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Future So Bright: Igor

Tuesday, 06 February 2018
Future So Bright

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson Igor, with Jos Verlooy in the saddle. "He has his own character, and he knows he is good," Jos says. Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.

With a dad like Emerald, there is a lot to live up to – but so far that looks like no big deal for the 10-year-old Igor ridden by Jos Verlooy. The son of Harrie Smolders’ super-star, out of a Nabab de Reve-mare impressed at the end of the 2017-season when he ended third in the five-star Grand Prix of La Coruna with a double clear round in the books. As our series ‘Future So Bright’ continues, WoSJ speaks with Jos Verlooy about what looks to be his next top horse.

“The former owners called us up when Igor was a 4-year-old, but he was a bit too young for us at that stage,” Jos tells. “My father saw the video though, and thought Igor jumped really good so he told the owners we would come and try him in a year if he was just as good then – and also take the risk if the price would be higher.”

“The breeder called us up again when Igor had turned five, he was one of Emerald’s oldest offspring. We went there to try him, and he jumped incredible. He was so careful, and had a lot of scope already back then,” Jos recalls.

“So, we bought him, and took him home. From Igor was five until he was nine he just jumped around locally at the national and international shows, as well as jumping in Vilamoura. At the beginning of 2017 I took him over myself, and brought him with me to the Sunshine Tour. There I build him up, starting in the 1.20 classes and ending up jumping the 1.45m ranking classes. He didn’t knock a pole down during the whole tour,” Jos continues. 

Photo (c) World of Showjumping Igor might look very cute as he poses for the camera, but according to his rider he can be quite naughty too. Photo (c) World of Showjumping.

From there on, Jos did some two- and three-star shows with Igor, before he came with to the Global Champions Tour shows as a second horse. “Still, for his age he is quite green and needs more experience,” Jos explains. “But he takes everything easily, and any mistakes he makes are because he is green and not because he cannot do it. I believe, he does not show all his power yet – there is much more to come from him than what I feel now. He just needs to get stronger and get more dressage work.”

“I believe that Igor’s strongest sides are that he is so careful, and that he has a lot of quality. He is also very smart, and knows exactly what to do in the ring,” Jos says. “Igor has a very strong mind, and this makes him really good but it is also a big challenge with him. He has his own character, and he knows he is good. In the stable, he likes to tease people and sometimes he just pretends he does not even see you – he can just walk right over you if that is his mood that day. Sometimes he can also be really naughty. When he came home after La Coruna he was spinning around here at home really trying to get me off – he is a handful at times,” Jos says.

His spicy personality might just be exactly what will make him Jos’ next big thing though, and the young Belgian rider will now take his time to continue developing Igor towards the next level. “This year, I hope to do some Nations Cups with him for Belgium and then we will see if he can be one for the championships. I really think he has it in him,” Jos closes off.


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