Anky Van Grunsven Talks About Bonfire

Fri, 11/20/1998 - 00:00
Eurodressage F.O.C.U.S.

Bonfire is, besides Prisco, Anky van Grunsven's second 'big love' with four legs. She had his name in mind almost a year before they even bought him. "A racehorse from the book 'The Black Stallion' was called like that

and I always remembered the name", she said. Anky's father bought Bonfire without knowing if he would be a true champion or not. When Anky first saw him he was two and a half years old and was only ridden for a week. 

Yet knowing that Prisco changed that much due to serious work, good feed, the variation and the competitions, they took the chance and purchased the Oldenburger gelding. 

But one year after Bonfire moved from Germany to the Netherlands, the youngster had not evolved as they hoped for. Bonnie's canter was too hectic, and due to his hot temper and over-demanding character, his trot looked more like a Hackney's trot. But what Bonfire did seem to have was his incredible talent for the difficult Grand Prix movements. Piaffe, passage, pirouettes were child's play to him. Anky never had to put any pressure  on him to teach him these exercises, and at age 7 Bonfire was already running Grand Prix. 

Competitions and the exercises were not a problem to Bonfire, but his fear for the smallest items near the dressage ring. If he turned round 180 degrees in the middle of a test, Anky's dad said a mouse had sneezed. Yet Anky has never been angry on Bonfire because of this. She never had the feeling that he was trying to test her; he just was a scared cat. 

Luckily his extreme reactions of fear have decreased. Riding to the dressage arena in a normal fashion is still a great difficulty as he tries to hide himself behind the back of a familiar person like Sjef Janssen or Anky's father. In the ring Bonfire looses all his tension and stays attentive to her aids. That's when Anky van Grunsven and Bonfire show their moment of brilliance!

Image copyrighted: Dirk Caremans - No reproduction without permission/payment