Kimberly Van Kampen: “ SICAB is a constant celebration of the values of a past time”

By Lily Forado

In the PRE world, Kimberly Van Kampen needs little introduction. During the past decades, she has been a total force behind the breed in the United States. Not only has she been instrumental in the development of the USPRE Association,  but her involvement with her breeding operation, Hampton Green Farm, and the competition horses like the Olympic stallion Grandioso, have put her at the forefront of our beloved PRE horse.

Thanks to her guidance and tenacity, USPRE has grown into a very well-run Association that promotes and facilitates all document handling for the breeders and competitors on PREs.

Hampton Green Farm has established itself as a landmark where to find exquisitely bred horses, good for sport and pleasure. Her never-ending support of the competitive scene has made her horses and riders famous worldwide.

When was the first time you went to SICAB? 1999

How many times have you attended Sicab? Every year since then with only two or three exceptions.

Describe SICAB in three words. Friends, Competition, Tradition

What is the thing you like the most about Sicab? I like that it doesn’t change—in a world that seems to be moving under our feet, SICAB is a constant celebration of the values of a past time when people lived from the land and partnered with noble animals in pursuit of both everyday needs as well as glory. It is a spectacle, a party, a feast, but mostly it is a preservation/celebration of a traditional way of life that is disappearing before our eyes.

As an international Breeder, what are the things you observe the most at SICAB? I am always impressed with the quality of the horses and the common sense genius of the breeders.

Every person who attends Sicab has a special story. Can you tell us a funny story that happened to you? Without giving too many details, it involves a horse, a special saddle, a gentleman, and too much wine for lunch.

Your American-bred horses have participated in Sicab several times with plenty of success. Any fond memory you would like to share? It was one of the great thrills of my life and I hope I can do it again someday. I love to compete!

In 2016, Grandioso retired from competition Sports in Sicab, can you tell us more about it?
The Spanish riders made a ceremony to honor Grandioso that was so beautiful and meaningful that it still brings tears to my eyes. After so many years competing in top international competitions, I was grateful that the horse was retired in sound condition and could perform one last time for the Spanish people at SICAB. He is virtually unchanged today, completely sound, and happy to be our top breeding stallion.

What is the discipline you like the most to watch in SICAB? Doma of course!

What are your expectations for SICAB this year? To enjoy it as much as ever. To see old friends and wonderful new young horses, and to be informed of how to do my job better as a breeder.

SICAB is the perfect storefront for the PRE market worldwide. What is your opinion about it? It is essential to the spread of the studbook and PRE popularity around the world.

Last but not least, how do you see Spanish horse breeding in the US today? Our numbers continue to grow at an unexpected rate. The horse is loved by all who own them, and more riders are continuing to try them successfully in new activities. We need more morphology shows, but surprisingly we have grown our breeder base since the pandemic lockdowns.

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