Life of Valegro – What really happened – KWPN stallion show pt2


The issue when media have bought into a stallion show is that they won’t tell the truth about what really happened, so that they can stay friends with everyone.

Ever since Saturday I’ve been reading several news posts about the KWPN life of Valegro show, not one being really honest about what went down. Luckily for me, I have not paid anyone or am paid by anyone, so I can write whatever I want (such a rebellion).

Before you read further, please don’t get me wrong, seeing Valegro dance trough the arena was an amazing view, but I felt  I had to walk ten miles to get there.

Charlotte Dujardin – Valegro
As I wrote yesterday, the Life of Valegro show was a part of the KWPN stallion show. The first part after the auction was a u25 Grand Prix dressage freestyle to music, thereafter the actual Valegro show would start. Unfortunately due to the auction running late the freestyle started two hours late. two hours. I mean, how do you manage to mess up the planning that badly? Even Justin Bieber aint that late.

However moving on, the Grand Prix was ridden by 4 dutch riders : Denise Nekeman, Anne Meulendijks, Jill Huijbregts and Maxime van der Vlist. I don’t know if it was because they had been warming up for too long, but in my opinion none of them truly blew my mind nor the others sitting around me. Anne and Jill definitely rode the most friendly and harmonious. Anne unfortunately got disqualified, but as I sat on the other side of the arena when it happened I don’t know why and Jill’s horse was extremely spooky due to the huge arena with a lot of noise. She explained later in her own vlog that she saw this as a training and then I totally see why she rode the way she did. It was nice to see how she continuously tried to make the happening a nice one for her horse. Denise rode her horse so tense that when she asked  the horse to release the neck, it couldn’t….

Jill Huijbregts – Events Zanmacho Z
Denise Nekeman – Jill Huijbregts – Maxime van der Vlist
After the Freestyle a 18 year old dutch dressage rider did a freestyle to music. Didn’t really see the added value of this, but it was ok to watch. After her it was finally time for the actual Valegro show to begin. It started off with 15 min of Safri Duo music before a man dressed in white started telling the story of Valegro. From when he was born until today. It quickly became quite apparent that the show was written by a non-horse-person. Certain parts where so slow and dull that people around me continuously picked up their phone to surf instead. We – for example – got treated to look at a picture of the stallion Negro for 10 min or a random school stable showing of their horses for 15 minutes. After x amount of dancers, singers and even drummers people were becoming so impatient that you could feel the frustration of the people. They didnt came for a Circus de soleil show, they came for Valegro and for about 1.5 hour he was nowhere to be found.


Because the show dragged out so extremely, people started to shout, boo-ing, and a big amount of people even started leaving. Some had to leave as it was becoming so late that those who came with public transportation had to catch the last bus while others got to annoyed by the show. When the last performer came and started singing opera you could hear the whole arena sigh and not one person clapped when it was done. Besides seeing the foals run and the showcase of different Negro offsprings, there weren’t much to scream hurray about.

But then finally, after what felt like two hours waiting at the doctors office he finally came. Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro rode a freestyle to music which really showed off his spectacular movements. I must say that seeing him on tv doesn’t compare at all to how it is seeing him in real life. However, as Carl Hester enters the arena he says  “We were meant to give a masterclass, but because the show is so late we had to cancel it”. Most people’s mouth fell open. There we had sat, looking at dancers and whatnot instead of a masterclass by Carl Hester – Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro. As they stood on the center line, the arena slowly became empty behind them.

Charlotte Dujardin – Valegro

Charlotte Dujardin – Valegro
Most of the media have written about how amazing Valegro was. And yes, he truly was amazing. However, they’ve forgotten to mention how poorly put together the show was. Some of the music was stolen directly from youtube. Which in my opinion is extremely unprofessional. I truly felt Valegro deserved more. The evening ended for me seeing Valegro walk out the door with a very agitated Allan Davis by his side, probably thinking the horse had been warmed up for too long.

Allan Davis – Valegro
I know I’ll probably be called a whiner for putting up this post, but the media is not portraying the full truth about this show. There were times I could only laugh at what was happening while people around me were getting angrier and angrier. Maybe its because I’ve been to so many shows that I expect more then the regular person. I just think that when you plan a show like this for months, being on time and use of proper music is the least you can do for the people. People don’t want 5 min of Valegro in a 1.5 hour show. They want more.


KWPN Stallion show PT1


What do you do when all your girlfriend’s are to busy living life and you got no one to go to the stallion show with? You bring your boyfriend.

So last Saturday we went to the winter version of the KWPN stallion show. For those that have never been, it’s the show where they select the stallions they want to take on in their stud program from the 3 year old KWPN stallions. It goes on from Thursday till Saturday with stallion approval, clinics, auctions, shows and so forth. Its held at a huge conference center called Brabanthallen in the south of the Netherlands.


As the stallion approval took up most of the day and we mainly wanted to go for the Valegro goodbye show, we decided to go a bit later in the day. As we were walking in, they were selecting the last stallions to move on to the next round of the approval for the studbook. I had never been to such a show and was surprised at how close you got to the stallions. I truly wish I could take one with me home, but yeah, what would I do with a 3 year old not broken in stallion?


Joop TC – (Ravel x Krack C)


Jureno – Negro x Johnson (top mover of that specific round), He was so calm while waiting.


After checking out the stallions for a while, it felt a bit repetitive as there were so many of them that we decided to check out the rest of the area. There were loads of shops, but as I didn’t really need anything and none of the brands I like had a stand I ended up not buying anything.


By accident wondering around we ended up at the stalling area for all the stallions and were able to take a closer look at many of them, like for example the more well known ones like Jetlag, Journalist and Jerez(which got sold for 160.000 euro later in the day). I stupidly happy said to my boyfriend that they were all only 168cm tall, so that they would also fit me. Later realising that they are all 3 years old and will grow a lot still. haha. Someone need to come up with a growth serum for human beings so that I can get taller.

Standing in one corner was a stallion called Jack Sparrow BF which I completely fell in love with. He had such gentle eyes and wanted to cuddle the minute I stepped close to his box. When he came for sale in the auction I almost lifted my hand to bid, but at the end he ended up going for 30 000 euro, which I unfortunately do not have on my bank account.


Jack Sparrow BF – (Millenium x Faustinus)


After wondering around we went back to the large arena to check out the auction. Most of the horses that doesn’t get approved for the studbook ended up at that auction. I thought that most of them would go for a lot of money, but some even went for as “little” as 15.000 euro. Which in my eyes is little considering the top dog got sold for 160.000 euro. It was really interesting to see how people were bidding more based on blood then actual movements. Fun fact is that Valegro went to the same show when he was young, but didn’t get approved. However instead of placing him in the auction, the breeder Van Olst sold him to Carl Hester for 6000 euro. In other words its possible for us all to end up with an olympic wonder if we’re lucky.


Jerez – (Vivaldi x Ferro)

The rest of the day was spent at the Valegro goodbye show, but as this post is getting to long I will write a post about that tomorrow. I must say I found it really interesting to check out all the different stallions. Truly enjoyed seeing so many beautiful creatures and I think even the boyfriend found it interesting. I realised how much I still have to learn about bloodlines and so forth though, time for someone to sit down and study again.

Van Olst, which is one of the top breeders in the Netherlands are continuously looking for people to work at their breeding stable. So if you either like to ride young horses or being a groom, you should check out some of their job openings here.


Sports mind

I must admit that I almost shed a tear the other day when I saw Charlotte Dujardin do her parade round on Valegro for the last time. He has been such an ambassador for the sport for a long time, and somewhere a long the lines it feels good that for once they don’t go for the money and sell him. Big thumbs up to Carl for that.

I have never been a person that looks up to artists or famous people. I’ve always looked up to people with strong minds that does things differently. For me Charlotte Dujardin is one of those people. She’s definitely have had more training than most of us, but the fact that she rides into the Olympia arena cool as a cucumber  and does her thing just show how strong she is mind wise. Most of us would be destroyed by nerves even if we say we wouldn’t be.

I’ve always had this insane need to win. When we had gym at school I would hate getting into a team with people that wouldn’t give their all. I don’t play to loose, I play to win. Pair this with an insane need for perfection and you’ve got your worst enemy in front of you. Lately I’ve noticed that that I’m letting this get in my way when it comes to my riding. 

Because I want to win and be perfect at the same time I totally ruin my own riding. I get stressed and my body becomes super stiff. Instead of riding together with Mr.Grumpy I’m riding against him, which is not the meaning. 

The good thing about knowing this is that you can do something about it. One of the things I will focus on in 2017 is to let my shoulders down. Learn to breath with my stomach and instead of striving so badly for perfection, having fun instead. You can have as fit body as you want, but if you’re mind ain’t with you, you won’t get anywhere, specially not on a horse. 

The good thing about Dujardin is that she’s a human, so if she can do it, so can we 🙂


Charlotte Dujardin & Valegro 

At first glance, Valegro isn’t a horse that I typical would fall for. He seems a bit small and clumsy, but once you see Charlotte riding him he turns into this superstar. 
I came across THIS Interview in the New Yorker about where she came from and her and Valegro’s journey together. Definitely worth a read if you find her interesting. I’m secretly hoping she will win in Rio. It would be so well deserved. 
Secretly in hoping that Lelegro, Valegro’s brother just got sold to Hester on Saturday. I guess we will just have to wait and see where he ended up. 

15. Wisdoms from Carl Hester 

Carl Bucas emailer

Carl Hester is by far one of my favorite dressage riders. His way of keeping his horses and riding style is definitely one I’d like to follow for the future. I found these 15 pearls of wisdom on the site of horse and hound. Love the fact that he bought Valegro for 4000 pounds. The amount that horse is worth today is insane. Anyhow, here are the 15 wisdoms:

1. He buys two horses per year on average — most of these are two and a half year olds.

2. He purchased Valegro as a youngster for £4,000. His bargain price tag was due to the fact he was still entire and not showing many signs of being a future superstar. As soon as Carl purchased him, he had Valegro gelded which improved him dramatically.

3. All of Carl’s young horses live out in the field 24/7.

4. When Carl is looking to buy a youngster he says: “They need to have a good walk and canter as these paces are difficult to markedly improve. We can work with the trot. I also look for expression in its raw form to utilise later in life for grand prix movements. They must be naturally motivated and want to work.”

5. Carl’s youngsters are ridden for no more than 20-30 minutes per day.

6. Carl says a horse with a really good walk is hard to find.

7. Carl doesn’t necessarily want a horse who has a quiet, easy temperament. “I’m not looking for a police horse!” he says.


8. Transitions within your schooling session are important to keep things varied and interesting.

9. Valegro was nine years old before he could show elasticity and suspension in half-pass.

10. Grand prix horses need to be good at both sitting and pushing in their work: “It is very rare to find a horse who is good at both,” says Carl.

11. “Charlotte Dujardin is very good at riding trot,” says Carl. “She improves the trot of every horse she rides,” he admits.

12. Carl’s yard contains 18 horses who are looked after by five full-time members of staff. “I don’t make a profit from the yard!” he confesses. “But this means that there is fantastic attention to detail in everything we do.”

13. “The one way to keep a horse sound is to keep it moving,” says Carl. His top horses get out of their stables three to four times per day. This usually consists of spending time on the horsewalker, being schooled, spending time in the field, going for a hack or being lunged.

14. Carl’s top horses are warmed up for 30-35 minutes for each schooling session. They then go for a nice walk down the road to warm down after the sessions.

15. “If you want to improve your core strength, ride without stirrups,” says Carl.