Joost and his favourite pigeons in front of the impressive loft
Joost has been involved in pigeon racing since he was six years old. He is a first class pigeon fancier who dedicates his life to his family and his big passion: pigeons. He purchased his first pigeons in secret with his pocket money. Today he is a fancier with a most wonderful career!
Joost is a no nonsense fancier and in 2005 he purchased a property in Melden together with his wife Elsie. Next to their beautiful house they constructed a true pigeon heaven. We think many fanciers can only dream of having such a loft and such a great environment for their birds.
The main bloodlines of this loft originate from grandmasters Jan Enrest (Steenbergen), J. Vervisch (Kortrijk) and Louis van Grimbergen (Zottegem). He has also been very satisfied with the pigeons of Willem De Bruijn (Reeuwijk, NL) more recently. These pigeons are particularly useful to add some speed to his existing breed.
Road cycling vs. pigeon racing
Joost used to be a very talented cyclist and it was his lifelong dream to ride the Tour de France one day. Unfortunately he was forced to quit the sport due to an injury caused by a crash (hip replacement). He could no longer ride his bike the way he wanted. Joost was an ambitious athlete and he would always go for the win but that would no longer be possible. That is why he put an end to his career as a cyclist.
Still, Joost has been applying one of the most important elements of cycling in his own loft: recovery. He thinks this is one of the biggest and most important steps when it comes to preparing for the next flight. Just think of Fabian Cancellara: as soon as he has crossed the finish line of the cycling classic Ronde van Vlaanderen he will be given a recovery meal and a recovery drink to replace fluid losses. This will help him to recover from the demanding race and to get ready for his next training ride or cycling race. When the pigeons arrive home Joost allows them to regain strength as quickly as possible by using IC mixtures of Versele Laga and Belga-Vet. There is no time to waste; he does everything he can to prepare his pigeons for their next effort.
Turning young birds into champions
The young birds from Melden are basketed regularly. It is important however that they are not basketed for difficult flights; Joost thinks that young birds are often pushed too far. He believes the birds should gain a lot of experience but that should not prevent them from developing into healthy and fully grown racing birds. This is very important. The young birds are basketed regularly and the yearlings are carefully trained as well. As one year olds they are basketed for approximately three longer one day flights with a maximum distance of 700km (for the cocks) or 850km (the hens). The young birds are not put under pressure yet but as soon as they are one year old Joost expects them to perform well: he wants his yearlings to achieve certain goals in the races. When the birds are two years old they should be fully grown racing birds with plenty of experience, ready to take part in the complete national calendar. You should of course monitor the pigeons and select the birds with the best health throughout the season. “I spend more time watching my pigeons than on cleaning my lofts”, says our kind and motivated host.
The foundation of his loft
When we ask Joost about the most important and successful pigeons in his glorious career there are a few names that come to mind: De Joost (BE02-4051564), Peggy (BE09-2045788), Grand Cru (BE05-4285531) and Narbonne 1 (BE98-4471678). These are all amazing racing and breeding pigeons with great achievements. Joost for instance achieved an international breakthrough for Smeyter-Restiaen as winner of the First International Perpignan 2003. This excellent racer was also winner of the First International Ace Pigeon Grand Distance WENC in 2004.
De Joost was a great racer as well as an outstanding breeding pigeon. His descendants have won for instance
1st national Argenton 2011 – 10,962 p. 1st national Argenton 2010 – 10,571 p. (and fastest of 30,000 p.) 1st semi-national St. Vincent II 2006 – 1,007 p. 1st semi-national Perpignan 2008 – 2,501 p. 1st Ace Pigeon KBDB St. Vincent 1&2 Cureghem Centre 2006 etc.
The wonderful and great looking hen Peggy, was born in the lofts in Melden and she has excellent breeding qualities and a long list of achievements. Peggy was raced as a lesbian hen by De Clerq-Vervaeren (Rillaar), where she won the title of First Ace Pigeon Grand Distance KBDB 2011 with for instance these prizes:
13th national Perpignan 2011 - 5,591 p. 37th national Barcelona 2011 – 12,170 p.
The sire of this exceptional hen is no less than Le Gitan (BE07-4335449), which is also the sire of the 14th national zone Montauban 2011, 38th national Souillac 2011, 47th national Barcelona 2011, 76th national Soustons 2010 and many more. Le Gitan is in turn a full son of the famous Narbonne 1. Joost repurchased Peggy together with two other fanciers and at the moment she is breeding a new generation of first class racing and breeding pigeons.
The skilled fancier, Joost has a talent for breeding top class pigeons as well: he has a long list of references in other lofts. In fact he is most proud of the excellent achievements of the racing and breeding pigeons with De Smeyter-Restiaen origins in other lofts. Pigeons that were obtained from the grandmaster of Melden have achieved several important titles in other lofts. These are the titles that were won in 2011 only:
1st National Ace Pigeon Extreme Long Distance KBDB 2011 Peggy (BE09-2045788) 1st National Ace Pigeon Grand Middle Distance KBDB 2011 Amalia (BE10-9039333) 2nd National Ace Pigeon Short Middle Distance KBDB 2011 La Roche aux Faucons (BE10-4281810) 6th National Ace Pigeon Long Dist. KBDB 2011 Trimards Ace (BE08-2229743)
2012 was another great season for the outstanding pigeons from Melden. Every time they managed to find the way to their home loft seemingly effortlessly. Click here to have a look at the impressive results of the champions of De Smeyter-Restiaen in 2012.
The story continues
We had an interesting visit to Melden and we had a very interesting conversation with this great fancier. At the end of the day he told us that we should not forget to mention his uncle Jan, who is responsible for the caretaking of his pigeons. Without his help it would be impossible for Joost to perform at such a high level. His uncle Jan is responsible for the young birds. This means that Joost can focus on his old birds when he gets home from work.
We would like to thank the De Smeyter family for their warm welcome and we look forward to a reunion in 2013. We think that the successful pigeon family of De Smeyter-Restiaen has a great future and we think they have a few excellent seasons ahead!