14/08/2019 - Portraits
Christophe Verhulsel is above all a professional rider. But almost ten years ago he decided to start a project he had not thought of at the beginning: rummage and train high level sport horses. We met him, unstressed and serene, a man who likes to take it slow. A philosophy that in our days is quite respectable. A timeless meeting.
You can’t drive through Lasnes without criss-crossing its beautiful streets and chic neighbourhoods. Yet if you dare venture through a dead end with worn-out asphalt, you will have a chance to come across one of the local wonders: an old farm, surrounded by hilly prairies. Nowadays this property breeds no cattle. It is home to a few horses. Some of them will eventually become stars in the international sport circuit. This is what Christophe Verhulsel is looking for and the reason for his everyday work. He selects and trains show jumping horses with high potential. Coming from a family that had no relationship with the equestrian world and having been an amateur rider until he was 17, it had never come to his mind that one day this would be his life.
The fruit of experience and love
Born in Braine-l’Alleud, he is eighteen when he joins the Gesves Riding School, close to Namur. Successfully. Very soon he starts riding several young horses in a stable: “With 21 horses, every day was a long day”. That’s when he realises that not counting the hours when it comes to horses is something he enjoys. He rides for several owners before he unexpectedly meets Stéphanie Stordeur, someone who had no connection to the equestrian world. She becomes his life partner and by chance…Stéphanie’s parents own a farm, transformed into a private stable. Business is good and they are happy with its success. Stéphanie thinks he should start his own business. He had always thought he would end up working for someone in a stable… No way! He started his business 10 years ago with 8 boxes. Today he has 25. “Without Steph and my step-parents I’m nothing”. Ten years after, he is still grateful. For some, 10 years is an eternity, but despite the time gone by, this man believes that the Argenteuil Stables are still young. The projects to extend have just started to flourish, but his ideas are very solid…
Passion for horses
During our interview one of the horses comes his way and strides in front of him. It’s as if time had stopped. He looks at the animal go by and almost forgets I’m there. He will never get tired of it! The stables will grow, so he can take the time to see the horses progress without hurrying things up. In fact, what counts for him is the welfare of the horses. “My pleasure, my need, is to see my horses progress and jump perfectly”.
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