“It is always a bit of a gamble with foals, but when you get a good one, you do have something special, which you would not have been able to get by the time it is a 4-yr-old!”

Buyer: Chris van Dam

1. Why did Bonne Chance appeal to you at the auction at the time?
“She was a very sympathetic and powerful filly. A real Baloubet with a lot of white markings and a powerful canter.”

2. What was Bonne Chance like as a youngster?
“She was a very unique, sensitive mare. Myself, Sijbrand and Titia Iwema were her owners at the time. She was reared at their trotter studfarm, Flevofarm. As a foal, Bonne Chance already displayed a powerful character. She could suddenly have a go at you in the field. We bred a colt from her by Vaillant. He jumped very well and looked a lot like his dam. Unfortunately he had a fatal accident in the field.”

3. How did Bonne Chance’s training proceed?
“After Bonne Chance was saddle-broken, Soraya Niessen started her as a youngster. She was not the easiest kind of horse and when handling her, you had to keep a sharp eye. I remember that we had a clinic at our stables just before Outdoor Gelderland. Marc Houtzager just wanted to take her blanket off, but she reacted as a diva, you could see her thinking: Shall I get you or not? (see photograph). Herman Seiger bought her when she was 5-yrs-old. He had her started by Steven Veldhuis. As a 6-yr-old she was sold to her current rider, Janika Sprunger.”

4. Did Bonne Chance live up to your expectations?
“She did more than that. You can recognize quality in a foal, but you have no idea if they are going to make it. When you buy ten of them, strike off two straight away and just wait and see with the rest, how they grow up and do well in the sport. Bonne Chance is performing phenomenally well at the highest international level.”

5. Was the bidding exciting at the time?
“I was fairly relaxed, because at the time I was part of the organization. I had already picked out three or four foals beforehand, which interested me. Bonne Chance was well up on that list.

After the auction I spoke to Cees van den Oetelaar. He told me that I had bought a good foal, but that it had not been the best one. I thought, I bought the wrong one, for I had stayed in the bidding longer than I normally do. € 14,500. – was a lot of money for me. In retrospect, I have been very lucky with such a top-class horse and she has been more than worth it, far more.”

6. Would you advise people to buy a foal at the Prinsjesdag Foal Auction?  Why buy a foal and not a 3- or 4-yr-old?
“I personally like buying a foal at an auction. I love to see them grow up and discover whether you have recognized the potential at the time. I believe that when you buy a number of foals, you spread your chances. Prinsjesdag Foal Auction struck off on a stiff course 15 years ago and would only accept foals from proven ancestries.

The selection is very strict and the selection committee scouts only for the very best. When committee members have to go abroad for that reason, they will. This auction is also very innovative, currently, for example, with embryo’s. It is always a bit of a gamble with foals, but when you get a good one, you do have something special which you would not have been able to get by the time it is a 4-yr-old!”

Click HERE for the interview with breeder Harry van Loon.

Click HERE for the interview with rider Janika Sprunger