Flore de Winne and Flynn FRH live up to expectations and are Belgian Champions

The pressure was high and the longing great, Flore de Winne managed to live up to all expectations with Flynn FRH and just won gold at the Belgian Dressage Championships. It is her very first national title in the seniors and it seems the ideal preparation for the Olympics in Paris.

The combination has already had quite successful months and victory in the championship seemed a logical extension of that. With victory in the Grand Prix, Grand Prix Special and Freestyle, Flore de Winne was unbeatable this weekend. ‘Crazy!’, laughs Flore de Winner. ‘I never thought this, I’m standing there between two routinesmen who have been on that podium so many times before and now I come in between them as a little dummy. That’s really incredible though.’

‘He always got my back’
Her performance in the freestyle was rewarded with a score of 78.900%. ‘Surely the best thing about Flynn is his will, he really wants so much. I found him a bit tired today, it’s also been a long time since he’s competed three tests, usually it’s two. So I missed that sparkle today, maybe more for my feeling than for the sight. He keeps doing his job, that horse always got my back,’ sounds a proud rider. ‘He really likes doing the job.’ The sparkle was not missed by the audience though, after the test there was a loud cheer and lots of applause for the brand new champion.

Prijsuitreiking Grote Tour 1. Flore de Winne – Flynn FRH, 2. Larissa Pauluis – First Step Valentin, 3. Charlotte Defalque – Botticelli
BK Lier 2024
© DigiShots

Eyes on Paris
Asked how eager Flore was, she replied, ‘Eager, super eager! That’s really fantastic, that we were able to finish it. That was my worst nightmare anyway, that it would fail. It’s still an animal, of course, so you never know in the end. But he has never let me down before and he’s not letting me down now either.’ For now, Flynn FRH gets a rest and goes out to field. ‘After that we will either go to Rotterdam or to Aachen and then hopefully to Paris, which is the ultimate. We’re really looking forward to that.’

‘Super nice event’
About the organisation of the Belgian Championships, Flore de Winne is super enthusiastic: ‘It was great, we were lucky today with the weather. Everything was very well managed, a super nice event. For the horses everything was fine, top stables. Really well organised.’ We are only too happy to take these words from the new Belgian champion.

Top 3
Next to her on the podium was Larissa Pauluis, she scored 76.535% in her freestyle with First Step Valentin to secure silver. Bronze was for Charlotte Defalque and her Botticelli, after she scored 76.310% in the freestyle.


Photo: Digishots

Tommie Visser claims gold in Belgian Small Tour Championships

‘Really super cool, what a lovely horse,’ enthused Tommie Visser. He just won the Belgian Small Tour Championships with Karma Begijnhoeve (by Desperado). The nine-year-old prima ballerina danced to the gold. Silver went to Suraya Hendrikx and Benicia, who won the freestyle, and bronze was for Jorinde Verwimp and Vicomte de Reyves.

‘They sometimes say a good beginning is half the battle, the first test I had so much lead, that’s super cool,’ said Tommie Visser. On Thursday, he managed to win the first class with Karma Begijnhoeve and afterwards he commented: ‘this can’t get any better’. His reaction today was slightly different: ‘I had not won the freestyle except for one point, so it could have been better,’ he laughed.

This is how dressage should be
‘It’s still a bit of trying with Karma. Last time during CDI Lier I had only jogged her a bit on the rest day and then she was a bit too fresh the day after. So yesterday I thought I’ll do some gallop work. And now I noticed she was a bit on the tired side. As a result, technically there are still a few things that could be better, but she showed super consistently for three days.’ According to Tommie Visser, Karma Begijnhoeve is the perfect example of a dressage horse. ‘What she has very much about her is that she makes it look very easy. Really very natural. That’s why I really like her as a horse. This is how I think dressage should be.’

Tommie Visser – Karma Begijnhoeve
BK Lier 2024
© DigiShots

Transition to Grand Prix
Whereas the youngsters are preparing for the European Championships this summer, it is different for the Small Tour. What will the season look like for Tommie and Karma? ‘I was still very much in doubt whether to continue training her and then start her at Medium Tour at the end of the year. But I notice now, after several days, that she really needs to get stronger to be able to hold on well all days. I think I will ride a few more times international Small Tour. And then continue training to move up to Grand Prix next year.

Foals of Karma
Karma Begijnhoeve was bred by Tommie Visser and his husband Rob van Puijenbroek. Being successful with their own breeding products makes winning the title even more special. There was more great news from the Begijnhoeve this week. ‘Yes super nice! Rob is riding Le Premier Begijnhoeve and that used to be a stallion, so we have made babies with him and Karma. This week two very beautiful black foals came out of that, which is really super cool!”, said a proud breeder. Le Premier Begijnhoeve came sixth in the championship in the same class.

Top 3
The battle for the Small Tour championship was not yet decided prior to the test and the results were close. Silver went to Suraya Hendrikx and Benicia. She won the freestyle today with a score of 75.710%, just one point difference from Tommie Visser and Karma Begijnhoeve, who scored 75.690%. The bronze went to Jorinde Verwimp and Vicomte de Reyves, she scored 75.220% in the freestyle.


Photo: Digishots

Hilcara makes dream come true for Lauranne Lammens with gold at BK U25

‘A dream come true, still a bit surreal. It has yet to sink in,’ said a very happy champion. After bronze and silver, it is now gold for Lauranne Lammens at the Belgian U25 Championships, her first national title with her dancing partner in crime: Hilcara van het Vijverbos.

The 17-year-old mare has a special spot in Lauranne Lammens’ her heart. She told us earlier that the mare has been in her life for 12 years, half of Lauranne’s life. ‘This is everything, really everything. The breeder was here who has followed us all the years from level 1, 2, 3, to national. I’m really very proud of her. We have bronze, silver and then this year gold. Hilcara is my faithful dance partner, sticking with me and being patient with me all these years. She deserves it, as so does the breeder and the whole team.’

‘I see myself as an underdog’
The top four were very close together, so the ladies were very much in competition. With a win on the first day and victory in the freestyle, the gold was for Lauranne Lammens. Her freestyle was rewarded with a score of 74.550%. ‘We had started really well this week and were able to keep that up. Every day I was like ‘okay, today it is going to be over, enjoy it while it lasts that you are first’. And then finish it, that’s fantastic.’ The modest rider gives all the credits to her horse. ‘I keep seeing myself as an underdog all these years. That I couldn’t keep up with the others. Also this year with so many strong combinations. The top five would have been good for me beforehand and with the top three I would already be very happy and then suddenly finding that we can come out on top, that’s a giga feeling. Hilcara has all the confidence I don’t have. She comes the ring and thinks, ‘Look at me, I’ll do a dance here’. That’s really the nicest feeling, that you feel she’s growing in the ring and thinks ‘yes, I’ll do that’.

At home in the saddle
The medal chances did make the race extra exciting for Lauranne Lammens. But she still managed to enjoy herself along the way. ‘Once that music starts, it works. I always try to ride my own test. On the rest I have no control, how others do it or what the judges think. When I’m in the saddle I do feel at ease. Then I am home again.’ The 17-year-old mare still looks super fit. ‘She still feels very fresh and youthful, as long as she can enjoy it and she feels like it we will continue. The day she shows now it’s enough, then I’m going to respect that too.’

Top 3
Silver went to Suraya Hendrikx and Dear Friend 2, their freestyle was rewarded with 74.255%. Bronze was for Amber van den Steen and Fame, they came fourth in the freestyle with 73.495%.


Photo: Digishots

Special podium at Young Riders, gold again for Jette de Jong

A very special championship in the Young Riders class. Jette de Jong just became Belgian Champion again with Heavenly Charming, the silver was for her other horse, Indigo. She faced the biggest competition from her own horse with her friend Britt van de Weyer. ‘This is very special, for sure. It’s really nice that it worked out with gold and silver,’ said brand-new champion Jette de Jong.

‘Indi and Britt have only just become a combination and Heaven and I have been for a long time. I always ride with the two horses, but so now against Britt and Indi. Yesterday was really incredibly exciting.’ Jette de Jong won the first part in the championship and had to settle for second place yesterday. Today in the freestyle she took revenge and managed to win the freestyle with a score of 75.310% and that got her the gold, just like last year.

‘I could never do it without Jette’
‘It’s very special, and the swap is to the advantage of both the horse and Britt. It’s a super good combination, I’m extremely happy with that,’ Jette de Jong explains. And Britt van de Weyer agrees. ‘This is really just fantastic, totally not expected. Four weeks back I wasn’t competing. And now suddenly the Belgian championship and then coming second is really great. It’s indescribable. I could never do it without Jette,’ Britt van de Weyer is grateful to her friend.

Jette de Jong (BEL) – Heavenly Charming en Britt van de Weyer – Indini
BK Lier 2024
© DigiShots

Competing together
‘My freestyle went really well, I maybe didn’t give the most because I mainly wanted it to go well, because I did have to come before Britt,’ laughs Jette de Jong. For Britt, it was her third time riding freestyle and first time competing. ‘I am very satisfied, had a small mistake in the series,’ she said. Britt van de Weyer and Indigo’s freestyle was rewarded with a score of 71.350%. Both ladies are hoping to compete at the European Championships this summer. ‘Nice to compete together,’ said Jette and Britt.

Bronze for Louise Brauwers
Third place in the Belgian Young Riders Championship went to Louise Brauwers. She sent her Jerveaux de Baian to bronze after scoring 70.485% in the freestyle.


Photo: Digishots

Xyliana de Rover and Hamlet capture gold in Juniors at Belgian Championships

The battle in the Juniors was not a done deal and all chances for the title were still open. That made the opening class of the day extra exciting. The new Belgian Junior Champion is Xyliana de Rover, with her Hamlet dancing through her freestyle on her way to gold.

‘It’s very special and not expected,’ Xyliana de Rover responded afterwards about winning her very first national title. ‘I hadn’t come here thinking I was going to win, so this is a nice surprise.’ The 17-year-old rider has been a combination with Hamlet, an 11-year-old son of Quadroneur, for four years. ‘Hamlet is very special and very sweet. But there is definitely a spicy side to it that is not always very easy. I’m glad he did well here.’ She never expected to reach this level with him. ‘Because he was very difficult as a young horse.’

European Championship aspirations
Her freestyle was judged with 72.710%, which earned her second place in the results of the freestyle, and was enough to win the championship. ‘I had a very good freestyle, a few finishing faults but they will go out. I am very satisfied. I was also able to ride fine on the other days.’ It is the second year at the Juniors for Xyliana de Rover. ‘I hope for a European Championship place, that would be nice,’ she said. She was previously part of the European Championship team in the Children and Juniors. Last year, she did the same with Hamlet.

Top 3
The freestyle was won by Amber Hennes and KeukenGeens Allegro v/h Trichelhof. They were rewarded with a score of 73.555%. In the championship, that earned them the bronze medal. Silver went to Anna Peeters and Harlekin, they came fourth in the freestyle with a score of 71.815%.


Photo: Digishots

Helena Theeuwes undefeated Belgian champion Ponies

A beaming champion, and for good reason she won no less than all parts of the Belgian championships ponies. Helena Theeuwes rode a tight freestyle and scored 75.060%, all judges placed her and her Matteo 5 in the lead.

‘Very nice, I never expected that to become Belgian champion,’ she sounds modest. She has been forming a combination with Matteo 5 for a year and a half now. ‘He is a very brave and he is eight years old. The easiest thing with him is the canter part and I think he can walk very well.’

Good feeling
‘I had a good feeling after the freestyle. I had a very good feeling after riding the other days as well. I hope to keep doing like this and then hopefully go to the European Championships.’ That would be Helene Theeuwes’ first EC. ‘I have been first reserve before, that was with my other pony.’ Asked how Helene Theeuwes liked riding in Lier, she replied, ‘It’s really cool here, I think it are really cool arenas.’

Top 3
Helene Theeuwes got the biggest competition from Alexine Herweyers. She walked off with the silver after scoring 73.480%. Like Helena, Alexine also had two irons in the fire. With the grey LeSch La Perla, Alexine became reserve champion. Bronze went to Féline Verreet-de Booij and her palomino PAV Nikkei. She scored 72.760% in the freestyle.


Photo: Digishots

First national Children’s title for Evelyne Dieltjens

The first Belgian title is a fact! 13-year-old Evelyne Dieltjens has just been crowned Belgian Children champion. ‘This is really nice!’, she enthused afterwards. After two wins, Dieltjens outclassed everyone and can call herself Belgian champion for a year.

‘I didn’t expect this beforehand. I have not been riding Lord Lucardi for so long, only since February. And I nicked him from my mother,’ laughs the brand-new champion. Not a bad swap considering the success. ‘Lord Lucardi has a very sweet character and is a very sweet horse,’ Evelyne Dieltjens praises her eight-year-old horse.

Fantastic score
Asked how she looks back on her test, the champion is critical: ‘I had made some small mistakes which I did regret, but fortunately I recovered and continued riding well.’ Her test was judged with the fantastic score of 75.625%, putting Evelyne almost 4 per cent ahead of number two, Charlott Blevi with Junior Hit. She scored 71.908%. Number three, Frauke Stas sent her Lieke S.A. to 68.130% and the bronze medal, in the class sponsored by Paardensport Vlaanderen.

On to the European Championships
This is Evelyne’s second year riding in the Children, last year she participated in the European Championships with her horse Bonaire van de Mottelhoeve. With the Belgian title, she has at least once again put herself in the spotlight with the national coach. ‘I am hoping for the European Championships this summer and for the rest we still have to see where else we will participate,’ she said.


Photo: Digishots

Justin Verboomen win Brilliant Cup: ‘A great success for the team’

An emotional victory for Justin Verboomen and his Da Vinci. ‘This was a little surprise, though,’ said Justin Verboomen. With Elisabeth Tepper’s horse, he won the Brilliant Cup at the Belgian Championships.

‘This is very nice, also for Da Vinci’s owner. She mostly trains him. Elisabeth won the freestyle with Belaggio, I came second in the freestyle and won the final ranking. A nice success for the team,’ said Justin Verboomen.

First big event
Last winter, Justin Verboomen rode several competitions with Da Vinci. ‘This was the first big event for Da Vinci, that’s why I didn’t expect too much. But he did super well.’ The 10-year-old son of Dante Weltino seems to have many qualities. ‘His hind leg he definitely has from his sire Dante Weltino, he is a super sensitive horse. But he did super well here, both during the tests and outside,’ Justin praises his horse.

Good team
With five horses to ride, these are busy days for Justin Verboomen. ‘Fortunately, we have a really good team, which makes this all possible. This result is really super nice for Elisabeth!’

Top 3
Elisabeth Tepper came second in the final standings with Belaggio (by Bellissimo M) followed by Jonas Schaekers with Schumacher (by Stedinger) in place three.


Photo: Digishots

Zoë Niessen unbeatable in Diamond Cup

It has been quite a successful week for Zoë Niessen at the Belgian Championships. She managed to qualify for the freestyle final of the Diamant Cup with three horses and just now she was honoured as the overall winner as well as occupying second and fourth place. ‘It’s really absolutely fantastic and didn’t expect this,’ she said.

Zoë Niessen entered the Diamant Cup with relatively inexperienced horses, but that did not stand in the way of her success. None of the three horses had been to a multi-day competition before. ‘The atmosphere is good, the arenas are super nice and it is nicely decorated. Really nicely done and super organised. The horses learn a lot here,’ Zoë Niessen praises the organisation.

Without expectations
Her winning horse is Fascinize (by For Romancier), or Fred. ‘I’ve been riding Fred for three months now, so not that long yet. We came here with no expectations because he has never run a big competition before or been away from home for several days. And then he just does a fantastic job every day. Especially also the second day, when there was water in the arena and he loved that exactly. He tried super hard.’ She came second in the final standings with Je Suis Special (by Charmeur). There was third place for Justin Verboomen with his horse Bollinger (by Bon Coeur).

Prijsuitreiking Diamant Cup 1. Zoe Niessen – Fascinize, 2. Zoe Niessen – Je Suis Special, 3. Justin Verboomen – Bollinger
BK Lier 2024
© DigiShots

First U25 year
The 21-year-old rider has already ridden three junior European Championships herself, twice in the ponies and once in the Young Riders. ‘This is my first U25 year, yesterday I came fourth, so that’s not such a bad start. That horse is also only nine years old and it’s the first multi-day competition for that horse too.’ She is competing in the Belgian U25 Championships with Kumbaya (by Governor).

Niessen not bored
In total, Zoë Niessen has five horses with her, and boredom is not one of them. ‘I naturally hope to get as far as possible with these horses and remain successful. And of course that they continue to enjoy the work, that is the most important thing. Lots of variety, jumping, going out for hacks a bit. And out to field, of course.


Photo: Digishots

Once again Flore de Winne leads Belgian Heavy Tour championships

This time it was the Big Tour riders who had to endure the rain. But that did not spoil the fun. It was exciting until the last combination, but nobody managed to top the score of Flore de Winne and Flynn FRH.

A score of 73.468% rewarded Flore de Winne and Flynn FRH’s Grand Prix Special. Tomorrow is a rest day and Sunday the freestyle final is on the program. After two wins, Flore de Winne and Flynn FRH seem to be heading for their first national title in the Big Tour.

Same top 3
Larissa Pauluis and First-Step Valentin came second, as they did yesterday. The reigning Belgian champion saw her Grand Prix Special rewarded with 72.574%. Third was Charlotte Defalque with Botticelli, she received 71.021% from the judges. The entire top three were thus the same as yesterday’s top three.

Jette de Jong – Heavenly Charming
BK Lier 2024
© DigiShots

Jette de Jong on track
In the Young Riders, reigning champion Jette de Jong is well on her way. She managed to win the first section of the Young Riders in the saddle of Heavenly Charming. Although she had her hands full. ‘I found it quite exciting, when I entered the ring Heavenly Charming got quite hot. So it was all hands on deck. Fortunately, it wasn’t too bad in the end. I now know how to handle it. It’s mainly because of his cheerfulness, wind, cold,’ Jette de Jong explains.

Top two horses of Jette
The reigning champion finds defending the title exciting. ‘Especially because Indini with Britt is very much like me and Heavenly Charming. That does make it extra exciting.’ Nice detail is that Indini also belongs to Jette de Jong. Tomorrow the first titles will be fought for and we will know who the Belgian Pony and Children champions are.


Photo’s: Digishots