Uniting Passion, Expertise, Success and Integrity
Belgian horse breeding tradition is legendary, and, in partnership with Haras De La Pomme, the Stephex team has been a passionate participant for years now. On Thursday evening, August 24th, the Stephex Exclusive Breeding Collection takes center stage. This captivating online and on-site foal auction, presents a rare opportunity to acquire 17 exceptional foals, born from champion bloodlines.
In this blog, you’ll learn more about the 2023 collection, and we’ll reveal how the Pommex breeding team goes above and beyond to ensure the best possible start to life, even long before birth.
Sports and Breeding
Of course, I’m happy with the Pommex foals in this year’s collection,” says Geert Baertsoen of Haras De La Pomme.” After all, Stephan and I only breed foals that we would want in our stables ourselves. That should always be the starting point. If they don’t get sold, we’re still very happy to keep them.” The collaboration between Geert and Stephan Conter originated about 10 years ago. With their own impressive references, Haras De La Pomme excelled in breeding, and Stephex stood at the pinnacle of the sports world. A partnership between the two parties was perhaps written in the stars.
Stephan: “Breeding and sports might appear to be two separate realms. Yet, they are nothing without each other. With Pommex, we at Stephex aim to give back to the breeders by providing them the opportunity to acquire the finest bloodlines and offspring from champion mares.”
These champion mares are prestigious names like Erenice Horta (Diamant de Semilly – Edwina Tops-Alexander), Jeunesse van ’t Paradijs (Emerald – Lorenzo De Luca), Equita van ’t Zorgvliet (Cassini I – Daniel Deusser), Soory de l’Hallali (For Pleasure – Zoe Conter), and Fragile van ‘t Paradijs (Indoctro – Emilie Conter): Outstanding horses with a dedicated work ethic that rightfully merits a graceful retirement after a successful career. And they do get just that. Geert shares, “It’s sometimes said that older sport horses can’t exhibit normal herd behavior anymore. But that’s far from the truth. Just come see how these top mares enjoy our Normandy pastures as a group. These mares have given a lot during their careers. So, it’s only right that they get as much as possible back from us and we ask as little as possible from them. Ethics are our priority. What we absolutely don’t want is to produce as many foals as possible from these mares at any cost. They have 2 to a maximum of 3 pregnancies per year. We don’t freeze embryos, but rather implant them directly into high-quality surrogate mares. Moreover, we do all of this on-site at our farm in Le Pin. With a large breeding station and over 25 years of experience, we are 100% sure that all our horses receive the best possible care.”
According to Geert, one of the fundamental values of Pommex breeding is providing the most optimal start in life, even before birth. “We strive for ideal combinations, treat the mothers like queens, select the finest surrogate mares, and allow the foals to grow up as naturally as possible. They spend their time in herds of around 12 horses on extensive ecological pastures. It’s the proper way. And that’s something I’m truly proud of. When the Stephex Exclusive Breeding Collection is on the horizon, I often receive inquiries from potential buyers who want to know as much as possible about the foals’ lives. I warmly welcome them to Haras de La Pomme so they can witness firsthand how things are done here.”
Whoever finds themselves at Geert’s incredible farm, will spot a gentle bloodmare in the Normandy pastures. Kracotte Z (Kannan) stands out as one of the few remaining direct descendants from the legendary Narcotique De Muze II (Darco x Qerly Chin). In the realm of breeding, she’s maybe even on her way to becoming the new Narcotique. Last year, her filly Wentolaia Pommex (Chacco-Blue x Kannan) was the top-selling foal of the Stephex auction. She moved to France for 70,000 euros. Tom Kerkhofs (Stephex), who manages the auction, is pleased to be able to offer a number of Krakotte Z foals again: “For this edition, we have three lots out of this mare up for auction. These feature combinations with Tobago Z (see below), Catoki, and Hardrock Z.”
This year, the 17 foals in the auction were chosen from a group of 40. Tom stated, “We don’t only look at the lineage, but we also attach equal importance to conformation and movement.” He’s not taking a guess at the auction topper for now. However, according to Tom, there are several foals that stand out: “If you’re aiming for sport at the highest level, be sure to take a look at Casper Pommex Z, a son of Catoki and Erenice Horta (Diamant de Semilly). That’s my personal favorite. Additionally, we have Edna Pommex Z, a very unique Emerald filly out of Equita van ‘t Zorgvliet (Cassini I). With that mare, Daniel Deusser has achieved tremendous success, including winning the GP of Bordeaux. Furthermore, we also present a Heartbreaker colt by Erenice Horta (Diamant de Semilly) and a Baltic VDL filly out of Fragile van ‘t Paradijs (Indoctro), the mare with which Emilie Conter won the silver team medal at the European Championships for junior riders. For stallion owners who want to bring a top horse to the inspection in a few years, it’s worth taking a look at Crackerjack Pommex Z (Comme Il Faut). He’s a son of Valentine de l’Impermeable, who in turn is a Darco mare by Fragrence De Chalus (Jalisco B).”
In addition to Pommex foals, you will also find 2 Kattenheye products in the collection. Tom: “Tony and Mieke Raman from Stal Kattenheye – just like Geert and Trui Baertsoen from Haras De La Pomme – are two immensely passionate breeders whom we greatly admire. That’s why we’ve also provided them with some of our mares to join the breeding program. This year, it resulted in two amazing colt foals: Amarillo-STX van Kattenheye (Chacco-Blue x Amaryllis – by Cumano) and Amigo-STX van Kattenheye (Emerald x Zhalita – by Karandasj).”
Tweedledee and Tweedledum
The Stephex Exclusive Breeding Collection wouldn’t be its unique self without something truly unexpected. And this year, the organization has delivered just that: a brother and sister duo that will be auctioned together. Tom: “Tweedledee Pommex Z and Tweedledom Pommex Z not only look alike, but also share the same amazing parents, Krakotte Z and Tobago Z, and were even born on the exact same day! With their exceptional movement and impressive bloodline, they form a striking couple. We were so captivated by their presence that we made the decision to keep them together as an inseparable duo for one extra lucky buyer.”
It’s a rarity to have the chance to acquire foals like these, and with this auction lot, you’re bringing home two at once. There’s no doubt that breeding enthusiasts will be on the edge of their seats when this irresistibly dynamic pair enters the arena during the auction.
Buying for the future
In addition to being a driving force behind the auction, Tom Kerkhofs is the Sales Director of STX Horsetrucks and a devoted breeding enthusiast. He grew up surrounded by horses, was a competitive rider himself, and chances are high that you’ll run into him at auctions, inspections, or competitions. Tom: “Raising a foal requires a significant commitment, but in my opinion, it’s the most viable route to obtaining a top-tier horse nowadays. Buying a 4 year old exceptional jumper with a similar pedigree to our auction foals is currently financially out of reach for most enthusiasts.”
Exceptional Auction Experience
Although online purchasing is available, all the foals were bought by on-site buyers last year, which is quite remarkable. Tom: “We notice that our buyers really want to be present. They are often riders and owners participating in the Brussels Stephex Masters or passionate equestrians who travel to Wolvertem to see the foals and enjoy the competition. Come auction night, we were pretty nervous though. Last year, only two regular customers bought a foal. We didn’t know the majority of people who had shown interest. So, we didn’t have the slightest idea what might happen. But last year turned out really well. I think that’s because people really appreciate our unique concept. Other auctions select horses at competitions or visit farms to look for them. But we only sell our own foals. We thoroughly know the mothers and manage the entire breeding and upbringing process in-house. Furthermore, we can present a carefully chosen group of horses to the market that we absolutely love.”
The Greatest Compliment
The first Pommex foals are now around 8 years old. That means our older breeding products are starting to prove themselves. Geert says, “We see several early buyers returning to us because they are so satisfied with the sports horses they purchased from us as foals. That’s the most beautiful compliment!”
During the Brussels Stephex Masters (August 23-27, 2023), you can come and visit the foals on-site. It’s not just potential buyers who are welcome at the Stephex stables. Geert adds, “Every year, I am thrilled to see how children from the neighborhood and event attendees who know little about horses are enchanted by our foals. Sharing our passion and the beauty of horse breeding with the outside world in this way is extremely important to us.”
The Stephex Exclusive Breeding Collection will take place on Thursday evening, August 24th. During the auction, you can bid online, or on-site amidst the unparalleled atmosphere of Brussels Stephex Masters in Wolvertem.
Last year’s vibe was incredible, so also be sure to stop by if you want to enjoy an unforgettable evening from the sidelines.