‘A number of aspects in our business secure the horses’ welfare’
At Sterrehof Stud quality is the main theme, in every respect. It all adds up to our goal: from foal to Olympic horse. Parallel to this long and ambitious track is our vision, forming the very basis of the ways we run and manage our business. We start from genetically interesting horses with substantial top sport potential. For this talent to fully prosper we create the best possible environmental conditions, starting from optimal care and management. A number of aspects at our yard secure the horses’ welfare. Sterrehof Stud was a herald in this respect ten years ago and continues to be an inspiration ever since.
We feel air, light and space are of the utmost importance to horses. We have therefore built very spacious boxes, which can all be joined without draught. The horses are always provided with fresh air without any dust issues. Apart from an optimal diet the horses are offered the opportunity of having contact, in such a way that they cannot injure each other in the process. The horses can see and smell each other when they’re in the boxes and the rearing stables have fixed groups. The horses are handled a lot from a young age.
We believe the second key aspect to forming a good sport horse is not starting too early and giving them time to learn and absorb. We break in the horses when they’re three years old, but afterwards they get to roam the pastures for another six to twelve months. We do not start gently schooling the young horse until it’s four or five years of age. Our stable riders school the horses up to the Dutch L or M level, always keeping a close eye on their development for further selection. When they have completed this stage, the horses are put in the capable hands of riders such as Marc Houtzager, Julia Kayser and Michael Greeve, who closely fit our philosophy when it comes to handling and schooling horses.
When being schooled the horses are offered a lot of training variation. They are invited to a long and full stretch of gallop on the racetrack, for example, or are taken into the woods for a relaxing hack. All this adds to the horses’ mental wellbeing. The young horses that haven’t been at Marc Houtzager’s and Julia Kayser’s yard for very long, return after the outdoor season to the Nunspeet stud for a few months of holidaying. We do a bit of lunging, turn them out and give them the opportunity to process what they’ve done and learned.