Tuesday, April 8

AES scores with full fledged stallion grading in Schijndel

Friday April 4 the AES grading in Schijndel was scheduled in Riding School De Molenheide. Kees Van Den Oetelaar showed to be a successful new leader for the studbook. He left the judges’ table and moved to the secretary table to organize things. His efforts were highly respected by the public. Not less than fifty stallions were presented. The champions Black Bird and Gletsjer helped to raise the studbook to a higher level.

‘The world was not created in one day’, Van Den Oetelaar said at the day of the gradings in Schijndel. ‘We’re happy with the progession we made, but there is still a long way to go. It costs a lot of money to reorganize things. We want to give the studbook a new image. We’re modernizing and reorganizing.  We’re looking for sponsors who want to support us in all of this. We already found pancake producer Jan Vink of Abra-Ca-Debora willing to pay fifty percent of the printing cost of our new designed passports. And in the future we want to find sponsors to help us organize competitions for young AES horses.’

AES has great ambitions. Also the stallion gradings is in progression. It’s still a small-scale event, but they thought about all the details. They used a new ring, in which the horses jumped loose and two new judges entered the inspection team. Bernard Demets and Maikel Van der Vleuten debuted and both were enthusiast about the quality. Bernard Demets: ‘I followed all of the approvals in Europe and I remarked that AES has just the same quality as any other studbook.’ Maikel Van der Vleuten replaced his father Eric for the first time and felt comfortable judging aswell. ‘I don’t look so much at the pedigree. I just like a horse that can jump, no matter which pedigree it has. And those jumpers I really remarked today.

Jumping champion Black Bird, brother of Orient Express
Of the 28 stallions which were licensed, Black Bird (Street Hassle) appeared to be the most complete jumper of all. The French bred horse showed a lot of balance, great canter, scope and a good technique. Also his bloodline is top, as he’s a grandson of Quickstar out of the same mother as Orient Express (Quickstar), the third placed horse in the GP of Aachen last year. Their mother is also the half sister to the stallion Dollar de la Pierre. Owner Joop Aaldering also wants to mention the other owners of this horse, Mr. Van De Lageweg and Mr. Sinnack. ‘I bought Black Bird in France as a foal. The breeder Mr. Boureau was the best breeder of France that year. By him I also bought Quick Study, Street Hassle and Hors La Loi. He also bred Orient Express.’ Black Bird will in the future listen to the name Gare du Nord. He is also invited to do the saddle testing of KWPN in the end of the year, but thanks to his AES approval, he will already breed this year. Joop Aaldering: ‘I already had several requests from mare owners, so AES gives me this perfect solution.’

Dressage champion not for sale
Dressage rider Wilma Van der Steen is the owner of the new crowned dressage champion Gletsjer, a nice and modern bay horse with elegant moves. The owner doesn’t have a stud, so she’s still not sure what will happen to her horse in the future. ‘I want to sell him because I don’t have a stud. Horses are not my job. I just ride dressage until intermediaire level. I do it for pleasure, but this horse is capable to do more.’ Wilma bought the horse as a foal.  He’s always had the looks from when he was born.

Kees Van Den Oetelaar is super happy with the new champions and also with the average quality at this gradings. ‘A few years ago at AES you sometimes saw simple or not correct horses, but those we didn’t see any more today. We were very delighted with the lot of dressage horses. We could license and approve ten of them. In the past we often had not enough dressage blood on the list.

Stallionneer Wim Schoukens brought none of his own stallions to Schijndel, but had one horse to present for a friend of his: ‘I recommend AES to all of my friends. Here you get the chance that you deserve and they give you enough time to prove it afterwards. My stallion Gotthardsen was approved for AES as a four year old. We didn’t need to do any obliged stallion competition or testing, so we gave our horse all the time he needed to grow out. When he was six, he was still green. The other approved stallions already jumped around like a perfect schooled horse. But a few years later my horse jumped Aachen and all of the others were gone. Who’s right then?’

Gaetan Stalpaert got the four year old stallion Don Darco de Bornival approved. He has chosen the AES because he doesn’t want to have any further obligations afterwards : ‘My horse will only start to jump as soon as the fences get higher. Until then I don’t want to exaggerate. I will not let him breed. I just wanted him to be licensed because that means extra value, I think.’

Adrie Jespers, the business partner of Wiebke Van De Lageweg and a neighbour of the riding place Molenheide in Schijndel, comes to watch every year. ‘I often remark interesting horses here! About the setting I can just say that you feel something is really changing at AES.’

Another stallion presenter came with a horse, previously not approved in another studbook. ‘I hope they take him here. Then I can do the stallion competition next year and then the judges that disapproved him will hopefully see that they made a huge mistake.’ Other stallion owners stated they chose AES because the public gradings here are much cheaper.

Rik Van Miert of WBFSH: ‘No hesitations anymore’
Kees Van Den Oetelaar had to fix many things when he became the new AES director last year. Many illegalities had to be changed. That’s what WBFSH sub director Rik Van Miert said. The Belgian official came from Belgium to attend the gradings in Schijndel: ‘We had a lot of decent conversations with the new team of AES. We made clear that something had to change and when seeing the way how this grading is organized now, I really feel like they have understood our wishes. I think this is not the most eyecatching stallion approval, but horses get  the time to be decently presented to the judges. There is a good atmosphere and I think some horses show nice quality. Nothing makes me believe AES is still working as it did before. They are self-conscious and listen to what we ask.’