14 Dec 2019

Flanders Foal & Embryo Auction: 'Offer what is not easily found on the market'

Foal and embryo auctions are growing like mushrooms these last couple of years, but many eventually disappear again. Flanders Foal Auction, however, built up quite a reputation. What is the key to the success of this auction, which originated in Belgium but has since spread its wings to reach the Arabian Emirates, Ireland and Norway with successful auctions, as it did in the USA and Great Britain?

For 2020 there are six events on the calendar: three embryo auctions and three foal auctions. The warming up is Horse Auction Belgium, with several unborn foals collected by Flanders Foal Auction. Then the team travels to Norway and two weeks later it will be close to Dubai, in Sharjah. Here, too, unborn foals are on offer. It is a golden formula: clients are visited at home, while the host mares can stay in their familiar surroundings.

Luk Van Puymbroeck and Gerald Lenaerts are the driving forces behind the auctions and they have a powerful vision: “By going to the clients, we make the difference from all other auctions. Before you know, we would be all fishing in the same pond and that pond is not so big. Arabs, for example, would never buy an embryo online. You can only do business with them when you go to them and we are more than happy to oblige.”

Although, in 2019, the results of many auctions disappointed, the demand for foals and embryo’s out of the best bloodlines in the world is growing. At Flanders Foal Auction the pedigrees abound with top-sport genes and the conformation of the stiffly pre-selected foals make you mouth water. “That is what it is all about, these days. You better start with a good one than with a dubious one. It is all getting more professional. Costs of rearing and training are high, often much higher than the purchase price. You find that people are willing to invest, but only with a fair chance to success. The foals have to have unusually good backgrounds”, is Gerald Lenaerts’ analysis.

Thanks to ICSI one increasingly breeds with the better mares and the auction is glad to make use of that trend. Several times there were hot bidding duels for grandchildren of the 1.60m Grand Prix mares Tabelle van Sombeke and Walnut de Muze and direct offspring of the full sister of the Olympic mare Valentina van ’t Heike. “We had some great auctions in the past few years. The breeders offer us their best material and in that way we can together make something good out of it.”

Buyers can insure their foal or embryo immediately after the auction, which limits the financial risk. Nowadays the client no longer has to be present in person. Since a few years Flanders Foal Auction has been offering an online bidding system, which allows people from all over the world to bid live on the collections. The only requirement is a single registration via www.flandersfoalauction.be.

When you are looking for something truly remarkable, you better keep a close watch on the website. “We try to bring something new every year. We always want to offer auction material that you will not easily find on the market”, the Belgians admit.

Questions? Please feel free to contact us:
Luk Van Puymbroeck +32 478 43 61 63
Gerald Lenaerts +32 475 77 86 27


Dates 2020
January 11: Horse Auction Belgium in Opglabbeek (BEL) with FFA embryo’s
January 18: Flanders Embryo Auction in Norway
January 31: Flanders Embryo Auction in Sharjah (UAE)
June 20: Flanders Foal Auction in Bonheiden (BEL)
July 17: Flanders Embryo Auction in Dublin (IRL)
August 8: Flanders Foal Auction in Beervelde (BEL)
September 17: Flanders Foal Auction in Opglabbeek (BEL)

Photo's / author: Wendy Scholten