By Adriana van Tilburg
Photography: Private collection
Eduardo Campos (40) and Eva van Eeckhoudt (36) are very passionate about breeding. They met ten years ago, and that is when they decided to breed more seriously. “During the first five years I didn’t have a clear idea of where I wanted to go with my breeding. I already had some mares, so really breeding was for a little bit of fun.”
Since then, however, Yeguada Campos has had an interesting journey, developing into a highly regarded stud farm. Eduardo and Eva have also found time to start their own family: Rodrigo now seven-years-old and three-year-old Carlota.
Q Can you explain when and why you started breeding? Why you chose Spain for your breeding program? Isn’t it quite a chore to keep fields irrigated and to bring food from Belgium?
I rode when I was younger. I think I was 10-years-old when I started riding. Four years later I started with jumping competitions and it went quite well. But when I finished high school my parents obliged me to stop riding to attend university. I had to move to Madrid to study and stopped riding. However, at that time, I was riding a Belgian Warmblood Lys de Darmen mare, and I convinced my parents to use her for breeding while I was away at university. So everything began with that mare! Nothing good came out of her, but it was because I was only using local stallions.
I remember that I went once to the national free-jumping competition with a daughter of the Lys de Darnen mare. She was three years old, and it didn’t go so well. The result was not good. But at that moment I realized that I wanted to go for it! I decided that I needed better mares. I made contact with people from other countries. I wanted to see more things. I wanted to learn!
I went to Holland to VDL because I was looking for some better mares to buy, but it was right at that moment, when I was looking at their stallions, that I realized that I also wanted to have approved stallions.
My English was not so good in that time, but I was very clear in my mind about my goal. I wanted to breed top stallions, and the first decision was to find a way to get the right mares.
Why in Spain? I am Spanish. I love my country. In Spain we have a good life. I like the weather and the mood of the people. Our place is 30 hectares and it is located in Talavera de la Reina – a small city of 80,000 people that is more or less 100 kilometres from Madrid and 80 kilometres from Toledo.
Many people always asked me if in Spain it is possible to breed for the weather and I always give the same answer: Go to my place and look at my horses. If they could speak I am sure they would say that they prefer to live in Spain. At my place they are out in the field the whole year. We have good grass year-round, even in summer, because I can water every day. I can control how much water I use in the fields so I can determine how the grass is growing. And when the weather is hot the mares and foals can decide if they want to go under the shade of a roof we have in every field, but you’d be surprised to see that they prefer to stay in the sun eating grass. We have very good accommodation with everything we need to breed and also to train the stallions for the approvals and sport.
Q Everybody who looks at your breeding program understands that you have a passion for Holsteiner bloodlines. But why? What makes a Holsteiner so special? Does the Holsteiner still attract you as much as it did 10 years ago?
Once I decided to try to get the best possible mares for my project, I had to think about how to make it happen. Spain is not a breeding country of jumping horses and at that time my English was not so good. I contacted a Spanish agent of the Holsteiner Verband and we organized my first trip to Holstein. That was the moment I met stallions like Corrado I, Cassini I, Caretino.... I remember that I also went to see Contender.
When I stood in front of the boxes of stallions like Corrado I or Cassini I, I started to dream. I had a very clear idea that I wanted to breed stallions like that. And why not maybe a stallion of mine could be in those boxes one day.😉
Why was I more focused on Holstein? If we speak about football for example, I think that in recent years when young children start to feel passion for football, they look at Messi or Ronaldo, they became supporters of Real Madrid or Barcelona. Maybe that was what happened to me with stallions like Cassini, Corrado, Carthago! Or even their sons, Cumano or Berlin. My big passion for breeding started when those big grey stallions were really at the top...
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