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Quel Homme de Hus – a story about friendship

Tuesday, 16 February 2021
Interview

“You can’t put a price on what you can feel in your heart”

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping The story about Quel Homme de Hus’ journey to the top centres around something more important than his qualities: It’s a story about friendship. Here Jérôme Guery and Gaetan Decroix celebrating in Geneva. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

 

Text © World of Showjumping

 


 

The now 15-year-old stallion Quel Homme de Hus (Quidam de Revel x Candillo – bred by Dr. Andreas Kosicki) first jumped into the spotlight in 2019, when he won the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix in Mexico City – with Jérôme Guery in the saddle. A few months later, Quel Homme de Hus was part of the Belgian team that won the gold medal at the European Championships in Rotterdam. After being 6th in the Rolex Grand Prix in Aachen, Quel Homme de Hus and Guery closed off 2019 with a 3rd place in the Rolex Grand Prix in Geneva. Last week, the pair kicked off 2021 with a Grand Prix win at the Sunshine Tour in Vejer de la Frontera, Spain.

While Quel Homme de Hus might have been a late bloomer, World of Showjumping discovers that the stallion always had the ability and talent. However, the story about Quel Homme de Hus’ journey to the top centres around something more important than his qualities: It’s a story about friendship. 

Trying and buying

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping "The two of them clicked straight away," Tal Milstein tells about Quel Homme de Hus and Gaetan Decroix. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

Quel Homme de Hus started his international career under Belgian rider Gilles Botton, head of the jumping stable at Haras de Hus. When Quel Homme de Hus was seven, Tal Milstein and Damien Haelterman bought the stallion from Haras de Hus after he had been presented to them by Patrik Lutz. “When we tried Quel Homme, he jumped very, very flashy behind,” Milstein recalls. “There was no question about whether or not we were going to buy him; it was trying and buying! The first period we had Quel Homme, he was quite hard to handle though and very much a stallion in his behaviour. It was difficult to make him focus, so he was very up and down. When we started with him, Quel Homme would also jump too much behind and forget his front legs. In general, he was a bit late in his development. While Quel Homme showed all the ability and scope, it was hard to say how careful and competitive he was going to be in the end as he at this time was still a bit weak. He was also quite hard to sit on over the jumps, as he jumped so much behind that he sometimes almost flipped over. Overall, he was a typical Quidam – at least how I have experienced his offspring.”

“We took Quel Homme to a few international shows with the rider I had at the time – Henri Kovács,” Milstein continues. “At one point, Gaetan Decroix was looking for a good horse, so he came to try him. The two of them clicked straight away. In the beginning we stayed partners on the horse, but after a while Gaetan bought the second half too. Gaetan had a lot of success with Quel Homme and did a great job with him – so the horse was very good even before he came to Jérôme. However, Jérôme is a very competitive rider and made Quel Homme a bit quicker. It’s great to see the success Quel Homme has had with his riders. He is another famous horse to include a photo of on my shelf.”

A beautiful story

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping “There was not one course I had the feeling I could not jump with Quel Homme," Gaetan Decroix tells. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

Gaetan Decroix confirms the immediate click with Quel Homme. “Back in 2014, I was looking for a Grand Prix horse for myself to be able to compete at a higher level,” Decroix tells. “Tal, who is a good friend of mine, told me about Quel Homme so I went to try him. The feeling was amazing! However, Quel Homme did not have that many results to show to as a 7- and 8-year-old so to start with I bought the half from Tal. After a few shows, I put him in the bigger classes and he began to jump really, really good. In the 1.35-1.40m classes the results were really not that impressive, but when I stepped him up, he was nearly always clear. I decided I needed to keep him, so I asked Tal to buy his half to secure that Quel Homme could stay with me.”

“There was not one course I had the feeling I could not jump with Quel Homme. I remember I jumped my first five-star show with him, and when I discussed the courses with the other riders, I never had the perception of anything being a difficulty for him. I had so much confidence in Quel Homme, and I was also so green at that level, so I was just thinking that with him it was easy,” Decroix laughs. “In hindsight it was perhaps a bit pretentious, but that was the felling he gave me. Nothing was ever too big or too difficult with Quel Homme. His dressage was fantastic, so I had the necessary control and on top he was so careful and scopey – what more do you need?”

“Ahead of the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016, I got a big offer on Quel Homme. Sometimes, to continue our business, the most sensible thing is to sell – so I let him be tried at the show in Arezzo. However, the deal did not go through as I wanted it to, so I pulled out and kept him myself – luckily, I can say now!”

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping "In January 2019 I got a call from my doctor that I again had been diagnosed with cancer. We had to make some tough decisions, so I gave a few of our horses to Jérôme – who is a good friend of mine," Gaetan Decroix tells about teaming Quel Homme de Hus up with Guery. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

“I continued to ride Quel Homme myself, but in the spring of 2018 I handed over the reins to my wife Alice. While my dream was to jump the five-star shows, it was not that easy to achieve. I am a breeder who also rides, but I am not a competitive rider. Getting into the big shows was difficult, especially with so many good Belgian riders,” Decroix tells. “To keep on jumping Quel Homme at the three-star shows felt like driving a Formula 1 car around a go-kart track. At the time, my wife had a really good horse coming through; Vertigo du Desert – that we later sold to Luciana Diniz. However, Vertigo was only eight at the time, so I suggested to Alice to take Quel Homme to jump the bigger classes alongside him. Alice rode Quel Homme for nearly one year, and at this point Vertigo was ready for the biggest classes so we decided that I should take Quel Homme back to ride. However, in January 2019 I got a call from my doctor that I again had been diagnosed with cancer. We had to make some tough decisions, so I gave a few of our horses to Jérôme – who is a good friend of mine. We came to talk about Quel Homme and decided that Jérôme should take him with to the Sunshine Tour. The results came straight away; they won the CSI3* Grand Prix there in March 2019. One month later, they won the CSI5* LGCT Grand Prix in Mexico. That gave me so much joy at a very difficult time in my life. After the win in Mexico, we immediately received some good offers on Quel Homme. Eventually, we had to decide what do to – should we keep Quel Homme or sell him? Jerome really wanted to keep the horse, but it was not easy to find anyone to buy Quel Homme for him. In the end, Jérôme bought half of Quel Homme with his own money. And as they say, the rest is history!”

“Quel Homme has won some good money and also earns a bit through his breeding – last year he covered 220 mares. His foals look beautiful, and just like their father they have an amazing character. After seeing his foals, I only use Quel Homme on my mares – because his foals are really fantastic with an incredible canter,” Decroix laughs. “It’s an easy-going co-operation, Jérôme handles Quel Homme’s sports career and I the breeding career and we have managed to find very good solutions for both. Quel Homme is also a very healthy horse; I am sure he will be fit to jump until he is 18 or 19 years old.”

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping A special moment: Jérôme Guery and Quel Homme de Hus helped Belgium bring home the team gold at the 2019 European Championships in Rotterdam. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

“Most importantly though are all the emotional moments we have had with him over the last two years. Winning the team gold medal at the European Championships in Rotterdam was such a special experience. All the Belgian riders were there for each other, also those not on the team came to help and support. That gold medal was really in the name of team spirit,” Decroix tells. “Then of course Aachen and Geneva where Quel Homme finished 6th and then 3rd in two of the most difficult Grand Prix classes in the world.”

“Quel Homme is a horse that knows his job and thrives on a lot of atmosphere. A new arena is never a problem, you can take him directly in the biggest classes – like in Aachen. He is such a brave horse, has a fantastic character and has so much quality – on top of that he grows 10 centimetres when he enters the ring,” Decroix smiles. 

“Today, I can say that I would not have changed anything about the journey I have had with Quel Homme. Perhaps I could have made a lot of money a few years ago, but you can’t put a price on what you can feel in your heart. Now, I can look back at so many great moments with Jérôme – one of my best friends – and with Quel Homme – also one of my best friends. And of course, with our wives; Alice and Patricia! It’s a beautiful story.”

Shared joy is double joy

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping "To be able to share all of these special moments we have had with Quel Homme have made the experience even stronger. It’s a great story about friendship," Jérôme Guery tells. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

For Jérôme Guery, the best part of his journey with Quel Homme has been sharing some very special moments with a good friend – both during and after a difficult time in Decroix’s life. 

Guery already knew Quel Homme, after having occasionally trained Decroix and the stallion. “Quel Homme was always very careful and scopey and jumped a lot of clear rounds, but I did not expect that he would end up as a winner at the highest level,” Guery tells. “However, when I got him to ride, I directly felt that there was something special about him. It’s a feeling I also have had with a few other really good horses such as Grand Cru,” Guery tells. “I also think we clicked in the way that I liked him, and he liked me. On top, Quel Homme has so many good qualities: He is super careful, super scopey and has an incredible mind.”

“From the beginning, Quel Homme was a genius on the jump. Gaetan always took his time with him, so the jump was there all along, but he needed to learn to go a bit faster and turn a bit quicker,” Guery continues. “This was quite easy to get him to understand, and after a few classes he won the Grand Prix at the Sunshine Tour. In a big ring like this, Quel Homme is at his best as you can really use his canter. After the Sunshine Tour, I took him to Mexico where the conditions are quite the same – a huge grass ring – and he won the Grand Prix there as well.”

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping "When you have a horse like Quel Homme, you can really trust in him if you make a good plan,” Jérôme Guery says. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping

“After Quel Homme’s win in Mexico, there were quite a few clients for him,” Guery tells. “However, I really wanted to keep him because I knew that if I wanted to go to the Olympics in Tokyo, I would need a horse like him. I could not find a sponsor though, nobody wanted to buy him for me just to keep him for the sport – normally my owners invest to sell again. So, I spoke with Gaetan and proposed to buy half myself.”

“At this time, Gaetan was quite ill and I knew what he was going through because I have had cancer myself,” Guery tells. “So, I told Gaetan, that what we can experience and share together in life is most of the time more important than the money. Our hope was that if we would manage Quel Homme well and have success in the sport, we could also earn a bit on prize money alongside his breeding. That’s how we agreed that we should embark on this partnership together. It was a big investment for me; I put a lot of my own money into Quel Homme to be able to keep him – and the same goes for Gaetan, who only sold half of the horse. Luckily, it all worked out – life was generous with us. To be able to share all of these special moments we have had with Quel Homme have made the experience even stronger. It’s a great story about friendship.”

One of Guery’s best memories with Decroix and Quel Homme came at the European Championships in Rotterdam in 2019. “At the Europeans, it was really the goal for the team to qualify for Tokyo – that was our no. one priority,” Guery tells. “Then we came back with the gold medal, it was a very emotional moment. To be on this team of riders with so many other Belgian team-members there to support was really something special. It gave us an incredible team spirit to build on!”

“The bigger the fences get, the better it is for Quel Homme because he really has that very last scope,” Guery tells. “Quel Homme is definitely a horse for venues like Aachen, Barcelona, Geneva, Madrid and Mexico. We really try to select the right shows for him, because if we make a good plan for him, he delivers clear rounds nearly every single time. That’s why I was pushing to get to ride in Geneva, because I knew he would be good there and he was! When you have a horse like Quel Homme, you can really trust in him if you make a good plan.”

 

No reproduction without written permission, copyright © World of Showjumping

 


 

Quel Homme de Hus: Black Type pedigree presented by Hippomundo



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