By Claartje van Andel
Photography: Personal collection
Dutch dressage horse breeder Emmy de Jeu (70) has transferred her successful breeding business in one transaction to the Belgian company, MH Dressage, owned by Klara Hulselmans and Lorens Michelsen, both 28. All broodmares, foals, young horses... Everything Emmy de Jeu has built up has been transferred to these young dressage enthusiasts from Kalmthout, Belgium.
It all started with an advertisement offering a mare of Emmy de Jeu; “She had been online for a while,” Emmy explained. “Klara and Lorens came for that one mare, but went home with 33 horses! For both of us, this was a lottery ticket. I have reached a phase in my life when I want to enjoy horse breeding and sport a bit more from a distance. But you can’t just drop everything, and it’s difficult to leave your activities in what you hope are trusted and capable hands. But that dream has now come true for me.”
Emmy de Jeu, 2013 KWPN Breeder of the Year and the young Belgian couple from MH Dressage were soon talking, and discovered that it was only age that separated them. They recognized each other’s same drive, the same passion, the same mixture of business and emotion.
Klara and Lorens were offered three options: the broodmares, the foals, or the young horses. “But all horses together was the most interesting scenario for us,” says Klara.
Lorens concurred by saying; “In that way you can immediately start running business and you’re quicker able to ride ‘De Jeu’ horses. Building up a breeding farm of high-quality dressage horses has been our big dream. We had been looking for a long time for young, quality dressage horses to train and to compete, as well as for top mares for breeding, but both seemed almost impossible to find. In this way we got the best of two worlds.” Adding; “We simply could not miss this opportunity. Everything was set up and ready to go. Emmy has built up such a wonderful breeding stock that we can only be grateful that we can continue to build it even further.”
Existing collaborations will be main-tained in that MH Dressage will continue to work with Helen Jonker from Loningen, Germany, and Stal Henco where the brood mares are stabled, as well as with Klaas Buist of Stal 83, who is partly responsible for rearing the horses and preparing them for the saddle. MH Dressage itself will remain based in Kalmthout in Belgium, with competition horses and those in training. Lorens will focus on management and support MH Dressage in the broadest sense of the word.
“People sometimes think you can save money by doing everything yourself,” adds Emmy de Jeu. “But if you are in business you have also to count your own costs in terms of calculating how you occupy yourself and what you are good at. That’s why I advised Klara and Lorens to continue with existing collaborations, although I hardly needed to discuss it with them as I immediately noticed that we have the same thoughts about many things.”
Emmy de Jeu also recalls her 30-year history in the flower business in Amsterdam. “That gives you a bit of knowledge about people. So I felt that these two were the right people, young and enthusiastic. It was a nice process how we put the puzzle together, step by step.”
The sky is the limit for the future at MH Dressage, powered by Emmy de Jeu. According to Klara; “Our ambition is to progress as far as we can, in both sport and breeding.” “We want to know in detail how everything fits together,” Lorens adds. “That is our passion; to achieve the highest possible quality, and this new cooperation makes this possible.”
The takeover now puts dressage horse breeding in Belgium firmly on the map. The foals of 2022, who have all been born, are registered with KWPN and Oldenburg, and all broodmares are in foal again. The future will show whether other studbooks will also be used. The foals from the breeding of Emmy de Jeu will henceforth be known by the ‘MH de Jeu’ suffice, and Emmy will remain involved in the process as an advisor, supporter, and advocate.
Klara said; “Taking over the breeding farm is so much more than just the purchase, it is the beginning of our cooperation and all the ideas we have together.”
Emmy de Jeu has now moved from Oosterstreek to a smaller house in Noordwolde just two kilometers away, and concluded by saying; “This is the best decision I could have made.” n
(Story taken from a press release by Emmy de Jeu)