Despite the driving rain, the St. Hubert celebration with animal blessing still attracted 69 horses and ponies to Zandhoven. For the first time, the blessing took place in a new formula, in front of the church, with refreshments afterwards in a tent on the Schriekweg.
Last year, the St. Hubert celebration was canceled by the municipality due to waning interest. In its heyday, 300 horses and ponies from all the surrounding riding schools came to the ordination. But in 2021 there were only about 50, with the drastic decision to abolish them last year. However, protests arose because traditions should not simply be abolished, and Mayor Luc Van Hove (CD&V) said in his speech on Sunday that, in retrospect, he was now happy with that response. To attract more people again, it was decided to move the event from the jumping track at De Populier outside the village to the center of the church. With an après consecration on the square on the Schriekweg. All participants received free soup and a coffee cake, and those watching could also buy a hunter’s pot or a soup, coffee cake or gin. Normally the statue of Saint Hubert would be carried in the procession, but due to the rain it remained indoors.
Hunting horn group Halali from Arendonk gave everything a musical boost. Regular counter Rik Havermans peated 69 horses into ponies, which was at least more than in 2021. “And there is still room for improvement, because I heard that a riding school that normally wanted to come stayed home due to the bad weather,” said Rik . Alderman Jelle Lauwereys set a good example and came on horseback. Prayer leader Jan Valckx blessed all the animals present.
Riders also came from the surrounding communities. There were horses with beautiful saddles and knight’s bridles from the non-profit organization De Gulden Sporen from Schilde. “We participate in medieval knight games on horseback at home and abroad,” explains Mireille Beyens. She used to always come to the ordination in Zandhoven. It was the first time for Joeri Goormans. “It is important that traditions continue to exist, even when things are not going well. On November 11, the horse ordination will take place in Schilde at the Scheut Mission House. That is an even smaller ordination than Zandhoven.”
Mayor Luc Van Hove (CD&V) believes in the revival. “The fact that you all made it through this crazy weather is fantastic!”