The love for horses is in our genes. My father was an eventing rider, my mother a recreational rider. They have six children, all of whom spent their childhood on ponies and horses that were passed from the eldest son to the youngest daughter. It was a family affair.
As the eldest of six, I am the only one who made a profession of horse riding. Our youth training was provided by Marc Van Dijck. I did my secondary education in the equine academy of Bilzen, after which I found work as a rider with René Van Paesschen.
After my passage at Van Paesschen, I received many offers from professional stables, but the entrepreneur in me wanted to stand on his own two feet. "You can turn something small into something big," said my father, following the example of his transport company. And so Sportstal Vanderhasselt was born.
Sportstal Vanderhasselt started from scratch. To be profitable, you first have to invest and that meant buying young horses. It implied that we were taking a sporty step back in the first ten years. At that time, the foundation was laid where a solid stable has been built. Sportstal Vanderhasselt has an impeccable reputation as a training centre for young talents who progress to an international level. The structure is based on a pyramid with a broad base in every year and a top segment with which we show every week at international competitions. Breeding is the cement of the foundation. It ensures follow-up and flow.
Identity Vitseroel is the textbook example of our methodology and perfectly reflects the operation of my stable: home-bred and trained up to a five-star GP horse.
I have already trained about thirty horses to international GP level and then traded them.
At Sportstal Vanderhasselt, young horses are given every opportunity to develop their talents. They are entrusted to us by owners, or we invest ourselves, or they come from our breeding.
Because we only breed with the best mares that have proven themselves in the top sport (Identity, Jeunesse, etc.), we have new talented horses available every year.