Willy Wijnen with Rexplosion W (Chacco Blue - Harina)

By Sabine Timman
Photography: Sabine Timman, FEI/Taniere, Bibi Bosch

Breeding an Olympic gold medallist is the pinnacle of success, although Willy Wijnen’s name was already known since he topped the WBFSH ranking list as the world’s leading breeder for 2019-2020 – all thanks to one horse: Explosion W. However, Wijnen has already bred and raised multiple showjumping and dressage horses that are performing at the highest levels.

Today, his stable is located in Berlicum, a small village close to ’s-Hertogenbosch, which is already well known for hosting the Indoor Brabant - Dutch Masters event for many years.

Q We all know Willy Wijnen as the breeder of Explosion W, but can you tell us how it all started?
“About forty years ago I travelled all around the country looking for an excellent foal or mare to start breeding horses. In the end I found her with my neighbour, Mart Bekkers. The foal’s mother, Barina (1983/KWPN Sultan - Olgarina x Epigoon), was an amazing horse as she came out of the dam line of Ideaal (Doruto), Firefox (Hanassy), and Dondersteen (Lector). She wasn’t only stunning but showed a nice character too, a lot of blood, and great health. Barina was the last foal out of Olgarina. When I saw Barina she immediately gave me the right feeling. That’s the way the breeding started and also where the story of Explosion began.
At this moment I have four breeding mares and a few recipient mares at home. For me it’s just a hobby. A few years ago, I had my own hydraulic company, but right now I’m retired and spending my days only with fun stuff like family and horses. I have 10 stables, but most of the time the horses are just walking in the field. The stables are more in use for the horses that have been ridden, like Tarina. I will tell you more about her later, and the ponies of my granddaughter.

Q So, the story of Explosion started with Barina, but what happened next?
Barina’s twelfth foal was Uarina (Baloubet du Rouet x Sultan) who is now called Untouchable. She had four foals and three of them are jumping at international level. Her last foal was Explosion W (Chacco Blue x Baloubet du Rouet). In between her foals Uarina was a jumping horse with a lot of talent. Marielle de Veer who also trained Explosion, brought Uarina up to international level. The year Explosion was born through ET she won her first international class at CSI Roggel. Half of her ownership was then sold to Leon Thijssen, and in 2013 she reached 35th place in the WBFSH jumping rankings.

Explosion W jumping to individual Olympic gold with Ben Maher (GBR) – Tokyo 2020

While the other offspring of Uarina were sold, Explosion stayed. He was not the easiest horse – that’s an understatement. Tristan Tucker fell multiple times when he tried to break him to the saddle because Explosion was a really sharp horse and he didn’t except it at all. So, it took quite some time before we could ride him under saddle. Then, following a break in the field, I brought him on foot to Marielle de Veer. She managed to build him up and that went a lot better than the first time. After this the success story started. She was riding a lot of clear rounds with him but I didn’t allow her to go all-in during a competition. For me the education of the horse and relaxation was the most important part... To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber

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