Home Breeder Profile Less is more for Karen Nijvelt and Twan van Woensel

Less is more for Karen Nijvelt and Twan van Woensel

Twan van Woensel with international dressage horses l-r Darwin (Maestro) and Elysias (Jazz)

By Claartje van Andel
Photography: Private collection

Karen Nijvelt and Twan van Woensel explain their decisions taken and their inspiration both with their horses and life in general.

Q For those in the world who are less familiar with you, how did you two meet?

Karen riding Elhysias in Aachen

Karen: Twan and I did meet in the south of the Netherlands in 1991 when I started to work as a dressage rider for Arno Hollander at his Belvedere Stables. Twan and I got along quite well and long story short, at the end of 1993 we moved together to our recent stables in Hoeven near Roosendaal, while Twan was offered a job at Belvedere Stables as well. We bred a lot with stallions Nero (Balzflug x Onyx x Hurricane x Waldo), related to Olympic horse Biraldo (Rinaldo x Exilio xx x Hurricane), shown by Canadian Christilot Boylen). And Showtime (Contango x Democraat), bred by Henk de Man, owned together with Dalhoeve. He was approved at AES and is a full brother to approved stallion Ravel. We especially bred with our favourite stallion Maestro (Contango x Joost, breeder J.A.G. ter Mors). We had large groups of young stock at that time. However, less was more for us and now we still breed with only one mare by Maestro x Cabochon.

Q It’s rather amazing, the decisions you’ve both taken. Less is more?
Twan: Yes, it’s simply amazing, I must say, the knowledge you collect when working with horses during the years. We used to have our own studfarm with our Grand Prix stallion Maestro (Contango x Joost). We were collecting semen and serving our clients. However, this work during the season means being on duty virtually day and night, while our passion, caring for and working with horses, always came second. When our stallion died, it was almost natural to change our plans.
We are very lucky to still work for the same owner, Arno Hollander, which started more than 30 years ago in 1991. Now we manage his stable Belvedère. It includes four overall activities: pension with horsesboxes for clients, young stock, breaking them in and giving lessons and training, and training our own horses. Having to show and sell the young stock is not really in our vocabulary. Sometimes ‘yes’, sometimes ‘no’. It all depends on our own feeling as to what would be the best for the horse in question... To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber