Welsh Cob Promotion Day - Stal Gerstloo, Netherlands
Welsh Cob Promotion Day at Stal Gerstloo Welsh Cobs with Helma and Herman de Jong
Saturday June 2nd2012.
Invitation to comment and advise on harness driving Welsh Cobs.
It was with great excitement that we, Jan Howells and myself, set out from Chepstow in Wales on Wednesday morning May 30th 2012 to drive to Dover to catch the 12:05 pm Dover to Calais ferry then drive through France to Belgium and on to Eefde in the Netherlands. Despite a long delay on the Antwerp ring road we arrived in good time to have dinner with Helma and Herman de Jong at Stal Gerstloo Welsh Cobs at Eefde.
I met Herman many years ago at the Trefaes Stud with Huw and Carys Davies and daughters, and I have had the pleasure of interviewing Herman many times at The Royal Welsh Show for BBC Radio Wales and local Radio Ceredigion. Jan and I were fortunate enough to visit Herman and Helma on November 17th 2011 to celebrate my birthday, and during that memorable visit Herman took us to The Royal Palaces of Queen Beatrix of Holland at Het Loo Palace in Apeldoorn and the Royal Stables at The Hague and we were given a personal tour of the palaces to see their full collection of Royal Carriages, Harness and horses by the kindness of Mr Hans van Nierop and Mr Jeremy van Brakel. Herman de Jong is the official blacksmith to the Queen of Holland and Herman has bred welsh cobs based on Trefaes bloodlines since 1986. In fact Jan and Helma and her mother Sine, were so excited when we visited the Christmas markets at The Het Loo Palace with snow on the ground and music playing and of course the excellent shopping. Helma is the current Editor of the Dutch Welsh Pony and Cob Bulletin.
We should offer our Congratulations here to both Herman and Helma on the occasion of their marriage on December 16th 2011. Therefore this Promotional Day for the Welsh Cob on Sat 2nd June 2012 was to promote and celebrate the Welsh Cob as well as an evening party for guests and friends to celebrate their marriage.
There was a contingent of Welsh breeders invited to the day – Huw and Carys Davies Trefaes Stud, Alan and Jan Pearce Glyncoch Stud, Danielle Everitt, Dyrfal Stud and myself and Jan from the Gwarchod Stud. On the morning of Saturday June 2nd the weather was glorious and in the luxurious agricultural setting of Stal Gerstloo we started on the full day’s programme.
First into the arena was the Welsh Cobs in harness to tackle the obstacle trial where they had to drive through cones, bollards and barrels in the quickest possible time with each exhibitor tackling the trial twice and the average time for the two runs being taken. 7 exhibits tried their hand all in 4 wheeled marathon vehicles. This is something I have never seen previously in any show in the UK and is wonderful fun with exhibitors and Welsh Cobs enjoying every minute in front of a cheering crowd of some 250. The breeding behind some of the Welsh Cobs on display contained some well- known prefixes, Trefaes, Derwen, Gerstloo, Horeb, Thorndonparc, Rhystud, Llansantffraed, Fronarth, Abergavenny and Thorneyside.
Then came the harness class with 6 marathon vehicles and one show buggy and I was asked to commentate on the class along with Elbert Koelewijn from the Netherlands. The first thing to strike me was the fitness level of the Welsh Cobs being shown – all lean and fit for the purpose of driving – a very popular pastime in the Netherlands where training is easier because of the flat roads and forest tracks with good visibility for traffic. The exhibitors were all having fun and both they and the Welsh Cobs were enjoying the event. It is obvious to me that the owners and breeders here in this part of Holland were using their Welsh cobs to the full in all disciplines – and taking part in all of the trials set on the day, obstacle course, harness driving, ridden and in-hand. The Welsh Cob stallions and geldings all looked fit and lean and were taking part in all disciplines by young and older exhibitors.
I complemented all exhibitors in the driving classes on their cobs’ fitness and obvious enjoyment by cobs and exhibitors.
Huw and Carys Davies and Danielle Everitt were then involved in commenting and advising on the in-hand and ridden Cs and Ds with Hans Herman Jager from Germany and Elbert Koelewijn from the Netherlands.
The day ended with an evening party to celebrate the marriage of Herman and Helma with a rousing duet of The Welsh National Anthem by popular request from Huw Davies, Trefaes and myself.
What a lovely day with Welsh Cobs, with nice people and wonderful multi – tasking Welsh Cobs organised by two very committed organisers in Herman and Helma de Jong . An excellent promotional day for Welsh Cobs for over 250 visitors with the assistance of a fantastic team of hard working friends and neighbours.
It was lovely to be here and thank you for the invitation.
Dr Glyn Jones and Jan Howells, Gwarchod Stud.
Photographs by www.dyonnebos.nl