Cabrio van de Heffinck, who was retired to stud during the Mechelen Christmas show – Photo: FEI

BELGIUM (by Jo de Roo) As always during the Mechelen Christmas show, breeders and riders come together to celebrate a number of highlights – including several breeding-specific classes: free-jumping final for two-year- olds, showjumping for six- and seven-year-old stallions, as well as the now famous Léon Melchior class. On this occasion the winners, respectively, were Pop Star van de Schelpenhoeve, Le Blue Diamond VH Ruytershof, Qp Castellane, and Tobago Z.

Starting with the free-jumping final for two-year-olds, the jury comprised Dieter Mehrens from Germany and Dutchman Paul Hendrix. Victory was claimed by the BWP-registered Pop Star van de Schelpenhoeve (Diamant de Semilly - Butterfly van de Bunte x Narcos II), who has already won two earlier free-jumping competitions in 2017 in Vleteren and Moorsele. In the semi-final, two weeks previously, Pop Star ranked second ranked male, and in the final jumped consistently well. He formed a nice parabola over the fences and demonstrated much scope and a good technique. Pop Star was bred by Samir Brahimi who admitted that there had been very little preparation: “Each day he spent time in the horse-walker. Very natural. I am a small breeder and don’t own facilities endowed with all kinds of possibilities. The only special thing we did was clipping the horse.”

Pop Stars dam, Butterfly vd Bunte, is by Narcos II out of a daughter of Jokinal de Bor- nival and bred by Guido Ver- haeghe. She has seven descendants registered with BWP and one with Zangersheide. According to Brahimi: “Butterfly is not currently in foal. Recently, I sold several horses. Next year once again I will use her as broodmare in my studfarm. Just like her son, Pop Star, Butterfly also won a free jumping competition for two-year-old horses in Moorsele. In the past, I jumped with her in rural tournaments. In the arena she had many temperament. As it happened, she jumped so high that I couldn’t remain in the saddle!”...

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