In the 2012 Olympic Games at London, Dutch riders not only won the team- and individual silver in show jumping but also claimed the team bronze and individual silver in dressage. In addition, the Netherlands' KWPN horses were very well represented in the equestrian medal tally: Dutch-bred horses won a total 11 Olympic medals, five of which were gold. In the 2008 Olympics at China, the KWPN boasted a major achievement when the entire winners podium for show jumping was occupied by riders whose mounts were Dutch-bred horses. In the London Games, KWPN dressage horses excelled in yesterday's individual competition. Both the gold and silver winners were horses which were bred in the Netherlands: respectively, Valegro (breeders: Maartje and Joop Hanse of Burgh-Haamstede, Zeeland), ridden by Charlotte Dujardin (GBR); and Parzival (breeder: the Beijer family of Puiflijk, Gelderland), with Adelinde Cornelissen (NET).
Dominant in Dressage
Never before have the results of the individual dressage final been more exciting or have been demonstrated a higher level of horsemanship. In the team competition, the United Kingdom reigned supreme, with two of the country's three horses tracing their origins back to the Netherlands. Yesterday, Dutch-bred KWPN horses proved their irrefutable talent again by winning gold and silver.
Eight Dutch Horses in Show Jumping Final
The KWPN medal "shower" began with the team show jumping final. Two British riders who captured gold were mounted on horses of Dutch origin: Nick Skelton with Big Star (breeder: Cees Klaver of Schoorl, North Holland) and Peter Charles with Vindicat W (breeders: Jose and Peter van Wegen of Raalte, Overijssel).
The Netherlands' own jumper riders took silver with three Dutch-bred KWPN horses on their team: Marc Houtzager with Tamino (breeder: E. ten Hoor of Hoogersmilde, Drenthe), Maikel van der Vleuten with the breeding stallion Verdi (breeders: Veehandel Musterd of Hoge Zwaluwe, North Brabant), and Jur Vrieling with Bubalu (breeder: VDL Stud in Beers, Friesland).
In the individual jumping final, Dutch riders unfortunately did not medal. However, eight KWPN horses did qualify for the last round, three of which ended in the top ten: Big Star with the UK's Nick Skelton (5), Star Power (breeder: A.J. Mulderije of Vorden, Gelderland) under Canada's Ian Millar (9), and Tamino with Marc Houtzager (9). With these outstanding results, the KWPN was the largest studbook by far in the London Olympics and had the most horses competing in the final.
The Secret of KWPN Success
The KWPN (Royal Dutch Sport Horse), an organization with approximately 30,000 members, directs breeding policy for Dutch-bred jumpers and dressage horses. At the foundation of the KWPN's success is a strict selection policy and innovative breeders with expertise in matching the right stallions with the right mares. The KWPN's breeding goal is to produce horses which can compete at the pinnacle of international sport. Furthermore, KWPN horses are known for their courage, intelligence, athletic talent, strength, and good health ̶ traits which are all necessary for performance at the highest level.
Dutch horses are very popular abroad, as evidenced by the 30 KWPN horses which represented 22 different countries in the 2012 London Olympics. Furthermore, Dutch-bred horses comprised the greatest percentage of entries (ca. 30%) as well as the highest medal tally for a studbook at these Olympics, representing a special achievement for KWPN breeders.