Flemish, his horse

Denis Beck, a retired farmer in Bailleul, has made it his mission to reintroduce the Flemish draft horse to its land of origin. Confusing but successful bet.

Denis Beck and Royal E Angie © HV

He may have sold his farm to his two sons Thierry and Dany in 2006, Denis Beck did not let go. As proof, the Flemish retiree has just returned from once again in the US. A trip he did not return empty-handed. On the plane that took him back to Europe, there were four mares and a stallion. Not just any. Flemish draft horse.

The rest is Denis Beck telling it: ” We created our first farm gîtes in 1983 and offer horse-drawn carriage tours. At the time, these were northern features and hikers. » In addition to the two accommodations, Beck Farms is also an estamine shop (will reopen on Saturday, April 2) where you can sit down on Saturday and Sunday nights for a brew and On-site sale: Hommelpap. Barley and hops are grown on the farm. Not to mention sixty dairy cows.

That is the comment of a visitor to the farm, a Belgian, who has turned Denis Beck’s life upside down: ” You love horses and speak Flemish, did you know that there is a draft horse breed originating from Flanders, which has completely disappeared in our country and is only found in the United States in Amish communities? » The latter ignored him. At the time, he was unaware of the consequences of this revelation. ” It was too latehe says. The seed has been sown. It was not a choice, but an obligation on me to go in search of this horse to reintroduce the Flemish breed in France and in Europe, its cradle. » Experts believe that in 19e century, there were 40,000 fleas on farms in northern France, before the breed died out.

In 1996, Denis Beck made his first trip to the United States with Jurgen Talpe, a Belgian breeder, hoping to bring Flemish horses back to Europe. Dozens of other trips followed. ” These are very dense vacations. We look at 2,000 to 3,000 horses over two weeks to choose the ones that are right for us. We will meet them in person at breeders or at auctions, in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio or Wisconsin. In addition to the animal’s qualities, we also consider its lineage and pedigree to avoid related problems “, the enthusiast explained.

Friends amish

Denis Beck continued: We started from zero in 1996, today, in Europe, there are about six hundred horses from the field. In France, Belgium, Germany and even in the Czech Republic. »

Denis Beck doesn’t want to communicate at the cost of a monster. ” It goes from simple to triple “, he dodged. Especially at this price, we have to add the cost of bringing the horse back by plane. During the last trip, Denis Beck kept one thing to remember: Royal E Angie. Three other mares were sold to European breeders. ” The ultimate goal is to stop searching for animals in the United States because there will be enough of them in Europe of different lines, so that they can be crossed without worry. »

From all these travels, friendships were born. ” We always meet the same breeders, sometimes we have dinner with them. Warm welcome. But, there is no ambiguity. ” Do not think that one day, in France, horses will replace the tractor, as in the Amish. On the other hand, they can be very useful in rough or narrow terrain such as in vineyards or hard-to-reach swamps. Having said that with two horses, you can pull up to 5 tons on flat ground.

Denis Beck on three dates:

1983: Denis Beck and his wife open their first shop on the farm in Bailleul.

1996: First trip to the United States to pick up Flemish horses.

2021: In November, Denis Beck takes a new trip to the United States and returns with Royal E Angie.

Herve Vaughan

Read more: Mormal: The Call of the Wild

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