By Jo de Roo
Photography: Jo de Roo
Equina Van Sombeke was the first non-French showjumper to become became champion in France. Via her daughter Ta Belle Van Sombeke, La Belle Van Sombeke is the grandmother of outstanding showjumpers such as Glock’s London (London 2012 OG silver medal), World Cup horse Casimir de la Pomme, Taran de la Pomme, world champion A Pikachu de Muze, Wabelle de Muze, Golden Hawk/ex Figo de Muze, and Dabelle. Equina and La Belle were both bred out of Verina (Hann: Widukind de Lauzelle).
Verina was “A dam that could not be ridden,” said Luc Hofman, founder and owner of studfarm ‘van Sombeke’. “The horses out of this lineage are very sensible and can react very quickly. That’s not always easy, but in the arena it is a great quality.”
Luc Hofman (1938), born and bred in Sombeke, was a teacher. He and his wife, who passed away a few years ago, had five children, Geertrui, Liesbeth, Karlien, Bruno and Veerle. Besides teaching, Hofman had other skills because during his leisure time he was a successful football player and trainer (champion in 1956-1957), as well as a painter. But horses were always especially close to his heart. He was a rider, gave riding lessons, and founded the LRV Waasmunster pony club. Above all, in the world of horses he is well-known as a breeder, with his own-bred products known by the ‘van Sombeke’ suffix. “The reason is obvious,” Hofman said. “The name comes from the village where I live. Do you know the region? It’s very beautiful.”
Luc is a passionate horse lover who, during our interview, told many interesting stories: “After the Great War of 1914-18, my father, Jose-phus, was a war cripple. He was injured and trans-ported to a hos-pital in France. When he re-turned to Bel-gium, he brought a big French book about horses. I was crazy about this book, so crazy that my father once decided to hide it. Afterwards, I searched for the book, but in vain. My parents were members of ‘Davidsfonds’ and received many books. All those books were kept, while the book about horses was disappeared. My parents ran a shop selling everything from butter and barbed wire to lingerie.” At a certain time the street where the shop was located had to be widened, so the Hofman family was expropriated. “We had to clean up everything, including all our books. Then I thought ‘now I am going to find the book about horses’. But, that wasn’t to be,” Hofman declared... To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber
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