By Jo de Roo
Photography: Jo de Roo
After several selection competitions for free jumping for two-year-olds, the final tickets for Mechelen were to be distributed during the semi-final in the Azelhof in Liege. Until, suddenly, the traditional Mechelen showjumping tournament was cancelled due to Covid-19... So, the semi-final became the final.
Overall, more than 140 participants travelled to Liege, including the Veldeman family who came, saw, and conquered – victorious in both the male and female categories, unseen!
Even more impressive; the winners – Toyboy de Regor and Tell Me de Regor – are brother and sister, respectively both resulting from crossing Chacco-Blue (Chambertin - Contara x Contender) with Centa de Muze (Cento - Walloon de Muze x Nabab de Reve).
Johan Veldeman explains how Centa crossed their path: “During a certain edition of the national conformation competition in Brussels Expo we won two categories. In one of the halls, I met Joris De Brabander and his wife. We had previously said within the family that we had to look for a mare with performance blood. With this in mind I asked Joris if he had such a mare for sale. He introduced me to some mares, including Centa de Muze. We made an appointment and went to see Joris.
“In the meantime, we had already done some research at home, including in your book about the dam lines. I myself had already seen Centa’s dam, Walloon de Muze, jumping during a heat of the classic cycle for five-year-olds in Overdijk, in partnership with Kurt de Clercq. When we arrived at Joris’s studfarm, the then three-year-old Centa already had a foal. To make long story short, my brother Luc, my brother-in-law Bert, and myself bought Centa. Joris told us that Centa had once injured herself by leaving her box, so a sport career was out of the question. That didn’t bother me. She was the most expensive horse I ever bought at the time.
“We have since used Centa in our breeding program. She gave birth to a foal herself, and it was only after the birth of Horizon de Regor (in 2007) that we changed our system from one natural pregnancy per season to flushing one embryo, plus one natural pregnancy per season. It didn’t always work out as there were vintages in which there were no Centa descendants. From 2007 to 2016 Centa had an average of 1.1 foals per year.”
Johan Veldeman continued by saying; “We sometimes hear criticisms, ‘it’s the Veldeman family who wins’ or ‘if they participate, they will always win,’ That’s right, I even heard recently ‘those men can prepare their horses well.’ ‘Preparing the horses?’ What’s the meaning of that? You have to have quality in the first place. It’s not that simple and obvious. The overall picture must be correct. The stallion choices must be good, the horses must be fine, and so on. Let me give you an example: at some point I bought a two-year-old pony, named Navajo. My daughter, Dagmar, had broken the pony and trained him to 1m10 level. We then sold the pony because Dagmar had turned 16. Navajo has now become Belgian champion for the second time in a row. If he had still been in our possession, we would undoubtedly have been criticized again after winning the titles.”
Veldeman concluded by adding; “Every participant prepares his horse in the best way possible for such a competition. It’s the same for everyone. It’s the quality of the horses that’s decisive. When I look at the final result, I see that certain horses that were at the forefront during the selection competitions no longer held the top position in Liege. Our horses were at the top of the rankings just about everywhere, even though each time they were judged by different judges. During the BWP national breeding day, the horses were even graded by three different judges. There is a lot of regularity in the performances and results of our horses. The competitions for young horses are not an end point, by the way. Our horses also continue to do well later on, even after the competitions and free jumping. It must also be said that we occasionally sell good horses of our performance bloodlines. These also continue to perform well at a higher level.”.. To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber
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