Location: CHIO Rotterdam
Subject: Nicola Philippaerts
Location: Stables of Ludo Philippaerts
Subject: Stallion of Niels Bruynseels; Castelino Van de Helle
Entry in the Nations Cup for Aachen and Olympic candidate for London 2012
Well of of course my morning started with a Lait Russe (the best translation for a Latte here…. less strong then a Cafe au Lait). La Pain Quotidien is one of my favorite places to eat here in Brussels (Eric Lamaze’s also) and so I tend to make a visit to this lovely cafe often.
Once I was armed with my necessary caffeine, I was off to Ludo Philippaerts’ beautiful stable in Meeuwen-Gruitrode.
There was lots going on at Ludo’s today, what with Aachen coming up. All riders have to be on the showgrounds for the beginning of next week, as the vet check is on Monday and the show starts on Tuesday… so its a long week for these guys!! I was pleasantly surprised to see Niels, Pieter and Dirk there when I drove up the drive way. The three Belgian riders were training at Ludo’s today to prepare for Aachen. Everyone looked very focused but confident.
I was able to have a great chat with Olivier in the stables’ main office, amongst the dozens of trophies and awards the Philippaerts’ have accumulated over the years. Many of these, of course, being from Ludo, who has had an amazing career in the sport of show jumping and is somewhat of a household name here in Europe.
His son, Olivier, is such a down to earth guy and I’m really looking forward to composing my piece on the twins; Nicola and Oliver Philippaerts. We chatted about his spot on the Belgian Team for the Nations Cup next week in Aachen and what it’s been like growing up being one half of a twin, as well as the son of legendary Belgian Olympian, Ludo Phillipaerts.
Philippe Guerdat arrived shortly after me for a coffee with Ludo and the other riders. I’m sure they have lots to discuss, with an important Nations Cup event next week in Aachen for Team Belgium. Philippe also had brought a collection of new Sponsored jackets from Kingsland for the boys to all try on. One of the great perks of the job, lots of free and fashionable clothing to sport at the horse shows. The Kingsland jackets were adorned with Belgian Team colors and the boys all seemed very happy with their new gear.
I passed Nicola on the road, as he was heading to Bonheiden this morning to get prepared for a week of competition there. I’m looking forward to catching up with him in Bonheiden and cheer him on in the big classes.
All in all it was a good day enjoying all the action Chez Philippaerts. Now, I’m back in Brussels, about to join Frederick De Backer to plan our up-coming interviews with Horse-Live and possible opportunities for London in a month. We are down to the final 4 weeks before the events commence in London and there will be a lot of action to come before “the” big event.
We’re off to enjoy the cuisine at one of my favorite local restaurants here in Grimbergen, Phoenixhof, which is a casual, unpretentious place to enjoy lunch or dinner outside with friends. It’s located right next to the main church in Grimbergen, so you get to enjoy the church bells every hour-on-the-hour.
I’ll be off to Bonheiden tomorrow to catch up with the girls and check out the action, ringside. I will make a stop at the stables first-thing in the morning to ride a few for Marc, before enjoying the rest of the day at the show, close to Antwerp.
I will be sure to keep you updated on my plans through out the week. Keep posted on my blog, lots of cool articles to come with a debut of a new section this week…….
1. Steve Guerdat: with Nino des Buisssonnets, Nasa or Carpalo,
2. Clarissa Crotta: with West Side van Meerputhoeve
3. Werner Muff: with Kiamon
4. Pius Schwizer: with Carlina or Verdi
5. Paul Estermann: with Castlefield Eclipse as reserve rider
BOST, Roger Yves
RAYMAKERS JR, Piet
VLEUTEN, Maikel van der
ECKERMANN, Henrik von
For more details on horses declared; check out http://www.hippobase.com/EventInfo/Entries/CompetitorHorse.aspx?EventID=752&EntryGroupIDs=CSIO
“the little engine that could”
Calumet is a great reference to one of the reasons why I love this sport so much. This mare came to Maurice Van Roosbroeck (current Belgian Champion) in March as a favor to a friend. She was overweight with little muscle and Catherine Van Roosbroeck, Maurice’s daughter, was less then enthusiastic at the prospect of working this hot mare into fitness. She had never done anything more then 1.25m classes at Regional shows and the goal was to sell her. They showed her to a few clients but no one seemed overly interested. The little bay was tense and hot, with more then enough blood for two horses, yet Maurice saw something that intrigued him. He decided to stop showing her to potential clients and work from the ground up with the mare to gain a real understanding of the horse and her quality. Observing her movement, Maurice noticed how much power the mare could have behind. It is actually no surprise, he says, because “if you look at the back of her she looks like a Quarter horse.”
Funnily enough, Maurice owned the mother of this mare, who had just as much blood as her daughter. He sold her to his friend, Michelle Smismans, who then bred her. Now, her daughter, has found her way back to the Van Roosbroeck stable, just outside Antwerp. Once Calumet was fit enough to enter in some shows, Maurice loaded her into the truck along with his other top horses and debuted her at Lummen CSI International. It was a bit fuzzy to start, but what was very clear, was this mare had scope. She learned from her mistakes, and learned fast. After a promising debut in Lummen, Maurice elected to buy the mare outright.
Now that he owned the mare 100%, it was onto the CSI5* in St. Gallen, Switzerland, where the 3rd leg of the FEI Nations Cup would be held. Maurice was 5th rider on the Belgian Nations Cup team and thought this top international show might be an interesting first experience for the bold little mare. Now, if you have ever been to St. Gallen CSI5*, you will know, the ring is somewhat intimidating. It is very large and many, much more experienced horses take a step back the first time they enter. But not Calumet, she walked into the ring without blinking, jumping double clean in the 1.40 International class on Saturday as if she had been doing it all her life. Everyone was quite impressed and the mare started to generate a bit of a buzzzzz.
It was after St. Gallen, in Aalst, Belgium where I was first able to watch the mare with my own eyes. Each day, she jumped brave and bold and I instantly fell in love with her. She walked into the BMW Grand Prix Gold CSI3* 1.50m at Aalst International with no hesitation and jumped double clean. Maurice and Calumet earned 4th place on that Sunday just under Dirk Demeersman (BEL), Philippe Le Jeune (BEL) and John Clee (GBR). Not bad for a little mare who had never done more then regional 1.25 classes, only months ago. After that, it was onto Rotterdam, another rather daunting stage for such an inexperienced mare, but I can tell you, there isn’t much that phases Calumet.
She jumped a fantastic clear round on Sunday in the Rabobank Championship of Rotterdam Prix. It was a big 1.55m with a tall, airy 1.60-1.65m Joker fence at the end. Calumet jumped clean and easy, indeed confirming my thoughts; that we can expect great things from this little bay.
And it seems I am not the only one who thinks so, Calumet has caused quite a stir ringside these last few months and Maurice confirms that the feeling is pretty impressive. “It feels like she can jump anything” says the current Belgian Champion.
She is the little engine that could.
It will be interesting to see just how high this bird can fly. She sure is off to an impressive start. I will be sure to keep an eye on Calumet through out the summer and update everyone on her progress.
Is ridden for: Belgium
Owned by: Maurice Van Roosbroeck (BEL)
Previous Owner/Rider: Michelle Smismans/ Jelle Limourg
Ridden By: Maurice Van Roosbroeck (BEL)
Stable name: Calumet
Breeding: Joyeux Ardent
Age: 2001 (11 years old)
Best achievement so far: 4th place CSI3* Aalst International Grand Prix 1.50m
Best moment this year: 4th place in International 1.40 competition St. Gallen CSI5* only weeks after competing at that height for the first time
Personality: sweet nature with lots of blood