achieved anything of real note. I am reminded of Bernard Le Courtois’s distinction between stallions and uncastrated males – perhaps the same distinction would be between breeders and those owners of horses that produce foals?
This is certainly not the case with Belgian jumping horse breeder, André Leemans. I met André in Aachen, where his stallion, Iron Man, was looking great. The young stallion has already been named 'Elite' by the BWP as he sets out on his international career with Gregory Wathlet (BEL). This is real breeding: Iron Man van de Padenborre – by Darco out of a mare by Chin Chin – traces to the original foundation mare of the Padenborre Stud, Draisienne.
I asked Mr Leemans why he went looking for Thoroughbred blood... “I was working as a butcher and riding horses for a cattle dealer. Draisienne caught my eye with her extremely strong character and high amount of blood. So I bought her, my very first horse.”..
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