Yee-Haw! Fancy Dress meets Western

Jumping Mechelen not only stands for coziness and top sports but also for spectacle and pure fun. Every year, the program includes a special show competition where our most popular top riders completely step out of their comfort zones to entertain their fans. But never have they gone this far before.

They will swap their white riding breeches for chaps, cowboy boots, and bandanas , because they are going to compete in an actual barrel race. This means that the horses will gallop through the arena at lightning speeds while their riders navigate them as quickly and tightly as possible around a number of barrels. A spectacle … and of course, including an unforgettable act.


Cowboys on duty

Our top riders will compete in teams of 2 for victory. If you wonder which stars will be the brave cowboys of service, then you’ll have to wait and see. You discover it here!

Niels Bruynseels and Gilles Thomas

The first team is an instant stunner. None other than “Bronze Olympian” Niels Bruynseels and “Belgian Champ” Gilles Thomasunite forces in our barrel race.

Gilles can’t hide his enthusiasm:“I have never done Western Riding before. It looks amazing! ! If I get the chance to try a new equestrian challenge, I’ll grab it with both hands. A while ago I went carriage driving with Glenn Geerts. Unforgettable! Barrel racing is very spectacular. I think the Nekkerhal will go crazy.”

Gilles is already looking forward to Jumping Mechelen: “My family is closely involved in the Christmas Jumping. Just like my teammate Niels Bruynseels, we live not far from Mechelen. It feels like a home game to us. I can only be grateful for the way the audience supports us there. Especially for them, we will put on the show of the century on 28 December.”

Jérôme Guery and Mathieu Guery

The second team to start in our Fancy Dress meets Western is the great Jérôme Guery and his son Mathieu Guery.

With Jérôme’s years of experience and Mathieu’s youthful dynamism, Team Guery promises not only a breathtaking race but also an unforgettable spectacle.

Will father and son be able to work together well enough to win this spectacle? Don’t miss it!

Kevin Jochems and Jos Verlooy

These icons from the world of show jumping are also entering new territory by venturing into the world of western riding.

In the atmospheric setting of the Christmas Arena, Kevin Jochems and Jos Verlooy transform from top jumpers to masterful cowboys. A spectacle not to be missed where they will show a different side of their riding skills.

Patrik Spits and Thibeau Spits

Duo 4, Patrik Spits and Thibeau Spits, meanwhile, are Fancy Dress Royalty: Father and Son, previously competed in previous editions. We are extra curious to see how they will meet this challenge. Would they be as successful in cowboy boots as they are with their riding boots? Come discover it with us!

Jules Van Hoydonck and Tristan Guisson

Upcoming talent will see you shine in our barrel race! Team 5 consists of Jules Van Hoydonck and Tristan Guisson.

These young talents are on their way to reaching the top in the international show jumping sport.

These friends won a silver medal together at the European Championships Jumping as part of the Young Riders team.

Individually, they have also achieved strong performances. Jules Van Hoydonck won the Belgian Championship for Young Riders this year. And Tristan also secured an individual silver medal at the European Championships.

Christian Ahlmann and Daniël Deusser

Last but not least… Christian Ahlmann and Daniel Deusser team up as our final duo!

Fancy Dress meets Western goes international! These German show jumpers are top-notch in the world of show jumping. Will they also shine as brightly in the western discipline? Don’t miss out!

Professional preparation

The showjumping horses stay in their stables during the Fancy Dress Meets Western competition. Because, just like jumping, barrel racing is really specialist work. Our top riders, who will receive proper guidance themselves, will be matched with experienced Western horses. This guidance comes from

No other than William Junior Dougan of the well-known Gipsy Horses Ranch and former European Champion Maxine Michiels. They will prepare the riders so that they can conquer the Christmas Arena as full-fledged ‘wranglers’ on 28 December.

William Junior Dougan
Maxine Michiels

Maxine, who will train the riders, goes even further: “Jumping Mechelen wants to make a splash with barrel racing so I will give them barrel racing! I am currently looking for top competition horses that can provide spectacle. I assume that the participants have a lot of courage, and they will need it. In addition, it is quite an adjustment for showjumpers to ride with one hand. I know that they will have to work on that. And speed, of course. Our competitions are won by a 1 or 2-second difference at most and I expect the Fancy Dress Meets Western to be no exception.”


FEI World Cups, amateur competitions, shows, parties … and much more

More than 70 competitions and shows, spread over 2 arenas and 5 unforgettable days. At Jumping Mechelen there is something fantastic for everyone.

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