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Jos Verlooy: “I feel more confident now than I did back then”

After winning team gold and individual bronze at the FEI Jumping European Championship in Rotterdam in 2019, Belgium’s Jos Verlooy is now getting ready for another major championship: The ECCO FEI Jumping World Championship 2022 in Herning. Just like in Rotterdam, the 27-year-old Belgian will be riding Igor. The now 14-year-old BWP gelding by Emerald out of a Nabab de Reve-mare has been out of action due to an injury, but made a comeback just in time to make it to the Belgian team for Herning. Next to riding on the very top, Verlooy has other ambitions as well: With Kevin Jochems, Brent Onsia and Dave Vermandel, he has created the Young Champions Auction, which will run online from 27th to 30th of August.

“All my friends from school played football – so I did that too”
Son of Axel and Nena Verlooy – who run Eurohorse near Antwerp in Belgium – Jos grew up surrounded by horses. “I was brought up at the stables, but all my friends from school played football – so I did that too when I was younger,” Jos recalls. “I was not really into riding when I was young, but after a while I got a pony that I started to win with. When I started winning, I got more motivated to keep on going! Today, my father buys and sells a lot of horses and makes sure I keep having good horses in the stable while my mother keeps everything running smoothly.”

“Luckily, we got Igor back right on time”
Currently, Jos is getting ready for the World Championship in Herning, which takes place from 6 to 14 August. “I am very happy to have Igor back on time,” Jos tells. “He was out due to an injury for a while. Luckily, we got him back on track right on time to get him ready for the World Championship. Three months ago, I decided that at the World Championship in Herning will be my main goal with him, when he is 100% fit – and it looks like everything is going according to our plan. Let’s hope that all goes to plan in two weeks as well!”

After the 2019 FEI Jumping European Championship in Rotterdam, where Verlooy was part of the winning Belgian team and won individual bronze, the 27-year-old feels confident ahead of Herning. “I feel more confident now than I did back then,” he explains. “In Rotterdam, I was still in a position where I needed to prove that I am good enough to do a senior championship. That was in the back of my mind all the time; I knew I had to do well there. In Belgium, the level is so high that you really have to prove yourself. I must say that after Rotterdam, everything went uphill for my career – I got such a boost of confidence out of our success there.”

The ECCO FEI Jumping World Championship 2022
“My first main goal for Herning is helping the team,” Jos says about his plan for the 2022 World Championship. “I think with this team we have to aim for a medal. Even though the competition will be tough, I think we have strong horse-and-rider combinations. All the rest is bonus… Of course I am dreaming of an individual medal, but my first big goal is to help the team – this is what I also said going into Rotterdam, that everything after the team event is a bonus. I am going to just ride every round as good as possible and jump as many clear rounds as I can and see where we end up!”

New project: Young Champions Auction
With Kevin Jochems, Brent Onsia and Dave Vermandel, Verlooy has created an online auction: Young Champions Auction, running from 27th to 30th of August. “Where the idea came from? We are a close group of friends and we were talking about how Brent and Dave are very good in finding good three- and four-year-old horses, and how many connections they have to different breeders,” Jos tells. “That is not mine and Kevin’s strongest point; we don’t have time for that, because we are every week at a show. However, we see many horses when we are competing. We kept talking and came to a point where we thought that since we keep finding so many good horses in the different categories, maybe we should just buy the ones we like and organize an auction. We thought this could open some new doors for us. I think the four of us are a great team, because we are all strong in different areas: Me and Kevin are better with the older horses, while Brent and Dave know the younger ones. That is how we rolled into it.”

Riding on the very top himself, Verlooy knows how hard finding those good horses is. “It is very hard,” he says. “The horses we have in the auction are horses we would buy ourselves; it is not an auction where you have horses from other people, all the horses belong to us to begin with. Most of the horses have already been with us over eight months, and we have competed with them. We want to show the customers how the horses are at a show.”

“I definitely see a future and hope we can grow together,” Jos continues to tell about the Young Champions Auction. “I think we started slowly with an online auction, but we certainly want to do a live auction as well. Maybe not this year, or the next, but we have thought about starting with a small live auction with our current customers. Over the years, hopefully we can do a bigger live auction as well. We think of this as a long-term project and we want to grow.” When looking for horses, Verlooy in general looks for the scopey, careful horses. “However, we don’t have horses only for the top riders, we have tried to think about riders on every level,” he explains about the goals he and his partners have with the Young Champions Auction. “We have some nice amateur horses, a nice hunter… In addition, we have horses we can present for top riders that we have high hopes for, as well. Our goal is to one day have a reference that jumps on five-star level. Our range of horses is wide; we have something for all categories from junior riders to the very top.”

“For me as an auction organizer and horse dealer, Barnbridge is a cool tool to use,” Jos says about the Barnbridge-platform. “My favorite feature is the search alert function. In my eyes this feature brings sellers and buyers even faster together. That makes it not only easier for me to find a promising horse for the sales or sport, but also gives an opportunity to sell the horses in the first collection of our Young Champions Auction.”

In collaboration with Jos, Barnbridge offers a 50% discount on the membership with the code “jos50”. Enter the code at the sign-up process to claim your offer. Click to become a Barnbridge-member.

*The promo-code is only valid for two weeks after the publication of this article.

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