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Breeding highlights from Mechelen end-of-year show


By Jo de Roo

Abandoned in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid-19, the annual Mechelen show returned with great ceremony and tens of thousands of enthusiastic spectators in 2022 for the 40th edition. “The lord and farmer are back,” declared Chairman Gunter Van Lent.

He continued by saying: “Top sports, but also amateurs get a chance. Horses, exceptional performances, and our athletes shared the spotlight. Our wonderful breeding was not forgotten and we also organized our auction where a fine selection of exceptional talents were for sale.”
Naturally, the breeding highlights were the final of free jumping for two-year-old horses, showjumping classes for six- and seven-year-old stallions, and the famous Léon Melchior showjumping class.

Free jumping victory for Unice vd Polderblues

“We owe a lot to the late Leon De Cock,” explained Leen Schelfhout who, together with Jens Van Moer, is known as the breeder of the BWP mare Unice vd Polderblues (Cornet du Lys - Eclips DC x Malito de Reve), the winner of the free jumping contest for two-year-olds. It is the umpteenth ‘Waasland’ success story, this time written by Leon De Cock, Leen Schelfhout, Jens Van Moer and veterinarian Els De Dycker. “Unice had previously won the selection competition in Meerdonk, as well as the semi-final for female two-year-olds in Liege. In Mechelen she jumped last in the final and won. The icing on the cake. We are very happy and grateful with what we have,” said a modest Leen Schelfhout.
According to the owner of Unice’s dam, Eclips DC, Els De Dycker explained; “Eclips is a close-to-the-ground mare with a lot of blood, a lot of length and a good head. She’s a bit delicate, a bit one-handed if you like. She briefly participated in sport in partnership with Valentijn De Bock and Geoffrey Geerts. The previous owner of Eclips, Leon De Cock, liked to have his horses together and kept the dam for his breeding. Leon was a client of mine and we had built up a friendship. At one point Leon was diagnosed with a disease from which he unfortunately passed away (May 15, 2021). Eclips DC then came to my studfarm and I’m grateful for that.” Leon bred several international showjumpers, as well as the BWP approved stallion Marne De Darmen, a son of Lys De Darmen out of Unice’s great-granddam, Dirza.
The first two descendants of Eclips DC were bred by Leon De Cock, being Onort DC-DM (Elvis ter Putte) and El Forlap DC-DM Z (El Torreo de Muze). Two years after the birth of El Forlap, Els De Dycker and Marc Kluskens bred the Kassander van’t Roosakker son Rintintin d’Esprit out of Eclips. And in 2020, Unice van de Polderblues was born, According to Leen; “Leon allowed us to use Eclips once to breed a foal out of her. We crossed her with Cornet du Lys and from this combination Unice was born – Eclips’s first filly. Unice has a lot of suppleness and a good mentality.” Jens: “She may not jump spectacularly, but always with balance, ease, and light-footedness.”
As it turns out, Jens Van Moer is a man with a very direct approach; “When we were allowed to use Eclips, the dam was 15 years old. We thought it appropriate to use a stallion that was available through fresh semen. Kassander van’t Roosakker was on our list, but no fresh semen was available from him at that time. So, we went looking for a ‘Kassander type’. In the end we chose Cornet du Lys via Els. We actually got the golden tip from Els. I immediately got in my car at night and drove six hours (one way) to France to collect fresh semen from Cornet du Lys and bring it to Belgium.” Leen: “Jens came back from his long drive and we were just in time to inseminate Eclips with the fresh semen.”
Unice descends from a good bloodline – BWP dam line 102 to be precise. Els: “Eclips is a half-sister to Forlap with whom Grégory Wathelet was very successful.” In 2012 Forlap was a finalist at the World Championship for seven-year-olds in Lanaken. A year later he won the Belgian showjumping championship for seniors and made his international five-star debut, precisely during the highly regarded CHI Aachen. Later that year, Wathelet and Forlap placed 11th in the World Cup class in Mechelen. In 2014, amongst other performances, they finished fifth in the five-star Grand Pris in Lummen, second in the CHIO-5* Nations Cup in La Baule... To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber