The TR’s Grand
National, hosted by the TR Ranch in Liessel in the Netherlands,
has been a huge success for Belgium Riders. The double pointed
AQHA Show on April 8 and 9 unfortunately attracted very few competitors,
except for the Reining classes, in which many riders were schooling
their horses for the full slate NRHA show that on the contrary
attracted riders from the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Germany.
Out of 22 competitors Belgian Bernard Fonck won the Open Lawson
Reining, riding aboard the five-year-old gelding Trouble by Frosty
(Frostys Chic Olena x Commanders Trouble), owned by Belgian Kathelyn
Sterckx. Fonck showed a nice set of spins and his circles were
well under control, which resulted in a score 144, also the highest
score in the Intermediate Open which was run concurrently. Second
place in as well the Open as Intermediate Open went to Fonck’s
wife Ann Poels, riding the six-year-old stallion KS Whizaway,
owned by Patrick Norris, with a score 143½. Third place in both
classes went to the six-year-old stallion Coeur D Wright Stuff
(Lenas Wright On x Mist N Smoke), ridden by Dutch Angelique Ferdinandus
and owned by Roy de Bruin, with a score of 143. Ferdinandus is
a member of the Dutch National team that will attend the FEI European
Championship that will be held in May in Manerbio in Italy.
Baeck, riding the six-year-old mare Soft Whizpers (Topsail Whiz
x Miss Stepping Jac), was very successful in the Non Pro division;
she won the Non Pro Lawson Trophy with a score of 142½. Baeck
purchased her horse a month ago from a Non Pro rider and as for
now it seems a good purchase. Cira also ended up second with a
score 142 with the five-year-old stallion Don Quixotes Escape
(Okie Paul Quixote x The Great Escape), owned by her sister Susy.
There was a tie on the third place for Belgian Piet Mestdagh,
riding the seven-year-old stallion SR Lil Peppy Sprat (Little
Chickasaw x Jae Bar Hoppie) and Dutch Debby Willems riding her
ten-year-old stallion Docs Golden Partner (Doc Cinch Bet x Jiggs
Partner), with a score of 141. For Mestdagh this was his second
show on his new purchase, which is well known in the Reining circuit.
Last year the stallion has been shown by Ann Poels and together
they celebrated victory after victory in the Open classes especially
in the German competition. The winner of the Intermediate Open
Pewter was determined by a run off between Mestdagh and Willems.
Unfortunately Mestdagh’s horse fell out of lead, but despite of
that, he had a nice run with beautiful spins, which resulted in
a score of 140. Willems did not perform as well as in her first
run and ended up with a score 138 and once again a Belgian rider
was awarded with the Trophy. Dutch Jolande van der Valk (though
living in Belgium) made her come back in the Intermediate Non
Pro. She had not been competing for about a year. Her nine-year-old
mare Whiz N Mist (Topsail Whiz x Misty May Morning) gave birth
to a foal last year and she herself to twin brothers. But the
combination that was part of the World Equestrian Games in Jerez
de la Fronteira in Spain in 2002 is back on the scene again. Van
der Valk placed third in the Intermediate Open.
For the first
time ever in the Netherlands TR’s Grand National hosted NSBA Hunter
and Western Pleasure classes. And again it was a Belgian rider
that won the NSBA Morrison Open Trophy. Out of 7 competitors Christel
Poels won the class with her seven-year-old Stallion Kay Cees
Checkmate (Kay Cees Leaguer x Beckys Melody).