Marcel Van Dijck: "Incredibly proud and grateful to be able to experience this!"

Kris Van Steen 10/10/2023 14:10 11/10/2023 08:10 Kris Van Steen 4 min

Ermitage Kalone is a stallion wo touches people. After his win at the Belgian Championship with Gilles Thomas in Lanaken, everyone wants to see the son of Catoki. As in Barcelona, two weeks ago. The word 'phenomenon' is by no means an exaggeration.  Ermitage Kalone and Gilles make a fantastic duo and victory at the Belgian Championships may not be an end on the golden combination's record.

In a packed eventhall in Ranst, close to Hengstenhouderij Van Dijck in Broechem , where the stallion grew up and was trained towards the stallion approvals, Gilles and Ermitage Kalone threw a party on the occasion of the Belgian Championship they impressively won in Lanaken. Off Course, there was also a moment when the protagonists of this story spoke. A particularly beautiful and moving moment with four top horse people who work very hard every day to be successful in the sport and breeding. For three generations now.


Gilles: First of all, I would like to thank Ermitage Kalone. He is an incredible horse and he is the one who deserves to be in the spotlight. I built him up very quietly towards the Belgian Championship, deliberately keeping him in the shade, but I was very keen on a good performance at the Belgian Championships. I am not really a very exuberant type (smile). But becoming Champion with Ermitage Kalone felt fantastic. One of my best wins so far. I achieved that result as a rider in Lanaken, but that Belgian title is the result of a whole team. Joris and Marcel who I am very grateful to for giving me the opportunity to ride such an exceptional horse. I enjoy it myself when I see what kind of emotions this brings to Joris and Marcel.  But I am also very grateful to all the other owners of the horses I ride and have ridden. It is partly because of them that I am the rider I am today. My team at home, the grooms, vets, farriers, my partners and sponsors who have been behind me for years. Thank you! And of course also Marc, Carine and my mum, who one by one, deserve a very big applause!

Love at first sight

Joris: We bought Ermitage Kalone when he was 18 months old. On a video. When we let him free jump the very first time, 80 centimetres, Me and my father knew we had never seen anything like that before. It was love at first sight. As a three-year-old, he was one of the standouts at the BWP Stallion Show. As four- and five-year-olds, we built him up very quietly. And that approach absolutely paid off. (applause)

Deep inside my heart

Marcel: Ermitage Kalone is deep inside my heart. He spent some time with us at his old stable in early spring last year and before he went back to Marc, I asked 'to Jo' if I could please take a picture with him. Then I thought, he can be on my obituary with me ...(silence) (applause)  If you want to become champion of Belgium, there has to be a very good rider on a horse like that. And there was a fantastic rider on him. Gilles I think it's fantastic and I enjoy it immensely, how you make a pair with Ermitage. I have never seen that before. It never looks like 'labour' always 'playfulness'.  I was sitting in front of my computer and I saw those four rounds in Lanaken. Four times in the same way, with the same calmness and the same self-confidence. A very big, big congratulations. (applause) And then there is also Marc. Marc's credit is also great in this story. I admire Marc. As a rider, he has had a lot of success. Nationally and internationally. Contributed a lot to the Belgian team as well, but how he now runs such a sports stable together with Carine and all his staff ... Fantastic Marc and I am very grateful. Another little word for my son, who discovered Ermitage, Joris, he has become a stallion owner when he was already 40 years of age , but with what you are experiencing and seeing now, I suspect you don't regret becoming a stallion owner after all. (smile) Thank you! (long applause)

Working further towards perhaps something very beautiful

Marc: I love that so many people are here. It shows the gratitude and respect for Gilles and for our stable. It is nice that we can enjoy this together with so many people and I hope that Gilles and Ermitage can make a nice career in the future and continue to work and grow next year towards something very beautiful that might happen. (standing ovation)

Related horses

Ermitage Kalone

Ermitage Kalone


2014 stallion Level: 1.55
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