July 21, 2020
At last weekend’s measuring moment in Snelrewaard Epke 474 acquired his last points for the Sport Elite predicate! His regular lady rider Sabine van der Loenhorst is terribly proud of him. ‘He keeps getting stronger and better and he’s capable of so much more. The Grand Prix is beckoning…’
Van der Loenhorst is especially pleased with the points they received for the series. ‘I can feel that he’s still gaining strength. Earlier he sometimes struggled to stay on the hind leg in the pirouettes. Then I was a little unsure whether he would manage the series that came after it. But now this went fine on both reins: no mistakes in the series, nice and straight and that resulted in a 7,5 and an 8.’
Height at withers 1.74
She is a stable rider at De Nieuwe Heuvel in Lunteren and has had Epke under saddle ever since he returned from the Performance Test. ‘With his 1.74 height at withers he is a bit of a ‘giant’. That’s a lot of horse to ride together and around here I’m the smallest so it was quite obvious that I got to ride him… wasn’t it?! But at any rate, aboard such a big horse, at least I can talk to the others at eye level.’
Sabine felt a connection with the Beart 411 son right from the beginning. ‘He is a stallion with a bit of an attitude – especially in unfamiliar surroundings he has a tendency to make his presence felt – but in actual fact he is more of a softie. He is very level-headed and trusts me entirely. Five years ago we took part in the Hippiade in the M1 and a turn in the weather brought rain and really strong winds. The tip of the Jury stand kept popping upwards when it was my turn to ride the test. The girl who had to collect the test protocols needed to hang on to the roof so that the Jury stayed dry. Epke however carried on as usual as if nothing happened. The Jury was very impressed with him because he stayed so cool. ’
With this 63,5% score in the Prix St. Georges the stallion now has five winning points and is allowed to carry the Sport Elite predicate behind his name. Sabine typifies ‘her’ stallion as very easy during handling and riding. ‘I think this is typical of Friesian horses, once you have taught them something they’ll never forget it. That’s why they’re such enjoyable horses.
Point of attention
By now the rider knows where to put the focus in her training so that the scores will go up and the combination can push on to the Inter I and further. ‘In walk and trot he is very well established and safe; there we score sevens across the board. It’s the canter work, and especially the pirouettes where there is room for improvement. He must learn to come just a bit more on the hind leg so that I can ride them with more precision. Right now I don’t want to take any risk and therefore ride them slightly too big, so that he stays balanced.’
Privately, Sabine already dares to think of the Grand Prix with this stallion. ‘Once before I started a horse in the Grand Prix, that was my own Friesian stallion Goofy (Goffert 369). Epke definitely has the talent for piaffe and passage. When I close my hand and give a little bit of leg he already moves so beautifully.’ She often trains together with Marijke Boelen and both help each other out when necessary. Once every three to four weeks Sabine travels to Alex van Silfhout with her stallion.
Epke passes his size and beautiful breeding type on to his offspring. Sabine: ‘His offspring inherit his wonderful neck and lovely head. That appearance and finely-chiselled face, almost Arabic, with the small ears, you find that in his foals too.’ At the recent foal inspection in Lunteren his daughter Menna (maternal sire Teeuwis), owned by D. Dekkers, received a 9 for breeding type. Daughter Willeke H. Crown achieved 86,5 and 83,5 points in the ABFP Test and daughter Ytske J.S. became Champion 4- to 6-year-old mares at last year’s Central Inspection.
Epke 474 was bred by A. Duyster in Grolloo and is now owned by Jaap van der Meulen.
Text: Christine Dijk
Photo: Karin Sevink