Epic European Adventure Part 7: Living Legends

It’s possible that I strongly considered just staying in Germany and becoming an illegal immigrant. I really felt at home there. The country is absolutely beautiful, the people were so welcoming, the food was awesome, and honestly there just wasn’t anything about it that I didn’t love. Despite the busy schedule, our time there was the most relaxing, most enjoyable, and most peaceful. I could have stayed for a lot longer in that little farmhouse in the middle of nowhere.

img_1034
Backroads and rainbows in rural Germany

Alas, by the time Monday morning rolled around, it was time to start making our way back to Brussels toward the airport. We weren’t quite done with Fabulous Horse Stuff In Germany yet though, because thanks to a few pulled strings we were able to get an appointment at Schockemohle to see their stallions. The name might not mean much to non breeding geeks, but you may have heard of a few of the stallions they have… Sandro Hit, Balou du Rouet, Kannan, Diarado… just to name a few. Some of the best, most successful stallions in the world for both dressage and showjumping.

img_1121
Michelle grabbing a coffee in the reception area at the barn entrance
img_1114
part of the stallion barn, featuring several treadmills

We got up early to make the drive north from Ostbevern to Muhlen, pulling into the stables around 9:15. One of the people in the breeding office (I wish I had taken more pictures of this farm, it was insane) took us around through the stallion barn, letting us get an up close and personal look at all of the stallions we were interested in. Yeah, I stood there patting Sandro freaking Hit on a run of the mill Monday morning. Surreal.

sandrohit
What up, Sandro Hit?
img_1117
24 years old and still looking pretty good (albeit bored)

We made our way around and saw pretty much all the stallions that were at the farm at the time. Our main objective for the visit was to see Diarado (Michelle has 2 mares in foal to him) and Balou, both of whom were there. It’s funny… Diarado and Sandro Hit are probably two of the best producers in the world, but they’re also some of the most unassuming looking stallions we saw the whole time. Sandro Hit is very refined, to the point where he looks like a thoroughbred. There’s nothing about him outwardly that would indicate what a renowned sire he’s been, and his temperament is a bit “special”.

Diarado is absolutely beautiful, really one of the most perfectly put together horses I’ve seen, but smaller and more compact and more refined, not the big stereotypical “look at me” warmblood stallion presence that you often see. He almost had a bit of a pony-esque look to him.

img_1103
Foodz for Diarado?
img_1105
I don’t think this lady has foodz, only craziez…

He seemed pretty bored with us in general. His son Diatendro was in the stall next to him and I swear was a least a hand bigger and a lot wider. Goes to show that you can’t always judge a book (or a stallion) by it’s cover, because of all of the horses we saw go at Bucha all week, the Diarado offspring stood out to me head and shoulders above the rest. They varied a bit in size and type (although none were as small as he is) but they were all beautiful and they could all JUMP and they all seemed very sensible and rideable. He’s a fantastic and very consistent producer. I liked Diarado before, but I came home as a Diarado SUPERFAN.

img_1106
Casallco wanted just a little nibble
img_1112
Balou du Rouet – didn’t like him as much as I was expecting

After we were done meeting everyone at Schockemohle we were back in the car en route to Belgium. But instead of heading straight to Brussels to tuck into the hotel for our last night, we made a small detour by Euro Horse. What is Euro Horse? Oh ya know, just the home of Olympic stallion Emerald.

You guys know Presto’s BFF Liam, sired by Emerald, because you’ve seen him so much on this blog. Michelle is a huge Emerald fangirl (and rightfully so, really, the horse is incredible) and I thought for sure she might hyperventilate before we got there. His owners were SO incredibly nice and welcoming, and had one of the grooms pull Emerald out of his stall for us so we could give him some scratches and get a closer look at him.

img_1130
Michelle falling hopelessly in love
img_1140
Emerald strongly considering a wee love bite

If you want a horse with presence, Emerald has it in spades. He knows he’s handsome, and he knows he’s special. He’s big, he’s eyecatching, he walks with a swagger, and is just so captivating to look at. He’s also very cheeky, oozing character, and always waiting for the opportune moment to try to sneak in a little “love bite”. He stood outside behind the barn while we took pictures and talked about him, clearly enjoying being the center of attention. That is a pretty special horse right there. It’s also incredible just how similar he and Liam are.

img_1136

Funnily enough, Emerald and Diarado are by the same sire, yet just about as polar opposite in type as two horses can be. Mare lines shining through, y’all.

After I peeled Michelle off of Emerald, we got back in the car and headed to Brussels. Even thought the horse part of our trip was now over, we still had one more night to be tourists, and we were gonna do it up proper. Our hotel room was literally IN the Grand Place, with our window opening out into it. You really can’t beat an iconic view like that. Once we’d gotten settled in and did some social media updates (thank you, glorious wifi) we went down the street to a restaurant to do some people watching while we had some drinks, frites, and a sausage and cheese plate. People-watching at the Grand Place is pretty great. Never seen so many selfies happening all at once in my life.

img_1145
The view from our window

Once we were properly fed we wandered around the area a bit, taking in some sights and hitting up some of the super touristy yet still really amazing shops. Mostly chocolate ones, because when in Brussels. We grabbed a waffle with nutella to eat as we strolled, bought some souvenirs, and then finally called it a night. Unfortunately we had to be up early to get to the airport.

img_1143

It was a quick trip, yet we managed to cram a whole lot of stuff in. We met so many great people, saw an endless supply of fantastic horses, got some serious education, and even had the opportunity to pat a few living legends. Not bad for a week. Yet even though we did so much, it feels like there was still a whole lot left to do and see. Until we meet again, Europe. ❤

14 thoughts on “Epic European Adventure Part 7: Living Legends

  1. 1. I’m obsessed with Diarado’s little pony face. Oh my gosh he’s the cutest. Feverishly tracking down his offspring so I can fangirl more.
    2. I got to see Emerald win the Longine at WIHS two years ago, and HOLY CRAP THAT HIND END. He was the highlight of the show for me, for sure. Obviously every horse in that ring could jump like a maniac, but he just stood out in a totally different class of animal.

    Like

  2. Oh man, Diarado is adorable! Good brains make them that much more attractive too… kind of like humans I suppose?
    Emerald is definitely a stunner – you can see that attitude come through in the photos.

    Like

  3. Not a huge chestnut fan, but Emerald, swoon. Diarado is adorable. Thanks for taking us along vicariously, now I have another bucket list location once kids are older.

    Like

  4. SO cool that you got to meet such incredible and influential stallions! As a jumper rider , I am SO in love with Emerald! Just out of curiosity, what about Balou du Rouet did you not like? Thought about breeding my mare to a Balou du Rouet son this year, but ended up choosing a different stallion.

    Like

    1. His type was a lot different from what I was expecting. He’s thicker/heavier and shorter coupled and blockier, almost looks Irish. Not an elegant horse. They had some comments about rideability and sensitivity, too.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s