Guy Huybrechts, Anglo European Studbook representative for the United States, and Corine Taymans, president of Vizcaya of the Sun Farms, are bringing a day of special events to Wellington on Tuesday, Feb. 21.
Taymans has more than 30 years of equestrian experience. She was on the pre-Olympic team for Belgium and was a 2015 finalist for the Belgian Dressage Cup. Together, Taymans and Huybrechts have more than 20 years of experience breeding and managing farms.
The first ever Anglo European Studbook Grand Prix of Florida and Stallion Grading Event in the U.S. is coming to the Global Dressage Stadium on South Shore Blvd. on Feb. 21 starting at 9 a.m.
Stallions four years old and older will be divided into four classes based upon their age — four years old, five years old, six years old, and seven years old and older — for jumpers, as well as dressage horses. They will then be assessed, or graded, on different levels, such as their ability, competition level, offspring production and offspring competition levels.
Registration is $250 per horse. To be in the brochure, the fee must be submitted by Feb. 7.
Dressage horses are presented before international judges, Huybrechts said, and the horses will be asked to walk or trot with a rope rather than a rider. In the afternoon, the horses will be asked to perform various elements with a rider. Then, they will be asked to do a freestyle demonstration.
The horses receive points, and at the end, the horse with the most points is the winner. Then, it will be determined if the horse is good enough for breeding.
It is possible for the winning horse and the runner-up to be approved in a class. However, it is also possible to have a winning horse that isn’t approved.
The jumpers have a similar schedule, and will jump a few small jumps in the afternoon.
There are cash prizes for the winners, up to $2,500.
“It depends on who is going to participate, what kind of horses are in each class,” Huybrechts said. “Wellington has a lot of good horses.”
Later in the afternoon is the Grand Prix of Florida, which he said is similar to the Prize of the King in Belgium and the Prize of the Queen in the U.K. It is designed “to reward the most beautiful and talented horse,” he said. “It comes from the old days where the royals would get the most majestic horses. Every year, the breeders in Belgium and the U.K. show their horses to the king and queen to convince them that it should be one of their horses.”
The winner and runner up will receive prizes.
The benefits of grading a horse include that the grading serves as a certificate of quality that the horse is approved for breeding. It compares horses to other horses of the same age, and for breeders, as well as those selling or buying horses, it provides an added value, as approved horses usually sell for higher prices.
“We grade them because we want to be able to give these horses passports,” Huybrechts explained. “A passport is all about identification of the horse and giving the owner the ability to demonstrate that his horse is approved of a certain quality.”
A veterinarian has to mark on the passport the characteristics of the horse.
“The United States Equestrian Federation is requiring all the horses in the U.S. to be [micro]chipped,” he said. “These passports can only be issued by registries like ourselves. The advantage of this is if somebody steals the horse, you can demonstrate ‘this is my horse’ because of the chip, because of the design here and because of the passport, for example.”
If someone wants to purchase a horse, the passport allows a horse to be recognizable and not switched.
Additionally, if a horse is mistreated, the chip identifies the owner of the horse.
Participating in classes, the chip will allow owners to demonstrate both the age of the horse and prove ownership of the horse.
Horses purchased in Europe come with passports, Huybrechts explained. For other horses, the owner would have to go through various procedures for different registries. With Huybrechts and Taymans running a U.S. office, located in Wellington, it offers a convenience for area horse owners.
Horse passports are becoming required, he said, though not every horse has one.
“We’re here to help people get the passport, because it ascertains the identity of the horse. That’s good for the owner, good for the buyer, good for the industry and also very good for the horse because of the wellness and traceability. Vaccines and everything have to be put in here. Everything that’s given to the horse, the veterinarian has to put in here.”
Buying a horse without a passport means the new owner may not have all of the details. With a passport, the details are provided, he said.
“Why do we do all this? First of all, we’re here to support talent,” Huybrechts said. “I believe in talent and quality. We want to really support that. We want to do that by vetting the stallions… For us, it’s about service to the industry and helping talented riders and horses. This is the kickoff of a story that you will see growing over the years to come.”
Sponsorship opportunities are available. To register, or for additional information, visit www.vizcayafarms.com.
ABOVE: Guy Huybrechts and Corine Taymans with Galando.