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WoSJ Exclusive; Schou & Skouboe - a promise for the Danish showjumping future

Sunday, 06 February 2011

At the fantastic stud and equestrian center Schou & Skouboe in Denmark WoSJ discovers that things are unfolding in a manner that brings big expectations for the future of showjumping in Denmark.Andreas and Christian. Photo by Jenny Abrahamsson.  Behind Schou & Skouboe you will find two young and very talented brothers – Andreas and Christian – as well as their business partner Flemming Skouboe. Andreas – the best Danish rider in the world rankings at a current number 225 – is only 24 years old and his brother Christian 22. Despite their young age, they are involved in almost everything of importance when it comes to Danish showjumping; not only are they at the top of the sport – representing Denmark in international championships, as well as dominating the national ones – they also have a huge influence on Danish and Scandinavian breeding through their stud. “We are also joint owners of JBK Horseshows that runs every autumn in the Danish city Odense and Danish International Sales,” Andreas tells us. Andreas has already been hugely successful in the sport, and has no less than eight national championship titles up his sleeve – two as a senior rider - and three titles as a Nordic champion. Christian has also taken several Danish championship titles, and has been a regular on the national teams. What the two brothers have achieved at their age is no less than very impressive.

Andreas and Diamant de Revel. Photo by Jenny Abrahamsson.The success does not seem to have gone to their heads though. When WoSJ meets the brothers at their yard Tågerup in Sommersted, Denmark, they are both very humble when it comes to their achievements. Both brothers are sincere, and seem genuinely happy to have come this far.

The brothers’ stud has been run since 2007, and their stallion collection now consists of 17 stallions. The stallion station is EU-approved with a top modern laboratory and professional surroundings. Schou and Skouboe’s stallions are all very exciting prospects for the future of Danish and Scandinavian showjumping; all are top performance at their level and for their age group. “One of our stars is actually a Danish warmblood; the six year old Diamant de Revel (Diamant de Semilly x Quidam de Revel). He has amongst many successes been a finalist at the Scandinavian Open last year, and was awarded the champion-title as a four year old by his studbook,” Andreas lets us know.

Then there is the promising five year old Casall-son Casilius, the exciting seven year old Contender-offspring Cosmeo – winner of the national championships for six year olds in 2010 and the beautiful nine year old Nintender (Namelus R x Contender). The great Orlando-son Optic is described by Andreas as “extremely good”, while he also is very warm in his words when it comes to the six year old Cortado – a bronze medalist at the world championship for young horses at Zangersheide last year. Then there are the true stars of the stables; the 12 year old Chicago (Cassini II x Cor de la Bryere) who has been representing Denmark in nations cups and the Europeans at Windsor in 2009, Uno’s Safier (Numero Uno x Amor) – a ten year old who was on the winning team in Barcelona when Denmark won and earned their place in the Super League last year and the Contender-son Careful who is successfully competed at top GP-level by Andreas’ girlfriend Jannike West. And it doesn’t end there; even more fantastic stallions are surrounding us as we walk down the stables together with
Andreas.The stallion Cortado is happy in the company of Andreas. Photo by Jenny Abrahamsson.

What strikes you when in the stables at Tågerup is how calm all the stallions are. There are no whining sounds, no messing around in their boxes – just quiet, happy and comfortable stallions. Even when there is a mare or two around the calmness is astonishing.

Outdoors we are shown three big winterfields for the youngsters that are between one-four years old. There are about 30 of them, and when they turn three they are handled and ridden for around two months – then turned back out until February when they are four years old,” Andreas explains. Most of the youngsters are bought abroad; the brothers do little breeding of their own. They mainly go to Germany, Belgium and Holland to buy them – and the same goes for the stallions. The only two stallions of Scandinavian origin are Diamant de Revel and the Swedish bred Optic. Some of the horses have been purchased as foals, but most of the stallions acquired have reached the age of 2 ½ years old before they have been brought home to Denmark – already approved in their respective studbooks.

No doubt about where you are in one of the indoor arenas. Photo by Jenny Abrahamsson.The yard also houses a stable with 30 boxes for the visiting mares during the breeding season. Last year we had about 100 mares visiting the stud, as well as exporting semen for around 120 mares in Sweden and also some to Norway,” Andreas says. As the boys aren’t busy enough, they also have horses for owners and customers to ride.

It comes as no surprise when Andreas tells us that they are expanding, and thatThe stunning new stables at Tågerup. Photo by Jenny Abrahamsson. a new stable and indoor school for their sport horses is soon to be finished. The new buildings are complementing the already existing ones, and together they form a perfect symmetry around the outdoor schooling areas. The boxes in the new stable are amazing; huge, light and with rubber flooring. The lightning in the stable is ultra modern, and with grey brick walls it gives you a minimalistic yet warm feeling. The equipment room is stunning, and the new indoor school has lots of light through huge windows. The new stable also houses offices and a bar that overlooks the indoor arena. The building project has been going on for the past two years, and Andreas and Christian has had a huge influence on the result. “We have drawn a lot off it ourselves, but off course we have had help from an architect,” Andreas explains. “It should be one of the biggest equestrian centers in Denmark by now”. “We are hosting the Danish National Championships in 2011, 2012 and 2013,”Andreas tells us. “The surroundings should be perfect, but we will expand the outdoor arena with another 20 meters. We hope to have everything ready by the middle of April,” he continues.

The yard at Sommersted has been in the Schou-family’s hands over the past ten years, but the brothers have now moved out of their mother and father’s family home – living in the nearby city Kolding which is only a short drive away. “Our mother was interested in horses, but we don’t come from a horsey family. We have both been active in the sport from we were riding ponies as kids, but our career in the sport got a real boost when we started our collaboration with Flemming Skouboe,” Andreas says. On the question on how the two brothers cope with running a business together, Christian replies with a smile “We have plenty of horses to choose from, so there is no quarreling”.

Details from Tågerup. Photo by Jenny Abrahamsson.With their ambitions and drive – and not to forget talent for business, riding and spotting the right horses – Andreas and Christian should hold big promises for the future of Danish showjumping. “We may not have the horse power to stay at the top level of the sport right now, but it will all look very different in three to four years when our youngsters come to their own rights,” Andreas says to us before we leave their yard. And after our tour at Schou & Skouboe we don’t doubt that for one second. So look out; Denmark should definitely be counted with in the nearby future!

You can see more photos from our visit at Tågerup in our separate article "WoSJ Exclusive; Schou and Skouboe in images".

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