Last week it was known that Jos Lansink's super mare Valentina van't Heike's career has come to an end. This is our tribute to one of our all-time favorites in the sport! All photos by Jenny Abrahamsson.
We would really have liked to see the 15 year old Valentina van't Heike in the sport for a couple of more years. Now we hope that she will enjoy her retirement!Valentina is a BWP mare by Nabab de Reve x Lys de Davaney. The mare is bred by Karel Boonen, who also owned Valentina together with Jos for a couple of years before Jos bought all of her in 2010. Jos bought Valentina as a six year old. Normally Jos leaves the younger horses to other riders, as he doesn’t have the time to ride all the horses himself - but that didn´t work with Valentina. “She is difficult for a lot of reasons, and a lot of these reasons you can´t see at once," Valentina's groom Maarten told WoSJ in an interview back in 2010. “For example she is allergic to the sun and she hates dust and flies, and above all she is very strong,” Maarten said. Jos rode Valentina at the WEG in Kentucky in 2010. Valentina is really hungry when it comes to jumping, but has not always been the easiest to ride. Valentina has been a regular on the Belgian Nations Cup teams; here she is jumping in Rome last spring. Jos and Valentina at the vet-check in London.Valentina in the warm-up class at the Olympics in London last summer.The A-team; Valentina van't Heike, Jos Lansink and Maarten Roels. Valentina will now be used for breeding, and hopefully her babies will be just as successful as her. Valentina has jumped all there is to jump, from Grand Prix classes to Nations Cups to Championships. In 2009 she won the Grand Prix in Paris and in 2012 the Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi.We will miss seeing Valentina in the rings around the world!