German public embraces the Flanders Foal Auction

“We’ve got a bid for EUR 20,000! From over there… across the pond,” smiled auctioneer Koen Olaerts from his auction block. The arena at Holger Hetzel’s equestrian centre was flooded after heavy rainfall. Although the foals at the Flanders Foal Auction happily pranced their way through the water, the people leading them found the saturated ground heavy going. Nevertheless, the “Flanders Seafoals” as presenter Henner Hoeschen called them still sold well. The average hammer price was EUR 18,524 and all foals found new owners on the auction day. The outcome was very positive despite the weather being on the chilly side for a Saturday evening in summer. The highlight of the auction was Walnut de Muze granddaughter Eyeflash DW Z (Emerald x For Pleasure).

It was pouring with rain as the 6-year-olds battled it out in the Young Horse Championship final in Holger Hetzel’s arena. But spirits were high throughout the afternoon and evening, despite the adverse weather, because Hetzel’s rider Laurens Houben secured both first and second place. Belgian rider Houbens treated himself to a fantastic filly foal with the Roosakker line in its pedigree for EUR17,000: impressively sized and powerfully built Celine Z (Cornado I x Balou du Rouet).


Holger Hetzel also put in a successful bid with the help of his “right hand women”, Anna Lehmeyer and Christine Dorenkamp, both longstanding members of his team. The hammer came down at EUR 23,000 and Holger is now the proud owner of Chamarco (Chacoon Blue x Cornet Obolensky) a foal with Corofino I and II in its bloodline.

Dutch rider Bart Bles was also included in the contract and joined the syndicate. He purchased one of the colt foals with the most beautiful and impressive canter seen that evening for EUR 15,000: Tiziano (Balou du Reventon x Boss VDL). “My 1.60m grand prix horse Elovely was half-sister to the foal’s dam,” explained Bles. “This colt foal is an absolute dream.”

15 of the 21 foals, representing over 70 percent of the collection, were sold on the day. Only one week previously, in Moerzeke, two-thirds of the foals were sold to online or telephone bidders.

Loyal sponsors

Ulli Horrig from Luxemburg made a substantial investment in five foals at the Flanders Foal Auction. He has been a loyal sponsor of Holger Hetzel since 1990 and he also had plenty to celebrate because his horse Carrera Crystal (by Carrera VDL) came second in the six-year-olds final. “He bought the horse at my auction last year,” said Holger Hetzel, who was delighted with the result of the Flanders Foal Auction that he’d staged in conjunction with his Tiemeyer x Hetzel Young Horse Masters competition.


“Even before the auction I knew the last foal to go under the hammer was my favourite,” said Ulli Horrig. “The mare by Emerald is a descendant of the Walnut de Muze dam line.” She attracted a lot of interest from potential buyers, culminating in an exciting bidding duel that ended at EUR 40,000 to loud applause.

Before that, Horrig had purchased another four foals. “I saw them at the presentation. I’ve been buying foals for 50 years and many of them have grown up to be international competition horses. Who knows, maybe these foals will be going to competitions with the Hetzel team, too. My relationship with Holger? We’ve been friends for forty years. I bought his very first grand prix horse and we’ve experienced a lot together over the years.”

The second most expensive colt foal of the evening was handsome Cha Cha A Z (Comme il Faut x Diamant de Semilly) at EUR 36,000. “The auction was fantastic and we’re really happy it’s gone so well. It was great to see how the expert public appreciated the foals and we’re delighted the concept appealed to them,” said Luk Van Puymbroeck and Gerald Lenaerts, summing up.

Photo's/author: Wendy Scholten