Iron man van de Padenborre with Grégory Wathelet (BEL)

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?

André Leemans

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.

Iron Man's full brother, Ho Go vd Padenborre, is a 1m60 international with Denis Lynch (2nd at the CSI5* in Los Angeles, last year) while Cevo Socrates (ex Socrates van dePadenborre) is a full blood brother to Iron Man. Iron Man is out of Dirka van de Padenborre (Chin Chin -Jessica van de Padenbore x Fantastique), while Socrates is out of Dirka's full-sister, Pin Chin.
Iron man van de Padenborre with Grégory Wathelet (BEL)
Then there is Ohio vd Padenborre who was ridden by Stanny van Paesschen in the five-star Nations’ Cup in Dublin, as well as the Nations’ Cups of Drammen and Helsinki by Nicolas Leemans. Ohio is by Quidam de Revel out of Himalaya van de Padenborre (Fleuri du Manoir), out of Draisienne (1969). Ohio was not only Leemans’ first top competitor, but has since been used very successfully in his breeding program.
You get my drift, we are dealing with a breeder who has the score on the board. The mare that started it all, Draisienne, was bred in France, by the Thoroughbred, Noe xx (1955), out of Romance [SF] – a daughter of Laurier Thym xx (1955: Ultimate xx). Here we have another example of a dynasty based on a less than brilliantly bred base, so this French branch of the family could best be described as ‘normal’.

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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