The story of a young stallion, raised in Belgium by the Spronken family and now under the guidance of former world number one, Harrie Smolders.
It all began when Belgian entrepreneur Leon Spronken purchased Uricas from renowned Holsteiner breeder Otto Boje Schoof. Both Leon and Otto were friends who shared a similar vision on horse breeding.
Upon Uricas' birth, Leon immediately recognized the foal's exceptional quality, particularly impressed by his exeptional dam line. His dam T Cassina (Cassini I x Caretino) has produced numerous notable offspring that have performed at 1.60m level, including Conway, Carassina, UT Wodka, Clearway, Conway-T, Arturo, Retina V, and Classic Way. Uricas' grand-dam is Chika's Way, who achieved many successes under the saddle of Janne Friederike Meyer.
Without hesitation, Leon Spronken purchased Uricas and gave him the 'van de Kattevennen' family name. Once home, it quickly became apparent that Uricas was extraordinary. His stunning beauty and kind, almost human-like character truly set him apart from the rest of the group.
Uricas began his breeding career at the age of 3.
At 3 years old, Uricas left home to begin his training at the stables of New Nordic Horses, where Alexander Housen saddled him for the first time. It quickly became apparent that Uricas would be an exceptional sport horse, as his trainability set him years ahead of his age. Leon had no doubt that he had found the gem every horseman dreams of. That same year, Uricas sired his very first offspring.
In the following years, Alexander and his family took great care in preparing Uricas for competition, always prioritizing his happiness and health over chasing big wins. However, the young stallion shone bright at every show.
The Legacy of Leon Spronken
In March 2019, tragedy struck the Spronken family when Leon suddenly passed away at the age of 55. Overnight, the Spronken family found themselves responsible for 154 horses, despite having little experience in the equestrian world. Nevertheless, in honor of Leon's passion and over 20 years of dedication, the family decided to carry on his legacy. Shutting down the stables was never an option. Leon's nephew Caius, then just 26 years old, assumed responsibility for maintaining the breeding programs and managing the family stables.
World Championship Finals at Age 7
A few months after Leon's passing, his vision came to fruition. Alexander Housen, 16 years old at the time, guided Uricas, as a 7-year-old, into the World Championship finals in Zangersheide. A slight touch on the last fence kept them from securing the title that day; however, Uricas' talent was undeniable. The World Championships catapulted the young stallion into instant popularity as breeding stallion.
Soon afterwards, Spronken Stables began collaborating with breeding agent Caroline Smolders for worldwide distribution of Uricas' semen.
Harrie Smolders and Uricas van de Kattevennen
At age 9, Uricas was ready to enter the world stage of show jumping. Spronken received numerous offers from top athletes and their agents, but he sought a rider who would perfectly complement his noble horse. Harrie Smolders' riding style, dedication, strategic planning, skilled training, and emphasis on horse welfare made him the clear first choice. After a brief trial ride, Harrie took Uricas to Evergates Stables, where he settled in quickly.
First win in a 5 star Grand Prix
"We are deeply grateful and honored that Harrie agreed to mentor Uricas", says Caius Spronken. "He patiently guided Uricas to reach the pinnacle of the sport alongside legendary horses Monaco and Bingo du Park. With a shared vision on prioritizing growth over immediate victories, we can now celebrate their triumphant first win in a 5-star Grand Prix. We have no doubt that Leon would be incredibly proud."
Uricas promises great offspring
In addition to Uricas' success, we also celebrate the exceptional performance of his oldest offspring. His first-born daughter, Uri van de Kattevennen, now 7, has achieved numerous accomplishments with her Belgian rider Wim Vincks. They consistently rank high in competitions.
As a 5-year-old, young Uri placed 3rd in the Belgian championship and now leads the Belgian STX Cyclus (national league). Uricas’ offspring all inherit his remarkable scope, classic good looks and charisma, along with his kind, trainable, and brave temperament.
Spronken: "As Uricas continues to develop, we dream of many successes, both in sport and breeding. However, we don't place any pressure on either Uricas or Harrie. Our primary goal is for Uricas to remain healthy and happy at Evergate Stables while traveling to incredible venues worldwide. When he's ready to retire, he'll be warmly welcomed back home for a peaceful, evergreen life."