World Cup Qualifying Division: Western European League
Belgian equestrian Gregory Wathelet may be a World Cup Rookie, but he is no stranger to the upper echelon of show jumping. Greg competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London as a member of the Belgian team. He’s also a two time team veteran of the World Equestrian Games, holding his own at the 2014 games in Normandy and at the 2006 games in Aachen. He has been instrumental to his team in the European Championship three times: 2007, 2011, and 2015.
Growing up around horses in Condroz country in Belgium, Wathelet began his show jumping career with his family’s stable but set off in 2000 to start his own business. He is not only known for his successes in the international rings, but he is also recognized for his ability to properly bring along young horse through various young horse championships.
As Wathelet pushed forward to growing his name in the international ring, in 2005 he traded in his home colors for those of the Ukraine as he joined the team of Alexander Onyschenko. He described the choice as a sacrifice, but the decision allowed him to remain in the top 30 of the world. When Ukraine’s show jumping program dissolved, Wathelet was able to again return to Belgium and open his own stable and can now sport his home country’s colors during competition.
Wathelet had the choice between two of his horses, Forlap and Corée to take to the World Cup in Omaha. After some contemplation, Wathelet selected the 11-year-old BWP gelding Forlap (by Querlybet Hero x Heartbreaker). Wathelet and Forlap have quite an extensive history together, but this pairing parted ways for a while. After passing the reins onto Alexander Onyschenko in June of 2014, Wathelet continued on with his career while Forlap went on to take a few other riders to new heights.
In the summer of 2016 a group of horses belonging to Onyschenko was sold to Paul Schockemohle. Upon realizing Forlap was one of those horses, Wathelet jumped to have Forlap back on his team. The decision proved to be a wise one, as they have had a fair amount of success among great company during their 2017 season together.
We love a good comeback story and have high hopes for Gregory Wathelet and his newly reunited partner Forlap in their first ever World Cup together. As always, keep an eye out at Jumper Nation for all the latest updates on Wathelet and Forlap and the other pairs competing in Omaha!