WoSJ met Dutch rider Leopold van Asten during the CSI3* in Neumünster a weekend in February. Our mission was to find out a little about his current horses and his goals for the 2011 season.
Van Asten has been a part of the Dutch show jumping team for several years. In 2010 he competed in three Super League shows and was supposed to be the Dutch reserve at the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky with the mare VDL Groep Santana (Mr. Blue x Alme Z). Unfortunately these plans fell through due to a hoof problem. Santana is still recovering but if everything works out as planned their goal for this year is the European Championships in Madrid in September. The Europeans will also be the last chance for the Dutch team to qualify for the Olympics in London in 2012, which makes this event even more important van Asten explains. The Dutch rider also plans on riding some Global Champions Tour legs and hopefully a few Super League shows.
Even though VDL Groep Santana at this point is the only horse van Asten sees as a horse for the Championships, he has some younger horses that hopefully will step up there within a few years. He mentions a seven year old gelding Vdl Groep Zorro (Emilion x Nimmerdor). And then there are two eight year olds - VDL Groep Carina (Contendro x Calypso II) and VDL Groep W Zermie (Celano x Contender). Van Asten won’t choose any of them as a favourite – “the horses need more experience before entering the big classes and it is difficult to predict whether any of them will make it at a top level,” he says.
The van Asten team of horses also include the nine year old Cumano offspring VDL Groep Courage, the eleven year old VDL Groep Quinara (Quinar x Carthago) and the twelve year old VDL Groep Amelie (Luidam). Van Asten tells us that both Quinara and Amelie are good horses but that “they both need to step up a bit”.
Before we leave van Asten we ask him which horse he would prefer riding if he could choose among all the horses in the world. Diplomatically he explains that the Dutch team has two very good horses that he finds would suit his riding – Marc Houtzager’s gelding Sterrehof’s Tamino (Numero Uno x Farmer) and Eric van der Vleuten’s mare VDL Groep Utascha (Lux x Indoctro). We can’t say we disagree with him – they are both wonderful horses that should be looked out for this season!
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