Belgian Team Announced for Pratoni

Karin Donckers and Fletcha Van’t Verahof. Photo by William Carey.

Roll up, roll up — get your team fixes here! The latest billing to splash across our news desk is that of the Belgian contingent, who deliver us a team that pairs up serious experience with some of the stars of tomorrow. The team and individual competitors are as follows:

  • Lara de Liedekerke-Meier and Hermione d’Arville – 9-year-old Belgian Sport Horse mare (Birkhof’s Royaldik x Kyra du Relais Pachis, by Kashmir van Schuttershof). Owned by Five Star Eventers SPARL and Larga SPRL.
  • Karin Donckers and Fletcha van’t Verahof – 17-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Vigo d Arsquilles STX x Southern Queen, by Southern Gale). Owned by Joris de Brabandere, Carl Bouckaert, and the rider. Direct reserve: Leipheimer van’t Verahof – 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion (Vigo d Arsquilles STX x Southern Queen, by Southern Gale). Owned by Joris de Brabandere.
  • Senne Vervaecke and Google van Alsingen – 11-year-old KWPN mare (Watch Me x Pinot Brun VH Pannehof, by Forever). Owned by BVBA Alsingen.
  • Jarno Verwimp and Mahalia – 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare (Elvis ter Putte x Cohiba, by Condrieu). Owned by Marc Rigouts and the rider.
  • Individual: Maarten Boon and Gravin van Cantos – 11-year-old KWPN mare (breeding unknown). Owned by the rider.

The team’s lynchpin pair is Karin Donckers and the veteran competitor Fletcha van’t Verahof, who represented Belgium at the 2016 Olympics, the 2014 and 2018 World Equestrian Games, and the 2015, 2017, and 2019 European Championships. Their best result at a championship was individual fifth place at the 2014 World Equestrian Games. Karin also enjoys the luxury of a direct reserve in the form of Leipheimer van’t Verahof, the full brother of Fletcha, with whom she competed at last year’s European Championships.

Five-time National Champion Lara de Liedekerke-Meier also brings considerable team experience to the line-up, though her homebred horse has less mileage: it’ll be a championship debut for the nine-year-old, who stepped up to four-star last season and, after some educational early efforts at the level, has produced some exciting results and earned placings at both short- and long-format. Lara herself has long been a stalwart of the Belgian line-up: she’s got 11 European Championships under her belt, from Pony through to Senior level, and has ridden on three World Championships teams previously. She also competed at the Tokyo Olympics last year, but withdrew before cross-country. Her experience will undoubtedly be an asset to the team, which is then on filled with exciting new faces: Senne Vervaecke, who has six Junior and Young Rider European Championships under his belt, makes his Senior team debut with his eleven-year-old Google van Alsignen, as does 21-year-old Jarno Verwimp, who rides Mahalia, his partner at last year’s Young Rider European Championships. In their last six FEI runs, they’ve notched up five top-five finishes, and look to be an enormously exciting pair for the future.

Rounding out the line-up for Pratoni is individual competitor Maarten Boon, who rides his own Gravin van Cantos in their first-ever Championship. The reserve rider will be  four-time Olympian. Joris Vanspringel with Creator GS, who jumped a steady clear around Badminton this spring.

Final entries and team/individual designations are due to the FEI on September 5. Want to see more from #Pratoni2022? Click on over to our Ultimate Guide to FEI World Championships for more!