Willem Greve: "Attitude is what defines a good sport horse!"

Willem Greve: "Attitude is what defines a good sport horse!"

Willem Greve is one of the best show jumpers in the Netherlands. A self-made top rider who is also closely connected to breeding. "Attitude is what defines a good horse," Greve says. "That's what makes a horse a true sport horse. How can you breed that? To start with, you need to know which stallion to cross with which mare... it all begins with closely following the sport."

"There's always a strong connection between breeding and sport. I often get asked if I have inside information. But in reality, a true breeder always closely follows the sport and then follows their gut feeling, that's how good horses are born. Because no matter how many commercial breeders there are, ultimately, a good breeder is one who wants to breed a good sport horse. So they always think long-term," Greve explains.

"A breeder doesn't make their choice of stallions on a screen or on paper, but sees them live... that's just the way it is," Greve continues. "This is also evident in Belgium. In the Netherlands, you sometimes see too few breeders on the sidelines of the arena. In Belgium, it's completely different. I was present at Jumping Mechelen in 2022. It's wonderful to see how Belgian breeders were lined up by the arena, watching the stallions to make a suitable choice. Well, it's just different than in the Netherlands."

A big difference between sport and top sport"In top sport, the most important characteristic of a horse is its attitude. However, you only find out about it when you ask it of them. To put it in an American way: 'Does he rise to the occasion?' With a good horse, you feel the adrenaline at that moment. A true competition horse will give its best when it's needed," Greve continues.

"They may have a lot of talent and potential, but in the end, at the highest level, what makes the difference is the horse's attitude. Because the horse also needs to want to play the game at that level."

"Attitude is also important in trading, although it often translates into a well-behaved horse that is willing to cooperate."