Europe Adventure Part 3: Belgium farm visits

After a couple days in Paris and a day of eating and drinking around Brussels, our new Belgian friend Baudouin of Haras des Concessions picked us up on Friday morning to take us around to see some horses. He was accompanied by his adorable little terrier Nina, who I’m pretty sure is the cutest dog in all of Europe.

belly rubs for my backseat companion

Our first stop was Stal de Muze, home of many world class horses including the renowned show jumping stallion Nabab de Reve (WEG bronze medalist in 2002 and sire of Vigo – WEG gold medalist in 2012) who is now 25 and still looking great.

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We got a quick tour around the barn, looking at all of Joris’ lovely horses. We saw some really big name bloodlines, from half siblings to Hickstead to foals out of Butterfly Flip. If you’re a show jumping groupie, this place is your heaven. The facilities were also, as you can imagine, world class.

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half brother to Hickstead (same dam)

 

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Looking in on the yearlings

 

yearling out of Butterfly Flip

I also found it interesting that he had some young eventers there by wb stallions out of full tb dams – a cross that tends to be looked-down-upon in the US. Granted, the dam was an international level eventer herself, not just a random TB.

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Grand Prix stallion Elvis ter Putte

 

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Carrots in bulk, anyone?

After Stal de Muze we headed to the barn of Lara de Liedekerke and her husband Kai Steffen Meier, both 4* eventers. Lara is only 26 and has already represented Belgium at two WEG’s. Pretty crazy. Their barn is by far the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. First you pull up past the castle-like house and see this view when you park:

Then you actually go inside the barn and your jaw just drops.

Then you start walking around and looking at the horses, and your mouth pretty much just stays open in amazement the entire time. The sheer number of top quality horses in this barn is pretty incredible, and from all kinds of bloodlines: Jaguar Mail, Mighty Magic, Diarado, Orlando, etc etc. Nothing that has made it to this place got there by accident. Even the young horses are accomplished, many of whom had top 5 or top 10 placings at young horse championships under their girths already.

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6yo stallion by Mighty Magic

 

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Ducati Van Den Overdam, Lara’s WEG partner

 

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Baudouin sitting on his Jaguar Mail filly (who refused to get up from her nap) while Nina begs for attention

 

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when the Jaguar Mail filly finally DID get up to say hi, she was very sweet

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Lara and Kai were both very nice, taking us around and showing us the horses, including a young Mighty Magic gelding that Kai has for sale. This is an important moment, because this is where I really fell hard in love with Mighty Magic and decided I have to have one.

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Max, 4yo gelding by Mighty Magic

 

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more Max

 

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For real, I need one.

The two MM offspring they had were quite similar looking, and both seemed really good minded. Definitely my type of horse.

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Lara ready to hack out

After we left Lara’s place we headed out to see more of Baudouin’s horses. He breeds mostly eventers and has a lot of TB and Anglo Arab (real Anglo Arab, not tb x arab crosses) blood in his stock. As an eventer, chatting with him and racking his brain was really interesting. He’s also seen so many young horses by all the popular eventing stallions that he’s a wealth of knowledge about what crosses work well. I may or may not have shown him a few thousand pictures and made him pick which of my mares would be best for Mighty Magic.

one of Baudouin’s young AA mares. She was a character.

Then we headed to another of Baudouin’s barns to see some brand spanking new babies that he had foaled out for a client – these were straight Arabian show foals, apparently worth ridiculous sums of money. It was fun to play with the babies a bit.

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Never turn your back on an Arab

 

this happens

Then we headed to the last stop of the day – the barn of young event rider Julia Schmitz. We saw yet another Mighty Magic, this time a 4yo stallion owned by Baudouin out of one of his AA mares. I loved him too. The consistency across the board in these offspring is pretty incredible.

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Figaro des Concessions, 4yo stallion by Mighty Magic out of Daguet de Terlong AA

 

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more Figaro

 

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This is Sinhus, a gelding by Sunlight xx out of a Hanoverian mare

 

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He had the most beautiful expression

This was, for me, the best day of the trip. I loved being able to see all the different horses and so many different bloodlines all at once. It’s tough to get that kind of experience here in the US, with how spread out we are geographically. We also got the insider’s look on how they raise and keep their young horses – also really interesting. Some Americans would just die at the mere sight of the mud or the thought of communal stalls for babies. And of course, spending the day driving around the southern Belgian countryside was a treat in and of itself. What a beautiful place… I totally could have stayed forever. And yes, I’m looking into purchasing a dose of Mighty Magic frozen semen to use for Sadie. We’ll see what happens. 😉

Tomorrow – on to the stallion show!

35 thoughts on “Europe Adventure Part 3: Belgium farm visits

  1. These pictures are awesome! I don’t really know anything about bloodlines (shame), but all of the horses are gorgeous. And I agree, I think it’s super interesting that they use communal stalls for babies but I think it makes sense. Plus, cute babies FTW. That barn though, OMG INSANELY AMAZING 🙂

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  2. Love all these pictures! What a great opportunity to see those amazing old farms. The Europeans really have this sporthorse breeding down… we have a lot of catching up to do.

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  3. I think you should have brought Max home too. Surely you had room in your luggage!? 🙂

    glad you had such a good time and wow that is a lot of nice horseflesh to look at!

    And i would have stolen the dog if not the horse 🙂

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  4. The horseworld in Europe is soooo different. I worked at an event yard in Ireland and every single horse was International quality. I would be happy with ANY of the horses I saw there…seems similar here! Have never seen MM, but looking to maybe breed Penny in the future, so this has given me some ideas 🙂

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        1. most of the feedback i got had to do with gaits, jumping style, rideability, and general temperament. Like it was recommended to me to only use a mare with very good front end technique o/f with Jaguar Mail, etc.

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  5. Agree with T Myers, the horse world in Europe is VERY different. From what I understand, it’s partly the cost involved and partly the regulations. Might as well breed quality. It’s no wonder that many of the best US horses are imported. 😦

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    1. I think it’s a lot easier to be an educated breeder there too. They are right in the hub of it and can see tons of offspring and stallions and mares with their own two eyes. Here we’re spread so far apart geographically that it’s hard to get your eyes on lots of breeding stock and develop an eye, much less get a really good idea of what certain lines produce. I learned more in 3 days there than I have in years and years here. It’s just impossible to get that kind of knowledge when you don’t get to see much breeding stock in person, or when all the horses you see are “unknown” as far as breeding. There they list the breeding or announce it at shows for every horse… can you imagine trying to do that here? Most people don’t even know or care.

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  6. I am UNBELIEVABLY jealous of you right now. Those old brick barns are pretty much my favourite thing ever. And the horses! You met some amazing stallions. I definitely agree with you that all of those Mighty Magic babies are to die for and now I also want one. What cuties ❤ and good personalities! Sounds like you had an incredible day.

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  7. what a trip – i’m so glad you had a great time – and thanks for sharing all the knowledge and pictures! the prospect of getting an MM dose for Sadie is SUPER exciting too, hopefully it works out!!! 🙂

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