WEF Sport Horse Graduates Show Big Results in 2019
From one of the world’s best breeding farms of show jumping horses in the north of Holland to the Winter Equestrian Capital of the World in the south of Florida, the relationship between the world-renowned VDL Stud and the Winter Equestrian Festival has proven to be a successful one. In the eight-year history of the WEF Sport Horse Auction, many VDL horses sold in the auction have risen to the top of the sport. And that’s not only at the highest level of show jumping, but also in the hunter and equitation ring, with professional and amateur riders.
Janko van de Lageweg is one of three sons of the VDL family. He focuses on the U.S. market and the WEF Sport Horse Auction. “In our breeding operation, we aim for the best jumping quality, but we also want our horses to be rideable, honest, and willing. So, we need modern, careful, and fast horses with blood and a good attitude. For the highest level of the sport you also need a lot of scope, for amateur riders you need horses that are forgiving, for the hunter ring you need a pretty horse with a beautiful technique. We try to have all these types of horses in our breeding operation so we can provide what the market needs.”
Looking at the amount of VDL-bred horses showing all over the world and the accomplishments they have had, from the equitation ring to the Olympic Games and from the hunters to the high amateur jumpers, the VDL Stud has proven to be one of the world’s main producers of quality show jumpers.
Here is a look at three WEF Sport Horse Auction graduates who stood out in 2019:
Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu
Last summer, Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu (Silverstone x Matterhorn) finished second in the five-star grand prix in Tryon under his Irish rider Paul O’Shea and won a grand prix in Lexington, Kentucky. He and O’Shea represented Ireland in Nations Cups in Dublin and Sopot. At the FEI Jumping Nations Cup Final in Barcelona, Machu Picchu helped the Irish team qualify for the Olympic Games in Tokyo with a clear round in the final round. The now 13-year-old gelding was sold as a four-year-old in the auction of 2011 under the name Chester VDL.
“The main goal for Machu Picchu this year will be the Olympic Games in Tokyo,” said O’Shea. “He will jump a bit at WEF and then go to Europe to try to prove in some Nations Cups that we have maintained our form so we can be on the team.” The Olympics would be the second big championship for Machu Picchu after the FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon in 2018.
“Santos Lamarca and Amanda Flint developed him after the auction, and we bought him when he was seven,” O’Shea recalled. “He had been very successful with Amanda and looked to have a fantastic mind, to be extremely careful, and to have a great attitude.”
Machu Picchu didn’t disappoint. “He wants to do everything he can to leave the jumps up. He is quite strong, but that comes from his big heart to do the right thing, so that’s a good problem to have,” laughed O’Shea. Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu is currently owned by Patricia Hurter of Amber Hill Farm, Bonnie and Frank Cunniffe of Whipstick Farm, and Phyllis and Harry Agnew of the Machu Picchu Syndicate.