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That Special Bond - with Jos Lansink

Friday, 02 March 2018
That Special Bond

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.
"Maybe if I have to name a special one, Valentina van’t Heike would be the one," Jos Lansink says. Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.

In our series ’That Special Bond’ we speak with some of the top names in the sport about the horses that have shaped their careers, left a lasting impression and sometimes even broken hearts. This time around we sit down with Belgian legend and former World Champion Jos Lansink – and once more, it was difficult picking only one…

The Special One

“It is not fair to only pick one horse. With Cumano I had the best results, but I have been very lucky during my career with so many amazing horses.

Maybe if I have to name a special one, Valentina van’t Heike would be the one – she was special in every way! I bought her as a 6-year-old, and I still have her. What made me buy her in the first place, was the quality of her jump; she was so careful and scopey. But, I could also instantly feel that she was difficult enough. I was thinking that through the years she would get easier, but that was not really the case with her. She really gave 150 % every time she jumped, and in the end that is not the best thing for a horse’s health and she was really hard on herself.

I think there was one day at home that I tried 25 different bits on her, but she would not jump a 20cm fence. I will never forget that day. After a while I just gave up and put her on the field. I remember thinking that there must be something wrong with the horse – that it was not normal, trying so many bits and not finding one that she was happy with. I was standing there, thinking and followed her in the field. There she was, in the field, with no jumps – and she was still shaking her head. I went to get a fly mask and put it on her, and she got quiet and started to eat grass. As she was so special in every way, the day after I did not want to ride her with the mask. Instead I took her out on a longe with it, so she had a chance to get to know it a bit more. After longing I rode her, and she was completely different! I could not even see it, but for sure there were some small flies that irritated her and caused the problem. After I figured this out, I always rode Valentina with a fly mask on.

Valentina did many great things; won Grand Prix classes and Nations Cups, won a medal at the World Championships in Kentucky and jumped the Olympics in London, but for sure if she would have been a little bit easier, she could have won a lot more. For me, our biggest wins together were the Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi and the Grand Prix at the Gucci Masters.

Years later she broke her leg in the field, but I wanted to keep her. The vets did everything they could to save her, and I now have her in Italy where we do some breeding with her.”

The Money Maker

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.
“The money maker for me, is the one you sell," Jos says, here on Bacardi VDL that he brought up in the classes and then sold. Bacardi VDL can now be seen with Janika Sprunger in the saddle. Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.

“The money maker for me, is the one you sell. In general, I try to build up the horses for clients and then sell them. The last years, since 2004 working on my own, I have to sell sometimes to make a good living and cover up the costs and pay all the bills.”

The one that got away

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.
"I had a fantastic feeling on both Pialotta and Shutterfly," Jos says. Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.

“Through the years I have been very lucky to have great people around me to trust me with horses that have kept me jumping on the highest level so there is not really one that got away.

If I can name a horse from another rider, I must say that when we did the horse change in the final of the World Equestrian Games in Aachen in 2006, I had a fantastic feeling on both Pialotta and Shutterfly. Those two were dream horses.”

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