No fewer than 14 of the 75 competing mounts are Flemish bred, including Vigo d’Arsouilles (pictured), ridden by world champion Philippe Le Jeune of Belgium. Le Jeune describes Vigo as “big and beautiful”. Furthermore, he is “a pillar of the Belgian team”.
Unfortunately, the 600-kilogram stallion was retired from the competition on Monday morning due to a hoof problem. “I would have loved Vigo to have ended his career on a high note,” said Le Jeune. The Belgian team consists of Jos Lansink and Valentina van ’t Heike; Dirk Demeersman and Bufero van ’t Panishof; and Gregory Whatelet and Cadjanine Z. All of them (the horses, that is) were bred in Flanders.
Flemish-bred horses are also playing an important part in the medal efforts of the teams from the United States, Saudi Arabia, Great Britain, Canada, Chile, Ukraine, Brazil, Bermuda and the Netherlands. As Flanders Today went to press, Eric Lamaze, the Canadian champion from the last Olympics, was due to ride Derly Chin de Muze, bred by the worldfamous Joris De Brabander from Sint-Niklaas. De Brabander also owns Vigo and Carambar de Muze, ridden in London by Gerco Schröder of the Netherlands.
Finally, Mylord Carthago, the mount of French rider Penelope Prevost, also traces his lineage back to De Brabander’s stud farm. In fact, Mylord, Vigo and Derly are half brothers, all sired by Nabab De Reve, Belgium’s Horse of the Year in 2002.
“Our show-jumping horses have proved themselves to be a major export product,” Peeters said. “Flanders is becoming a world centre for show jumping. Not only does a major part of the breeding and trade take place in Flanders, but the whole support industry is world-class. It’s not an accident that Eric Lamaze has recently set up in Flanders and that the Saudi Arabian team is being trained by former bronze medal winner Stanny Van Paesschen. I can’t think of a better advertisement for Flanders.”