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Geert Maroy (Heestert) wins 1st, 2nd and 4th national ace long distance yearlings in 2023 !

27 Apr 2024

Once in a while it may be lucky to play top, but when it happens year after year, we can slowly but surely rule out coincidence.

With his 65 years of age, Geert is an experienced professional pigeon fancier, knows all the angles and sides of the sport, has experienced everything, I was literally born in a pot of pigeon milk, and has started to let the pigeon sun shine on his face in the beautiful autumn of his life and to wallpaper his wall with national titles and ace pigeons.
An unbridled love for the pigeon and the game, combined with commitment and quality, has brought a lot of fame and pigeon fun to Heestert in recent years. Did this just fall out of the sky?

One and one is more than two !
Sometimes we are pleased to note that one and one is not always exactly two. A few seasons back, Geert Maroy and Sebastien Courtens agreed to join forces and combine their talents. 
Geert with all his experience, and Sebastien also with a lot of experience as caretaker on renowned lofts, literally and figuratively threw all their weight into the scales of the lofts in Heestert.
And quite early on, the results of the collaboration showed that they would write a great story. Geert's colony is substantial (although in current pigeon times, that too seems a lot out of date...). With +-100 racers (cocks on widowhood with hens staying at home), 300 youngsters and 70 pairs of breeders. Geert has always enjoyed playing with many pigeons and now to be able to share the burden of all this, together with the joys, with a talented co-caretaker is undoubtedly a great added value that makes both rise above themselves.
Under the motto 'good agreements make good friends', they have also divided the tasks among themselves subject to constant mutual consultation and cooperation. Geert takes care of the breeders and youngsters, Sebastien of the racers and in 2024 this will also include (by way of testing) a team (25 to 30) of hens.
Geert is retired and can look after pigeons around the day, Sebastien does this in the afternoon and evening.
The cocktail of all this has led to wonderful results in recent seasons and one and one has clearly become more than two with very strong results and rankings as dessert.

No minutiae, but punctual and correct
With the old and yearling birds, the focus is on the long-distance and very long-distance races (in fact, with both the long-distance races are preferred, but the size of the colony certainly allows for long-distance racing as well).
The care has not become a minuterie but a punctual, good, correct care,where in the full season nothing is left to chance. In the autumn and winter period (intermediate season) there are now also, following the titles won, many social obligations (although obligations, I think rather a pleasure) where both are happy to be present.
Only one round of youngsters is bred for their own use. Both the breeders and the racers breed early which, with 300 youngsters, makes a sufficiently large bunch that allows a thorough test as a youngster and provides enough young potential as yearlings.
This approach allows us to have early youngsters that can normally fly all national races and gain enough experience in their youth to be able to compete immediately as yearlings. Although we prefer to play with old pigeons, we play the youngsters to the full and achieve excellent results. However, the main objective remains gaining experience.
In addition, there is still relatively little work on the breeding pigeons when the full racing season arrives. The available time can be spent on looking after and monitoring the racers.
Both are firmly convinced that first and foremost there must be enough quality in the pigeons to achieve results. The vast majority of the full picture are rock-solid pigeons in a good loft. The care and finesse of the player completes the circle and ensures performance or top performances.
The colony is largely based on a number of proven and surviving breeds that have been in the breeding and racing team for years. Names such as Eric De Baere, the strain of Stefan and Norbert Ally, De Smeyter - Restiaen, Ameel-Van Laecke, Brantegem-Denooze, Roger Mylle and a few more individual pigeons form the basis of the breeding and racing loft.
A mix of these pigeons leads to top results from 300km to 1000km with full decolonisation on flights between 600km and 900km (their favourite terrain).
The lofts are all equipped with spacious aviaries and all nest boxes are fitted with manure conveyor belts. This makes cleaning the lofts a little more user-friendly and gives both more time to observe the pigeons. You can call it oldschool but the widowers are still each fed separately in their nest box. This sharpens territoriality, improves the carer's contact with the pigeons and allows pigeons to be fed ifv the upcoming races. It takes some time, but apparently pays off handsomely in strong results here.
The feed is largely a home-grown (relatively light) mixture which is supplemented with more heavier feed from Vanrobaeys and Versele-Laga depending on the distance of the flights and the anticipated intensity. The middle distance flights are played with light feed and boosting for either the day long or heavy distance in 6 turns or 8 turns.  Again, no minutiae, but rather feel and translate the behaviour (flight behaviour, fitness on arrival home...) into lighter or more intense feed.
Training (in early spring once a day, later twice a day) is intensified in the initial phase to 45 minutes to 1 hour. A good basic rhythm before the season starts is necessary, once the races come on full schedule it may be shorter but the flight behaviour is decisive for observing forme present or not.
Medically, little or nothing is left to chance. Pascal Lanneau, who lives next door, is their regular counsellor and there is a fortnightly consultation and consultation. Preferably staying as far away from intervention as possible, but agitating if necessary is the credo here.
As supplements, Hepateveto and Next Level products are faithfully used.  On returning home, electrolytes and proteins are used for a quick recovery and that is the end of the proverbial matter.

Shall we prepare a loft ?

The 2022 season already saw the 1st national ace yearling heavy long distance pigeon and some other very nice rankings. Then we also noticed that within the framework of taking care of the widowers before and during the season and another kind of "subsection" was set up by Sebastien and Geert, namely once preparing a loft of yearlings for specific races.
This was already mentioned and quoted then, namely a team of yearlings that are prepared very specifically in terms of flight programme and training towards one or a few races. That this more than bears fruit was also the case in 2023, resulting in 1st; 2nd,4th national ace pigeon long-distance yearlings.
The flights on which this was achieved were (of course) Agen and Narbonne (unlike the Netherlands, the only long-distance flights in Belgium where yearlings are allowed to compete). 

Superb results were therefore achieved on these two flights :

- Agen provincial : 1st,3rd,5th,7th,15th,.....1,665 d
- Agen national : 13th,32nd,47th,56th,92nd....6,667 d
- Narbonne provincial : 2nd;7th,9th,66th...1,129 d
- Narbonne national : 45th 6,100 d

A great achievement to play 3 pigeons in the first 5 at national level on two long distance races for yearlings, a confirmation of the class and talent present both of the pigeons and the players.
Also in the national long-distance championship for yearlings (1st and 2nd issued), they were placed second nationally, beaten by their 'almost neighbour' Matthias Putman from Zwevegem.

This is also proof that within the large team of pigeons being played, there is a very good eye and view on the best pigeons of the group, or the pigeons floating on a cloud of form at that moment. A sign that the daily observation and follow-up is one of 5 stars.

Two toppers highlighted 

Flor BE22-3026791

o 1st national ace long-distance ace yearlings KBDB 2023

o 1st provincial ace pigeon middle distance West-Flanders KBDB 2023

o 1st European ace pigeon yearlings (2 international races) 2023

o 5th provincial, 47th national, 76th international Agen

o 2nd provincial, 45th national, 70th international Narbonne

Flor has the noble blood of Tomba Julien Vaneenoo and Roger Mylle x De Smeyter-Restiaen x Florea Sorin in his veins.

Christoph BE22-3026628

o 2nd national ace long-distance yearling KBDB 2023 (after loftmate)

o 2nd provincial ace pigeon long-distance yearlings KBDB 2023 (after loftmate)

o 4th European ace pigeon yearlings (2 international flights) 2023

Christoph has in his pedigree De Smeyter-Restiaen (Willem De Bruijn x Gaby Vandenabeele) x Christoph Maroy and Eric Limbourg

Is third time lucky ?

It is a saying that rolls out of the mouth rather easily when everything is running or seems to be running on wheels. A loft in forme can do a lot, but can one get and keep the forme in the loft every year ?  Here we go back to the real basics of success in pigeon racing, namely quality of the pigeons coupled with the steering skills of the player(s).  We believe that in Heestert this is really good. 

Two highly motivated guys Geert and Sebastien, who both thoroughly enjoy but are keen to perform strongly with many pigeons. Where many are frightened of lofts with a large number of pigeons, we see that they really know their pigeons and put the best ones in the basket as 1st and 2nd. This is the talent of the fine stile man who, even within a large team of pigeons, knows how to detect the good ones and how to put them in forme.

And Geert and Sebastien can do this, they have already proved this for two seasons with rock solid results and rankings. Their motivation is certainly still top notch. That is why we have little doubt that next season will also be full of splashes at the top! And then three times can be the charm !

Congratulations from the Herbots team !

Geert Dhaenens