The Netherlands (by Adriana van Tilburg) Fred van Straaten is a passionate breeder from the Netherlands. This year he has 26 mares in foal, whereas around Europe, in countries such as Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands, the general the trend is that breeders are downsizing their mare herds. Van Straaten has a different opinion about this, and laughs when I ask him if he is swimming against the current.

“The need for horses will only be growing. Sport is developing worldwide. You can couple this back to breeding. This can be noticed already and we hope to go along with it and to show that we have confidence in the future. But, yes, many breeders are downsizing. I was last year in France and there was a breeder with 10 broodmares and not one was in foal. You also see that riders and horse dealers are themselves starting to breed. These free market processes were also happening in the early eighties.”

The base for his current sport horse breeding operation was created in the late sixties by van Straaten senior with the purchase of the Gelderland mare Isabelle. This daughter of Uron, coming from the Moukje mareline, was used in both sport and breeding at ‘the Hazelhorst’ and is one of the cornerstones of success. From Isabelle’s offspring we know, among others, the successful KWPN stallion Fair Play (Ulft). Also, famous international jumpers Andretti S (Corland) and Typhoon S (Calvados) can be traced back to Isabelle. Hazelhorst has become a family business where Frieda, Fred, Isabelle, Fred Jnr and Josta all have important roles to play...

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