Werner Van Den Brande has enjoyed success as an international dressage competitor for more than a decade. He’s garnered the show ring spotlight in Belgium, France, The Netherlands, and the United States. With all his success, Werner notes that his biggest challenge is dealing with the disappointments that all competitors must endure – the times when he doesn’t win. “I think it’s the same for everybody, no?” he smiles. “I really like to show a lot, but then, if you compete a lot, there are times when, of course, you lose. Perhaps something goes wrong, something unexpected happens. It’s frustrating. But you have to live with that and try to get better.”
Werner’s goals in dressage are clear. “I definitely want to keep showing, keep competing,” he emphasizes. “I want to compete in the Olympic Games at least one or two times. My immediate goal is to compete at the 2009 World Championships for Young Horses in Verden, Germany. I have a wonderful horse, Amoret, who is ready for that competition.”
Amoret is a four-year-old gelding by Jazz. Werner describes Amoret as his current favorite horse, noting, “He’s a big mover, has a lot of talent, a good character, and great feeling. He’s one of the best horses I’ve ever had.”
Werner is a veteran of the Young Horse World Championships, having competed Galant Du Serein in the Five Year Old Division in 2000. The duo was edged out of the win, but claimed an impressive second place.
As a citizen of Belgium based in the U.S., Werner notes that he may not be able to compete Amoret in qualifiers that will count with his Federation. If that proves to be the case, he will offer Amoret to American young rider Mary-Cameron Rollins, to qualify and potentially compete the horse for the United States at the 2009 Young Horse World Championships. “He is really that good of a horse,” Werner states. “Of course, I would be there to coach.”
Summing up his life with horses so far, Werner says, “Horses have definitely made me more patient. Every horse needs patience and a lot of time to bring them up the levels. Sometimes, there’s a horse that’s more complicated and you have to work to solve the issues and fix the problem. When I accomplish that, it makes me feel confident about my life and gives me a sense of trust in myself and my abilities.”
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