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