Over the past few days, many legendary top horses have blessed the Grand Place arena with their presence. But today, at nightfall, and just before the start of the 5* class, a very special lady stepped onto the grass. At that moment, the arena, the public and the entire Brussels Stephex Masters all revolved around one absolute top horse: Gancia De Muze.
To the sound of Coldplay’s Fix You, Niels Bruynseels rode Gancia into the arena. On the screens, a magnificent video highlighting her most memorable performances was shown. The images were accompanied by a beautifully recorded message, from Niels to the horse of his life: “No one has ever done better than you here. That is why it is here that we say goodbye to what we loved most: competing and winning.” Never before have so many tears flowed in a Stephex arena. Almost everyone who played an important role in the shared story of Niels and Gancia was there: breeder Perry De Winter, owners Krystle Wienen and Erna Vaes, grooms Jana Bannister, Keo Balateau (Frank Delvallet), family, friends… It was also very moving to see how fellow riders, came to pay their respects to the pair before they entered the arena.
Yesterday we spoke to Niels about the upcoming farewell.
This is the ideal location to say goodbye to Gancia’s athletic career.
“Yes, this is her place. She won the Rolex Grand Prix here in 2017 and 2019. We only live 20 minutes from here so I am very happy we could share this moment at the Brussels Stephex Masters.”
If you could describe Gancia in 3 words, what would those be?
“Unbelievable, just 1 single word sums up who Gancia is.”
What is your favorite memory with Gancia?
“It is very difficult to choose one moment. Winning just one 5* Grand Prix is incredible, but she gave me 8. Of course winning in Brussels in front of our home crowd was something you can never forget.”
Gancia has a very unique personality. Are you going to miss that as well?
“Oh yes, I will of course miss our dynamic in competitions but I am really grateful to the owners she can stay with me for a long time to come. So I will still get to hang out with her as much as I want.”
What will her days be like from now on?
“She goes in the field every day, but not to long and not to short. She tells me really clearly when she wants to go out and come in. She also found a nice friend to keep her company.”
Are you going to breed her?
“Yes that is the plan. We have some breeding programs set up already. So the future is looking bright as well.”
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