GERMANY (by Claartje van Andel, Jo de Roo and Adriana van Tilburg) On Saturday evening, December 12, during the CHI Geneva, the WBFSH and Rolex hosted the awards ceremony for the best breeders of sport horses in the Olympic disciplines: Martje and Joop Hanse for Valegro (Charlotte Dujardin – dressage), Willy Taets for Hello Sanctos (Scott Brash – showjumping), and Oliver Lück for Horseware Hale Bob (Ingrid Klimke - eventing).
For Joop and Maartje Hanse from the Netherlands, it was the third consecutive year that they have picked up the leading breeder award. Similarly, it was Willy Taets’ second win, accompanied in Geneva by his daughter Liev. Meanwhile, Rolf Lück was represented by his son, Oliver – all the breeders collecting diplomas from WBFSH president Jan Pedersen, and superb Rolex watches presented by company representative Laurent Delanney.
Valegro (Negro - Maifleur x Gershwin)
KWPN Winning a third WBFSH dressage horse rankings title is a remarkable achievement for Joop and Maartje Hanse, breeders of Valegro, his rider Charlotte Dujardin and those who believed in the horse’s potential in his early years.
In 2001, the Dutch couple from Burgh Haamstede sent their mare, Maifleur, to Ferro son, Negro, and have since used these same bloodlines for several generations. In fact, Negro’s owner, Gertjan van Olst, has had a close relationship with the Hanses, having subsequently purchased Valegro and prepared him for the KWPN stallion show. “In those days the studbook was of the opinion that Negro was old fashioned, so none of my eight Negro sons, including Valegro, were accepted”, Van Olst remembers well. However, British dressage star Carl Hester saw Valegro at the KWPN stallion inspection, decided to buy him, had him gelded, and took him home.
One year later, Valegro was returned to Van Olst with an instruction from Hester to sell him. But destiny intervened when Gertjan’s wife, Anne, rode the gelding herself ahead of him being sold and recognized his remarkable talent. Anne suggested to Hester that he should consider keeping Valegro. Hester agreed, gave the gelding to his rider, Charlotte Dujardin, and one of the world’s greatest ever dressage partnerships was born.
From the beginning Valegro was a star, winning national championships as a four-, five- and six-year-old on his way to a triumphant London 2012 Olympic Games. Following the Games it was rumoured that Valegro would be sold, but his owners, Carl Hester and Roly Luard, subsequently assured the world that Valegro would finish his competition career with Charlotte Dujardin, and also that he had a home for life.