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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. ❤