The breeders of three of the world’s leading sport horses were honoured at a ceremony in Switzerland at the weekend, during the CHI Geneva Show.
Prizes were awarded by The World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses to honour and celebrate the leading breeders, in cooperation with their sponsor, Rolex.
Scott Brash’s Hello Sanctos won the jumping prize for the second year for breeder Willy Taets of Belgium.
Willy Taets was born among horses. August, his father, was a farmer and horse trader. In 1961 Willy married Mariette de Meyer and took over his mother-in-law’s farm, starting with 11 cows and buying a draught-horse mare. Like many Belgian farmers, Taets bred a few horses, but suffered some bad luck with his draught mare died of colic 10 days after giving birth. So Taets bought a tractor and more cows. However, as his farm expanded, he started breeding showjumpers.
“During the extremely hot summer of 1976, Clement Vereecke sold a white Lipizzaner dam to me. He’d bought her from the horse market in Molenbeek. Out of this mare I bred several foals, including Dina (by Guignolet) who became one of my foundation mares,” he said.
Of his breeding programme, Taets said: “I prefer to use stallions that have performed for a long time at a high level. But for cost reasons I used to choose young stallions, on the condition that one or, preferably, both parents were successful in showjumping.”
He also attaches great value to the dam line: “The importance of the dam line is very great. Paul Schockemöhle once told me, ‘the better the origins, the greater the chance to breed a good foal’.”
Born in 2002 Sanctos van het Gravenhof (aka Hello Sanctos) is by Quasimodo vd Molendreef (by Heartbreaker), who performed at international 1.4m to 1.5m level partnered with David Jobertie and, later, with Mexican international Jaime Azcarraga.
Hello Sanctos’s dam is Nasia van het Gravenhof (by Nabab de Rêve out of Balin). Taets bought Balin in 1978 when she was five, and competed with her in several eventing competitions while also using her as a broodmare. Her most famous daughters are Nasia, Ocelot and Pandora van het Gravenhof and, today, Nasia is being used in the breeding programme of Lieve Taets, Willy’s daughter.
According to a former owner of Hello Sanctos, Jean-Luc de Maeyer: “We had Sanctos at our stable when he was four years old. He was very easy and quiet to ride and yes, even a little bit lazy, but once he was in the arena he changed into a great worker. His trumps are his mentality, prudence and zest for work. The prudence is a quality that he inherited from his sire, the performance blood and scope from his dam”.
As a member of the British showjumping team, Hello Sanctos and Scott Brash (GBR) won team gold and fifth place individually at the London 2012 Olympic Games, and one year later at the European championships in Herning (DEN) again claimed team gold, plus an individual bronze medal.
In September 2015, Hello Sanctos wrote himself into the history books when he carried Scott Brash to victory in the CP International Grand Prix presented by Rolex at Spruce Meadows, Calgary, and in so doing became the first winners of the Rolex Grand Slam, following their victories in Geneva (December 2014) and Aachen (May 2015).
According to Brash, “Winning one of the equestrian Majors was an incredible achievement, to win two was a dream come true, but to go on and complete the Rolex Grand Slam of showjumping is beyond belief. I have a very special horse. Sanctos is a horse of a lifetime, he’s got the mind of a human.”
Back to Latest Equine News