- Genk, June 22, 1963
- Veronique, 1990
- Olivier and Nicola (°1993), Thibault (°2001) and Anthony (°2003)
- Meeuwen-Gruitrode (Limburg)
- 1992 (7th), 1996 (20th and 13th, in team), 2000 (4th) and 2004 (4th and 6th, in team)
Unconditional love for horses: it’s exactly what Ludo grew up with. As a toddler, he was always to be found in the family stables, heavily impressed by his noble four-legged friends. Ludo immediately experienced how close the bond between a human and a horse could be. Father Antoon ‘Toine’ Philippaerts, a welcome guest at the Landelijke Rijvereniging (the national equestrian association in Belgium), made sure of this. He used to lift little Ludo up to sit in the saddle. It represented the first meeting between a horse and a child destined to become a revered rider and Olympian.
Together with his brother Johan and sisters Greet and Rita, Ludo learnt the ABCs of horse riding at Lustige Dravers in Genk. Ludo shone with natural talent and, at the age of twelve, became the provincial jumping champion in the highest category, with his horse Gamin.
It was the first victory in a long career full of prizes and excellent performances. A year later, Ludo was in the same ranking at the National Titles – this time with Romanus (f. Lutteur).
The promising young rider continued to set new standards. In 1979, with the horses Robber and Terrible (f. Buenaventura), he ventured into the highest class for dressage and jumping at the national championship in Wachtebeke. Ludo was victorious.
During this period, representing the Landelijke Rijvereniging, Ludo notched up a number of victories. He was National Champion in dressage three times and jumping twice – always in the highest leagues.
In 1980, with Vandour (Buenaventura x Flügel), he also added the Belgian title for five-year-old horses to his name, performing at Gesves, near Namur. Ludo’s career was off to a flying start.
The early 1980s. Ludo left the former BGLSR behind him, enrolling as a junior at the Koninklijke Belgische Ruitersportfederatie (also known as the KBRSF, this is the royal Belgian federation for equestrian sports). Ludo has many memories of many excellent performances from his days with the KBRSF. The one that stands out most was at the European Championships in the Swiss town of Aarau, in a period when his stall of faithful competition horses included Sabine (f. Flügel), Vandour and the inaptly named Terrible.
The years flew past. The junior rider became a senior. Ludo drew a stable of strong competitors together with great love, peace and with reliable guidance. Slowly but surely, he came to broader attention in the equestrian world. This began with Alkenaar (f. Alkenaar). The horse accompanied Ludo at his international debut at the Jumping van Brussel in 1986. Colonel (f. Tamara) and the young Darco (Lugano x Codex) also played a significant role, a sure sign of things to come.
Once more with Alkenaar, Ludo climbed to the eighth place in his first World Cup competition in Antwerp, 1986. The international jumping world was impressed by Ludo’s form. The appreciation grew in Belgium too. ‘Ludo Philippaerts: revelation at Jumping Antwerp’, was the headline of a sporting newspaper.
In the same year, he was a part of the Belgian National Team for the first time. Another top-class competition. Fast forward to 2009: Ludo looks back on his 105 performances at the Nations Cup and the eight victories they delivered.
In 1987, Ludo and his horses performed above and beyond what might be expected. It was to be the run-up to a key year in his career. In 1988, the dream-duo of Philippaerts-Darco sprang into prominence. Darco, the legendary stallion from the stables of Tinus Paesen in Peer, gave massive momentum to Ludo’s career. ‘I feel great with Darco,’ Ludo explained to the newspapers. And this was clear to see from the results.
In 1988, Ludo won the first Grand Prix in Chaudfontaine with Alkenaar. This was followed up with the Grand Prix at Dunkirk, with Dorothée (Flügel x Codex). It was then time for Darco. At the Grand Prix in Rotterdam, Ludo finished in third place, but the true high point was to come in the busy winter season ...
Ludo and Darco took part in the international jumping competitions in Maastricht and Amsterdam, picking up World Cup points with fifth place in Brussels. The team then celebrated the end of the year in the most wonderful way possible: a World Cup victory in the Jumping in London. It was impossible to talk about Ludo without mentioning Darco. And vice-versa. Later in his career, Ludo achieved further success with the sons of the champion steed. What a lineage!
|1||World Cup||Londen, United Kingdom||Darco|
|5||World Cup||Brussel, Belgium||Darco|
1989. Ludo and his stallion Darco continued to perform at dizzying heights. And after a World Cup victory in ’s-Hertogenbosch, Darco-mania was complete. Lovers couldn’t keep their eyes off the graceful horse.
Even the Dutch investment group Optiebeurs was bitten by the bug. The result? A promising sponsorship deal. With this, Ludo acceded to a highly select group of the most skilful riders. Some even continue to jump at the very highest levels today.
Ludo’s star continued to rise: in Belgium and on the international circuit. He crossed the Atlantic Ocean for the World Cup Finals in Tampa (Florida), left horseshoe-shaped prints behind him at the European Championships and became a regular in the Belgian National Cup Team.
Supporters were anxious to see Ludo shine. There were so many that they even begin to fill coaches and buses. With a little luck, they were able to witness Ludo’s first Nationals Title in Bavikhove: he achieved the highest score with Vanna (Echo de Thurin x Codex).
|1||World Cup||Den Bosch, Netherlands||Darco|
|1||Belgian Championship||Bavikhove, Belgium||Vanna|
|1||Nation's Cup||Lanaken, Belgium||Vanna|
|4||World Cup||Antwerpen, Belgium||Darco|
|5||World Cup||Parijs, France||Darco|
|5||World Cup||Brussel, Belgium||Darco|
|8||World Cup||Helsinki, Finland||Vanna|
|13||World Cup Final||Tampa, Florida, United States||Darco|
|15||European Championship||Rotterdam, Netherlands||Darco|
In 1990, Ludo was further reinforced by Fidelgo (Voltigeur x Codex), another winner. Of course, the performances with Darco continued. The highlights? A fourth place in the Grand Prix at Aachen and a sixth place at the World Championships in Stockholm.
In 1991, Ludo further confirmed his status as a top-class rider. With Adora (f. Pion), he scored his second Belgian Nationals Title. And with Fidelgo, he was victorious at the World Cup in Mechelen.
1992 dawned: the year of the Barcelona Olympic Games. With his faithful stallion Darco, Ludo departed for the city of Gaudí. They jumped their way to seventh place in their class. Ludo drew plenty of attention with his first Olympic performance.
|1||GP||Gesves, United Kingdom||Fidelgo|
|3||World Cup||Goteborg, Sweden||Darco|
|6||World Championship||Stockholm, Sweden||Darco|
|7||World Cup||Den Bosch, Netherlands||Darco|
|8||World Cup||Antwerpen, Belgium||Darco|
|9||World Cup||Amsterdam, Netherlands||Darco|
|11||World Cup Final||Dortmund, Germany||Darco|
|1||Belgian Championship||Bavikhove, Belgium||Adora|
|1||World Cup||Mechelen, Belgium||Fidelgo|
|3||World Cup||Antwerpen, Belgium||Darco|
|5||GP||Biarritz , France||Fidelgo|
|5||GP||Knokke Zoute , Belgium||Flinte|
|5||GP||Birmingham, United Kingdom||Fidelgo|
|8||GP||Parijs, Champ de Mars, France||Fidelgo|
|19||European Championship||La Baule, France||Darco|
|3||World Cup||Goteborg, Sweden||Darco|
|5||World Cup||Paris, Bercy, France||Darco|
|5||Victor Ludorum||Antwerpen, Belgium||Fidelgo|
|5||GP||La Baule, France||Darco|
|7||World Cup||Mechelen, Belgium||Darco|
|8||World Cup||Helsinki, Finland||Fidelgo|
|8||GP||Paris, Porte de Versailles, France||Darco|
|9||World Cup||Den Bosch, Netherlands||Darco|
Darco was starting to feel the effects of ageing. His last great performance? Third place at the Grand Prix in Rotterdam early in 1993. At the Jumping van Mechelen in 1993, Ludo and Darco performed together for the last time. Darco then waved goodbye to the competitive arena.
Darco moved into stables at Tinus Paesen’s Stoeterij Lindehof. This was not so much an ending as a new beginning: the horse continued to benefit the equestrian world, offering his strong genes as a stud horse. Darco passed away in 2006, but lives on in his countless offspring. Horses with a great pedigree, truly reminiscent of their father in them.
|5||World Cup Final||Paris, Bercy, France||Darco|
|6||World Cup||Helsinki, Finland||Fidelgo|
|8||GP||Hickstead, United Kingdom||Darco|
|10||World Cup||Den Bosch, Netherlands||Fidelgo|
|19||European Championship||Gijon, Spain||Darco|