In conversation with Fred van Straaten sr.

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Which characteristics should a (show jumping) foal have to be selected for Foal Auction Prinsjesdag?
“The foals need to be built properly. We want the people, that buy at our auction, to be satisfied with their horse, even years later.” Sports and health are related. “If a foal does not have a good pair of legs, it can suffer from injuries later.” But properly built also means a well-built, functional body. Top athletes have a body that is suitable for top sport. Therefore, a foal with a sunken spine or joints that are too straight will not be selected. ”

The power of performance?
“We’re looking closely at the dam. Did she perform in sports herself? We usually want the dam, granddam and great granddam to have achieved something in sport or have remarkable sport horses in her offspring. We believe this is a good indication of the attitude and character of a horse, and it also says something about health. A great deal of performing is related to the character. A top athlete is able to achieve great performances, even if he feels some pain. We want horses that will fight for you. We select with that in mind. When a foal comes in the arena and it’s vigorous, it moves with a lot of energy. And if you see that it doesn’t stick to the mother but making its own plan, then you know; this is a good one. ”

Prinsjesdag has been top of the bill for many years now when it comes to auctioning foals, where do you find them?
“As the selection committee we start at a very early stage. We speak to many breeders, before the foals have even been born. We know what mares they have and keep an eye on what stallions they use. We don’t select according to our own preferences. During the selection all we do is keep the buyers in mind. You learn from years of experience what they want us to auction. Willem van Hoof and I always select foals together. We are a close working auction team. By evaluating the auction each year we improve the selection again and again. We not only select among the larger breeders, we’re always looking for the most interesting genetic material and also try to reach the breeders with only one or two interesting foals. Our trusted and experienced breeders are our unique selling point. We have a strong group of loyal contenders. It’s important that both our trusted breeders and clients leave our auction feeling good about their participation.”

What do you expect from this years auction?
“I think we’ve selected genetically very high-quality material this year. The pedigree structure of our foals is improving each year because we sharpen our criteria every year. We try to be even more critical of the foals offered. We’re looking for quality above quantity. We also did our very best to select some interesting fillies. And I think that worked out well. This year we have selected a number of For Pleasure foals. His offspring is doing very well in sports currently. Many people try to breed a foal by him, but the semen is expensive and it will run out sooner or later. At our auction, people can choose from no less than four For Pleasure foals, all of them from top mother lines. Sometimes when you’re selecting, you feel like you’re in a very big candy shop. You just can’t choose! ”

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