Dressage Tuesday with Wouter Plaizier

The name Wouter Plaizier is not an unknown name in the dressage world. Within the organization of Foal Auction Borculo he is this year’s ‘new’ face. Together with Nol Gerritsen, he is in pursuit of top-quality dressage foals. In Dressage Tuesday he gives us a look behind the scenes.

This is the first year you are involved in Foal Auction Borculo, what was the reason for you personally to join the auction?
“Foal Auction Borculo is among the best foal auctions in the Netherlands and its reputation has transcended the border.  What appeals to me, is the Borculo-concept of two-person selection committees: the group is small and allows you to shift quickly. This benefits the selection and works well for both breeders and buyers.”

Now you are a part of the organization, but before you were also a welcome guest at the auction. What are your first experiences with the auction?
“As long as I can remember, I have attended the auction. I dare say I have been present almost every edition. Over the last years, it has become increasingly difficult to buy dressage foals at home and I therefore like to visit auctions as a (potential) buyer. Still, it was a swing and miss for me a few times at Borculo so it has been a few years since buying a foal at this auction. However, if the foal, pedigree and price suits me, I am always interested to buy a foal. You also get to meet and see a lot of people at an auction, it is a perfect networking event. This year, things will go differently with the online edition, but during our selection travels we speak to many breeders.”

Together with Nol Gerritsen you form a team responsible for the dressage selection. How is your collaboration going?
“The cooperation with Nol goes way back, but it is new that we select foals together. We try to visit most dressage foals and do not look too close to the pedigree. Essentially, we like to be surprised! Of course, a trendy pedigree is important, but the manner of movement and conformation is just as important. You notice a lot of stallions leave their mark in breeding and if you see a foal walking out of the stable, we can often instantly name the father. The first steps are most important, is it a foal with the ‘X-factor’? That’s easy to spot. If we do not select a foal for any reason this year, Nol and I give an elaborate explanation why we choose to. We have been even stricter in our selection than before; we want top movers with a correct conformation.”

Do you ever disagree?
“I think we have 1, maybe 2 discussions over the past months. The foals should be so convincing that discussion is not necessary. Naturally, there are days that we cannot select much and if you then see a foal that is of better quality that you have seen that day, you have to beware that you compare it to the foals already selected. Is it truly that fantastic, or does it seem that way because today was slow? We keep each other sharp.”

The focus of the auction is the best of Dutch breeding. Do the Dutch breeders have much to offer this year?
“You have to make miles to select top foals. But that’s a common trend. Everyone wants that one top foal and those are not born in large numbers. We always talk briefly about the 2021 plans and stallion choice with the breeders. Sometimes we can offer some tips to improve their breeding. I really enjoy those conversations.”

You are well on your way in the selection, can breeders still sign up their foals?
“In less than a month, our videodays are organised and that marks the completion of our collection. So, breeders can still apply, but have to do so quickly to ensure a spot on our route. We still see a lot of foals being born, therefore we continue our visits, maybe one of them is the special one we are looking for..”

Can you give a little peek behind the curtains of the 2020 collection?
“I think we have selected some pretty special foals by Jameson RS2 and also a descendant of Le Formidable caught my eye. In general, we have foals that are above average movers, which is necessary to distinguish yourself from others. As Foal Auction Borculo we want to stand out and we think we do so by offering foals of excellent quality.”

The committee travels many kilometers to select the best foals. How can you combine this with your business at home?
“Last year, our company Plaizier Diervoeders was taken over by our children and that would provide me with more time, in theory. In practice, the days are still full. However, with solid planning I can combine it all together. Nol and I almost always go out together, we discuss the route and which foals to visit. The past period I have noticed that many breeders have been home more, due to the corona crisis. It makes planning appointments easier. I like being on the road and this is a very fun task. You learn a lot about the inheritance of dressage stallions and work with a team to make the 2020 edition of Foal Auction Borculo another success.