Bart Junior Vandecasteele is a 15 years old Belgian born into a family with rich expertise in the showjumping sport. Although his parents are the breeders of the famous horse Mr. President, he initially was not interested in horses, and has been a competitive cyclist. Even though he rides for only a year and a half, he has already won several 1.40 classes. And his big dream? Nothing less than to be the world number one!
Bart, when has your riding career started?
I started to ride last Easter. I had ridden very rarely (like ten times a year) before, but I hadn't liked it because I am also a cyclist. But now, I like riding a lot!
Do you remember your first show?
Yes, sure! My very first show was when I was six years old. It was a 70cm class with my shetland pony Red Bull!
Are your parents also equestrians, or are you the first in the family?
Every holiday, my parents organize training camps for people from all over the world. They are mostly Belgians, but there are also riders from Mexico and the United States, for example. My dad was a puissance rider when he was young, but he had to stop his career after a severe fall at the Belgian Championship when he was 19 years old. My mum was his first student. She used to ride a lot but she stopped when she was pregnant with me. She won the Grand Prix of La Baule, a big tournament in Great Britain, and she was also 4th in the qualification for the World Championship. Nowadays, my dad is the owner of Espoir 5 (one of the best horses of a Belgian rider Pieter Devos). My parents are also the breeders of Hello Mr. President, who is ridden by Scott Brash.
Why did you choose showjumping?
My parents are both involved in the showjumping business,
and my dad is one of the best trainers in Belgium. Besides, I just like to jump courses in the arena.
If you look at your riding career so far, what are you proud of the most?
It is probably the 3rd place in the Belgium Cup, and the consecutive 1st and 2nd place in a 1.40 class at the Golden Booth shows in the past weeks. I also claimed 7th place at the Belgian Championship last week.
Do you have an idol, someone you look up to in the showjumping sport?
Yes, for sure! My biggest idols are Nick Skelton, Scott Brash, and Pieter Devos.
Where would you like your future to go? Would you like to do only the sport, or would you also like to study and have a civil career?
I don't know right now. I definitely want to do sport in the future, but I'm unsure whether it will be cycling or riding right now. I will further study management in Great Britain too.
What is your ultimate dream in our sport?
My dream is to be world no°1.
How does your typical day look like?
I get up at 8 a.m., and I go riding. I mostly ride three horses in the morning. Then I have lunch, and I ride two more horses in the afternoon. In the evening, I go for a ride with my bike for 2 hours. Then I have a shower, eat dinner, and go to bed at half past eight.
What did you think when you heard of EQUIMO at first?
At first, I thought that it was yet another thing that just doesn't work right. Then, I went to the website and saw so many exciting things, so I was delighted!
How often do you use it?
I use it a lot. We also have horses for sale, and I ride them too, but I always use EQUIMO for my four horses who jump shows with me.
Which functions do you like the most?
The most, I like the function which tells you how long you canter, trot, and walk, and how much you ride left or right.
Where do you see EQUIMO's best usage?
For me, it's beneficial to see what my horses did before a show. If the show is successful, I can repeat the routine that worked for another big show.
Have you tried to use EQUIMO at a show?
Honestly, no, because I am scared to lose it. But I was pleased to show the potential I made with the tracker at the Belgian Championship last week, where I finished 7th!