Boyd Exell, (AUS), Carlos, Celviro, Zindgraaf, Alonso Exell Stables - Valkenswaard 2016 © Hippo Foto - Dirk Caremans 24/05/16

By Yvonne Buis-Franken / KWPN
Photography: Dirk Caremans

Boyd Exell is the reigning four-in-hand driving world champion, and for many years has used Dutch Harness Horses in his team, that have brought him much success. “The uphill movement and the amount of spirit is just what I am looking for.”

In fact, Boyd Excell has been honoured with the world champion’s title no fewer than five times. In Tryon, NC, he prolongated the title that he’d also won in Breda 2016, Caen 2014, Riesenbeck 2012, and Lexington, KY 2010. All of these titles were won with Dutch Harness Horses in his team. Naturally, he’s very fond of the breed. “It is very simple in this sport,” the Australian driver explains. “You’re only as good as your horses. You’ve got to have good horse power to be better than the rest. They are the icing on the cake.”


Exell: “The Dutch Harness Horses are very suitable for this sport. Over the years the sport has evolved a lot, and so did the Harness Horses. My first experience with Harness Horse was about 30 years ago with stallions like Fabricius and Manno. Since then I’ve also had a lot of experience with other stallions like Ahoy, who’s offspring could do with a little more spirit but had lovely movement, and Patijn, that had quite a lot of spirit. Currently I’m using Delviros and Vulcanos, but also Crescendo and Cizandro offfspring. For me they are the best. There are several reasons why they are great for our sport. First, they have an affordable price and the availability is good. Besides that there is large variety in colours, which is important if you like a matching team.”

Pulling power

In the four-in-hand sport you often see dressage horses being used, but for Exell the Harness Horse has lots of advantages: “The big difference is that these horses are bred to pull carriages. Of course Holsteiners, Oldenburgers, and Hannovarians go well with a carriage as well, it is not that they can’t do it. But they are bred to carry the weight of a rider, not to pull a carriage. That makes a big difference. When you are in a marathon for an hour-and-a-half, two hours, and the horses are getting tired, they need to have that bit of extra fighting spirit. The Hackney and Harness Horses have that and are able to give you the edge.”.. To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber