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From youngster to international Grand Prix horse: Garant

Tuesday, 01 October 2019

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping
With Beezie Madden in the saddle, Garant has gone from strength to strength during the 2019-season. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.


Text © World of Showjumping by Nanna Nieminen


The 8-year-old KWPN gelding Garant (Warrant x Verdi TN) and Beezie Madden have gone from strength to strength during the 2019-season. In the pair's first CSI2* Grand Prix at Old Salem Farm back in May, they directly took the win and continued on their victorious way when taking the top honours in the Sparkassen Youngster Cup Final at CHIO Aachen in July. In September, the pair recorded their biggest win yet, when taking home the CSI4* $210,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup qualifier at the American Gold Cup. ‘Yet’ being the key word here as WoSJ speaks to Garant’s former rider Willem Greve and his breeder Ilse Bosch, who both have some very high hopes invested in this little gelding.

Garant’s mother C'est la Vie became an elite mare when she was three years old. “I think she is a really beautiful mare. She was in the group of the best mares in Holland when she was three, and Garant was her first foal,” Ilse Bosch tells. “From the moment Garant went to shows, everyone talked about him,” she recalls. “When he was two-and-a-half, we started to free jump him. We knew immediately that he was more than good enough,” Bosch continues. “So we took him to the KWPN stallion approvals, but already in the first round they threw him out – perhaps due to his size. We got a phone call from the AES studbook, and got him approved there. By the time he was four, we started to think about what we should do with him – should we saddle break him or sell him. We decided to sell him to Niels Ribbels, and in his new home he was gelded. Then Willem spotted him, and pretty soon after Garant became the World Champion at the FEI WBFSH Jumping World Breeding Championship for Young Horses in Lanaken,” Bosch continues.

“As a youngster he was really good, with a lot of blood – but he was a good horse to work with,” Bosch tells about Garant’s personality. “I think Beezie is one of the best riders in the world, and it is a dream for a breeder to have a horse ridden by someone like her. If somewhere along the way something else would have happened, who knows where Garant would be,” she notes. “Even though he always was a good horse, I think without riders like Beezie and Willem he would not be where he is today.”

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping
As a 5-year-old, Garant won the prestigious final at the FEI WBFSH Jumping World Breeding Championship for Young Horses in Lanaken, back then with Willem Greve, who produced him. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

Following Garant’s current success is a dream come true for Bosch. “It is great, it is a dream that he is doing so well,” she says. “If I see the courses with Beezie, he does it so easy and so good and I am more than proud.”

With 15-20 foals born every year, there are some interesting foals still coming up out of the same mother line. “We still breed with Garant’s mother and have a 4-year-old half-sister of him by I’m Special de Muze,” Bosch tells. “This year we also have a full sister of Garant and we will keep her for our breeding. We have also flushed some embryos, so next year there will be two full siblings.”

As a 5-year-old, Garant won the final in his age division at the traditional FEI WBFSH Jumping World Breeding Championship for Young Horses – back then with Willem Greve in the saddle. “He was always in the area, he was a little bit small but jumped really good. He was simply spectacular,” Greve recalls about Garant. "I bumped into Daniel Bluman in Florida, and he wanted to come over to try some horses. A week before Daniel came over, he called and asked if I maybe knew of something more, something really special. So, I told him about Garant – but he was expensive, at that time.”

After trying Garant, Bluman wanted to buy him together with Hardin Towell but told Greve that he needed a third investor. “I jumped in, and we made a plan of me producing him,” Greve explains. “It was just a fun partnership, but from day one Garant was a machine – he jumped amazing. He got a wild card to go to the FEI WBFSH Jumping World Breeding Championship for Young Horses as a 5-year-old and jumped amazing. He is such a clever little horse. He was very green to go to Lanaken, but he picked it up really fantastic.”

“As a young horse he was wild, but jumping. At the end of his sixth year I jumped him at the show in Peelbergen, and Johan Heins was there. Then Beezie came to try him for two days, and she loved him. Since day one Beezie has been over the moon with him. For everyone of us, it could not have been better,” Greve smiles.

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping. "I am very happy he is with Beezie," Willem Greve says about Garant. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

As to Garant’s personality, Willem is full of praise. “He is scared of nothing – cocky is maybe the wrong word, but he is just so hungry for the fences. And so clever, just a fun horse,” he explains. “Cheeky he is, he knows exactly what his job is and he likes to play around. He is always fresh, but he knows when it counts and you can count on him. I am very happy he is with Beezie, and if nothing goes wrong I believe that this is just the beginning. Because this horse is naturally so good,” Greve continues.

Even though Garant’s spectacular jump was what first caught Willem’s eye, it was the feeling on him that finally sealed the deal. “When I jumped him – that made the difference for me,” Greve remembers. “The feeling on him is so sharp, so good – it was something very special.”

“For sure he is in the top three of the best horses I have had in my career. To keep him, as a rider it would of course have been great but I am also a dealer. I am happy to have been a part of his career, and I believe the best is still to come. Maybe Tokyo – it is far away, but it would of course be the ultimate thing.” 


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