Breeding News

Portrait of Successful Breeders

Frank van der Valk and Jacqueline van Anholt, Holland, are the breeders of the successful dressage horse and breeding stallion Painted Black.

Frank van der Valk and Jacqueline van Anholt (Photo: KWPN).
Frank van der Valk and Jacqueline van Anholt (Photo: KWPN).
Breeders Frank van der Valk and Jacqueline van Anholt deserve credit for their mare line. Although their good fortune seems to simply have happened, such is not the case. Even with their Ferro-daughter Litchy, it took some time before her quality as a broodmare was generally respected. In the meantime, her critics have fallen silent. Litchy’s oldest son, THE KWPN APPROVED STALLION Painted Black, is ranked fifth and best Royal Dutch Sporthorse in the WBFSH Ranking. Her other son by Gribaldi, Painted Black II (Genesis), is approved by the NRPS, as well as in Oldenburg and Sweden. In 2006, he won the VSN trophy for 3 yr old. To top it all off, Litchy’s third son, Zizi Top, (s.Tango) was approved by the KWPN in 2007.
Not only a top sport horse but also a succesful sire (Photo: Ridehesten.com).
Not only a top sport horse but also a succesful sire (Photo: Ridehesten.com).
Conversations about Litchy and Painted Black are never without reference to the breeders of these two horses: Frank van de Valk of Ommel and Jacqueline van Anholt of Roggel. The two purchased Litchy’s dam Vrona (Officier x Ransi s.Kristal) in 1989. “We bought Vrona as a ten-year-old, although Jacqueline started riding her when she was three. Jacqueline showed Vrona through Z level (3rd/Med) dressage. She was an exceptionally fun and easy mare. She always got noticed at the shows. People often approached me and asked if she was for sale. Vrona was a long-lined, big mare with lovely presence. What’s more, she used her hind legs powerfully”, explains Frank van de Valk.
“Although Jacqueline could have kept on riding Vrona, we decided to buy her. When Vrona was twelve years old, she got injured, so we bred her to Zuidhorn. Unfortunately, that foal was stillborn. Then we decided to breed her to Ferro. At that time, people didn’t have much good to say about Ferro. Later, all that bad talk stopped, but he wasn’t a very popular breeding stallion at the time. We chose him for his compact conformation. Vrona was very long-lined, and we wanted a more compact horse. Furthermore, we wanted to ensure we got a horse that used its hind legs well like Vrona, which is another reason why we chose Ferro,” clarifies Van de Valk. The result was a filly named Litchy. He continues: “Our plan was a success. Litchy was more compact than Vrona. Furthermore, she was a really nice filly—very fancy with powerful movement.” Van de Valk and Van Anholt decided to keep Litchy.

Litchy, shown by Roger Schulkens, is the dam of three licensed sons, amongst which is Painted Black  (Photo: Dirk Caremans).
Litchy, shown by Roger Schulkens, is the dam of three licensed sons, amongst which is Painted Black (Photo: Dirk Caremans).
Litchy grew up healthy and happy. Van de Valk and Van Anholt decided to breed her as a three-year-old. Van de Valk: “Jacqueline actually wanted to start showing Litchy, but she was slow to mature mentally, so we decided to first breed her. That gave her another year to mature. We decided to breed her to Gribaldi. It was the first time we chose this stallion. We fell for his beautiful conformation. Like I said, Litchy wasn’t very big, so we thought that breeding her to Gribaldi would give us a bigger foal. At the time we chose Gribaldi, he was not yet approved, so we acted a bit prematurely when we decided on him.”
A year later, Painted Black was born. “We really liked Painted as a foal. He had plenty of neck, beautiful conformation, and lots of power and suppleness in his movement. We thought he used his hind legs extremely well.”, Van de Valk explains. Painted Black was sold at the foal auction in Liessel. The Awater family and Walter van den Brand purchased him.
Winning silver at the world championships in Verden as a 6 year old with Anky van Grunsven (Photo: Ridehesten.com).
Winning silver at the world championships in Verden as a 6 year old with Anky van Grunsven (Photo: Ridehesten.com).
Van de Valk: “We’ve always followed him. He was presented at the KWPN Stallion Selection as a three-year-old but wasn’t approved. Tanja Awater started riding him and gave him an important training foundation. She also rode him in the Pavo Cup, the dressage competition for young horses.” Later he came into training with Hans Peter Minderhoud, a specialist in young horses. The plan was for Minderhoud to present him at the stallion competition and so he did. Although he didn’t always score high, Painted Black received positive attention at the Stallion Competition time after time. He was a horse for the future. Anky van Grunsven and Sjef Janssen thought so too and purchased him together with Joop van Uytert and the Kelders family from the IPS Horse Group. Van Grunsven captured a silver medal with Painted Black at the World Championships for Young Dressage Horses and continued training him through Grand Prix. In the meantime, Painted Black had been approved by the KWPN.
Showing passage at an international dressage event (Photo: Ridehesten.com).
Showing passage at an international dressage event (Photo: Ridehesten.com).
The rest of the story is known... Van Grunsven and Painted Black have won several times at major international shows. In Amsterdam, the pair captured the win in the Freestyle with the superb score of 81.25%, an excellent achievement.
An international dressage horse and three approved stallions out of one mare is quite an accomplishment. Did Van de Valk and Van Anholt ever think this would happen? “Developing a line means being very dependent on where and with whom your foals end up. If Painted Black hadn’t ended up with Anky, the chance of him becoming a top international dressage horse would have been much smaller. On the other hand, if he weren’t such a good horse, Anky never would have looked his way.
At stallion licensing (Photo: Ridehesten.com).
At stallion licensing (Photo: Ridehesten.com).
The line we breed with was rather unknown prior to Painted Black’s time, but that was not a reason for us not to breed that line. It’s not that we don’t think a good dam-line is important; rather the opposite: We chose this line because we were really impressed by its horses. The foals we bred out of this line were of very high quality and developed into beautiful young horses, which motivated us to continue. Our decision to continue the line and our unwavering believe in Vrona and Litchy has resulted in the line becoming well-known and therefore interesting to breeders. And we’re proud of that. We’re also very thankful for Litchy. Our line has flourished because of her offspring”, concludes Van de Valk.