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Horse breeding for the decades from two Dutch masters

World Equestrian Games, Rome 1998 Eric van de Vleuten (NED) riding Vink Flower II

By Claartje van Andel
Photography: Peter Llewellyn

Editor’s note: In our December 2021 issue, it was announced that international showjumping rider Eric van der Vleuten had joined the KWPN stallion selection committee as a new team member. Since then, Claartje van Andel has spoken to Eric, as well as fellow member Leunus van Lieren, asking them to share their views on sport horse breeding in the next decade.

What will be the major issues for horse breeding in the next decades? Horse breeding from 2030 to 2040 was an interesting issue to discuss among some well-known horse people officiating recently at KWPN. International rider and showjumping specialist Eric van der Vleuten (58) will be succeeding Wout-Jan van der Schans as a member of the KWPN stallion examination committee, while dressage rider, trainer, and breeder Leunus van Lieren (68) will be new to the dressage breeding board of KWPN. The two man share some insights and visions regarding breeding in the coming decades.

Q Eric, you almost weekly visit horse shows, sometimes compete yourself, and know the sporting challenges demanded today. You were in Tokyo helping your son Maikel win individual Olympic showjumping bronze riding Beauville Z (Bustique x Jumpy des Fontaines, breeder Pascal Habets). What were your thoughts after the coursewalk of the individual final?
Eric: Sport is moving rapidly. After walking the course for the individual final in Tokyo, I really had to sit down in the stables for a moment and think how best to proceed. It could hardly have been any more difficult. Fences were at maximum height, maximum width, and delicate in the extreme as well. You couldn’t ask for more – everything was maximum. It’s no joke if I say that winning a big class nowadays demands a super-fast, handy pony with the size of a Warmblood horse.

Q We’ve once seen a fast pony winning Olympic gold – Jappeloup (Tyrol II x Oural xx) with Pierre Durand in 1988…
Eric: Yes indeed and at that time showjumpers were still less agile and more heavily built than nowadays. We are now more than 30 years later and yet still call some horses too heavy and old fashioned. However Jappeloup wasn’t that type of horse. He really was a fast pony with a lot of blood indeed... To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber


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