Gregory Wathelet sees his top horse Conrad de Hus (Con Air x Locato) leave to the USA. The 11-year old stallion will now be ridden by Double H Farm rider Quentin Judge. In 2014 Gregory rode Conrad de Hus at the World Equestrian Games in 2014. ‘It’s an exceptional horse but he hasn’t got a lot of experience‘, Gregory said back then. But being the least experienced horse of the Belgian squad Conrad proved to be a real fighter. The duo was the only Belgian combination who made it to the final team test. Last year they showed that they have grown because Gregory and Conrad took the silver medal at the European Championships in Aachen.
‘I see Conrad’s departure with mitigated sentiment‘, says Gregory Wathelet on his website. ‘On one hand, I am sad and disappointed to lose such an exceptional horse, who allowed me to realize the best season of my career last year, and in particular this medal in Aachen. On the other hand, it’s always been Xavier-Marie’s wish and so I have a feeling of mission accomplished. I prefer to see the situation this way, I’ve been privileged that his owner trusted me by keeping him for such a long time and that I could count on him for 3 whole seasons at the top level. We all know that we have the obligation to sell regularly “to make business run” and it is part of our sport. We have to be prepared for such departures. Even if it is clear that in the present case, it is not very convenient. I am of course very happy to know that he will join a stable where I know he will be very well treated, because he truly deserves it. In 2014, he allowed me to realize a double clear round in the Nations Cup in Aachen, with a victory in the end, and to take part to the World Championship in Caen with a spot in the final. Then in 2015, I won the GP5* in Chantilly, the Nations Cup in St Gall, as well as the big final in Barcelona by realizing the only double clear round of that course. I also finished 4th in Bales and 6th in Calgary. And there’s also of course my silver medal in Aachen during the summer.’
Gregory restarted the stallion in Oliva after a few weeks of rest. Conrad will remain in Gregory’s stable for a few more weeks and Gregory will help the new rider. ‘Moreover, I will still ride him “at home”, which makes me happy and somewhat reduces my pain to see him go‘, says Gregory. ‘I thank the entire team who took excellent care of him during these 3 years, and contributed to his well being. I also thank of course the Haras de Hus for the trust they placed in me and the opportunity they offered me to ride such an incredible horse. I remember very vividly the first time I jumped with him at the Haras, I told Xavier and Gilles that I had not often ridden an 8-year old of this quality. And Conrad proved me right.‘ Seeing Conrad leave is also bad news for the Olympic dream of Gregory. He is the best placed Belgian rider to get himself a spot to Rio. Of course he dreamed of doing that with Conrad de Hus but now he won’t be able to count on his trustable friend. But the Belgian rider still has some other aces like Taalex and Oh d’Eole at his stable.