Studbook Zangersheide, on the eve of its tenth anniversary, has taken an important initiative for a Belgian jumping team. From now on Ludo Philippaerts, Jos Lansink and Marc Van Dijck will appear in the international arena wearing 'the yellow-rimmed blue coat'. These three riders will form, according to team-builder Léon Melchior, the basis of the Belgian Studbook Zangersheide team. The trio - Ludo Philippaerts and Jos Lansink in the top-ten of the world list and Marc Van Dijck not far from it - will be further expanded in the near future. First objective of Zangersheide and Léon Melchior is to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Studbook by promoting and stimulating the jumping sport in Belgium as in the same way they have been supporting sport and breeding over the past more than thirty years. Jumping Mechelen will be the 'opening night' for the blue-coats.
The Malesan (French wine-sellers) team has been trend-setter for many years. When Malesan's PDG, Bernard Magrez, retired, there were no real teams left. During the past years several teams returned on a commercial basis. In Great Britain this was the Traxdata team with Peter Charles and others and Virtual Village with the Whitaker brothers and Geoff Billington. Italy has Loro Piana. But the big bang came with the 'green' team of Swedish electro-technical giant Ericksson who contracted Franke Sloothaak, Marcus Ehning (Germany), Jerry Smith (Italy), Markus Fuchs (Switzerland), Olivier Guillon (France) and Maria Gretzer (Sweden) in one sweep. With the arrival of Studbook Zangersheide's 'Blue-yellow' team, the pattern of riding-coat colours becomes even more intricate. Léon Melchior's first priority is not to give more 'local colour' to horse events, but to stimulate the Belgian horse sport - which received Jos Lansink with open arms - with a team and to promote Studbook Zangersheide, and therefore breeding in general.
"We have thought about it a long time, we studied and considered the plan, and came to the conclusion that the best opportunity for our studbook and the Belgian horse sport was to build a top-class team. We have constantly aimed to realise both targets. With a top-class team starting in national and international competitions, there to have outstanding success, we realise a double-function both towards the Belgian jumping sport and to Studbook Zangersheide", explains Léon Melchior, who ten years ago, when presenting the studbook at Jumping Maastricht, was not yet taken seriously by the, specifically, larger studbooks in Germany, the Netherlands and France. That the 'midget' among the 'giants' has meanwhile grown up and entered the third millennium under European flag, and, on its way, stamped the world championships for young showjumping horses - in spite of opposition - out of the ground, is now taken for granted.
The team, with Ludo Philippaerts and Jos Lansink, already in the absolute world-top for over ten years, and 'rookie' Marc Van Dijck, will be further expanded with other Belgian riders in the near future. The idea is, in consultation with the KBRSF (Royal Belgian Riding Sport Federation), to add always one or two other Belgian top-riders to the 'blue coat' team for major international (read: nations cup) competitions. "Evidently, riders will be added", says Léon Melchior. "But always in mutual agreement and good harmony with the all riders concerned, with the jumping committee and the KBRSF management."
The Belgian team that to everyone's surprise, won the 2001 Nations Cup in Aachen consisted of Philippe Le Jeune (Nabab de Rêve), Marc Van Dijck (Verelst Goliath), Jos Lansink (AK Caridor Z) and Ludo Philippaerts (Verelst Parco). The team that concluded the Nations Cup in Dublin with a victory also had as a basis the three riders which recently signed a contract with Studbook Zangersheide, this time with addition of Stanny Van Paesschen (O de Pomme).
Jos Lansink has been successfully promoting the success of Studfarm Zangersheide for several years. To attract additional riders, who each individually are protecting the interests of separate sponsors and owners, will not form an impediment for building up a Studbook Zangersheide Team. Léon Melchior is quite clear about this: "I know how hard it is to stay with the top in the jumping sport and how difficult it sometimes is for riders to find a sponsor or convince an owner not to sell his horse. So I will give the team complete carte blanche. The decision which horses from which owners (Ludo Philippaerts and Marc Van Dijck are riding for Stal Schranshof from Luc Verelst) and the Belgian riders that will be added later, is totally left up to the individual rider. Studbook Zangersheide does not mind that horses from third parties carry a pre- or affix that represents a certain sponsor or owner, such as in the case of the Verelst-horses. Of course, this cooperation could only be realised in good consultation with and with the agreement of Luc Verelst. And the cooperation will even go further than that: all stallions started by Ludo Philippaerts and Marc Van Dijck will be registered with Studbook Zangersheide.