Pascal Ariën is a household name who became very successful with his renowned Verreckt-Ariën pigeon family, with which he became national champion longer middle distance KBDB 2010, while also winning a national victory from Argenton, Tulle and La Souterraine. He also won several national ace pigeon titles, olympiad titles, and numerous provincial victories and top prizes. He was often too strong for his opponents.
It was a tough decision to sell his life's work in the total auction of Verreckt-Ariën in 2011, in which the entire pigeon breed was sold, except for the young birds of 2011. He had been really successful with these pigeons and they allowed him to gain an international reputation. Shortly before selling his entire collection, he bred 100 young birds from the best breeders of Verreckt-Ariën. This means he was prepared for the future.
An ambitious comeback
It was soon obvious that Pascal was considering a comeback. He wanted to start again with a positive mindset, but he needed a new team if he wanted to match the level of performance from previous years. In the beginning of 2012, he managed to convince his future wife Lieve and his parents-in-law to join the project. They agreed to take the challenge as a team.
This was the start of the Ariën-De Keyser combination, which was founded in Houwaart in Tielt-Wingene in the province of Flemish Brabant. The first step was the construction of a new pigeon loft based on a proper concept. The loft was finished in January 2013 and so the highly ambitious combination was ready to start. They obtained a round of young birds from Eddy Noël and a round from veterinary surgeon Karlo Van Rompaey, and of course a round of young birds of his Verreckt-Ariën breed in Tessenderlo. Some young birds from his own breed, raised by Peter Vreys and Arie Van Vark (NL) were added to his collection as well. A third round from the PIPA Elite Center (PEC) in Knesselare will also join his team.
The first season was a difficult one, leaving Pascal with mixed feelings. First of all, their pigeon loft was not fine tuned yet and needed some modifications. However, Pascal Ariën has never been a young birds’ specialist. Just like in his previous combination from Tessenderlo, the young birds are only raced to prepare them for future seasons, and to become successful old birds. First of all, they have to gain experience. They are basketed when possible, but they are never pushed too far.
Still, many fanciers would be really satisfied with the achievements of Pascal Arien in his first season. He took an impressive provincial first prize from La Souterraine. In addition, he won 3 top 20 prizes at national level, and he had the 8th best young bird over 7 national races.
Strict selection as a quality measure
Pascal Ariën has always been convinced that it takes true champions to deliver top performances. This means he expects his pigeons to perform well. The young birds of the first round of 2013 completed 7 national young birds’ races, and one of them was Eddy’s Ace, 3rd Nat. Ace Pigeon Long Distance KBDB 2014. The second round follow a strict regime as well: after completing two flights from Momignies and two flights from Soissons they were immediately basketed for the national race from Chateauroux, which is quite risky, especially given their limited experience. Unsurprisingly, the results were not very good, as almost 50% of his pigeons got lost that day. This is how Pascal separates the wheat from the chaff. The remaining pigeons were basketed for two more national races before being put to rest to gain strength for 2014. Three of them appeared to be highly talented, winning a prize in the national ace pigeon championships. It appears that Pascal’s approach is an efficient one!
2014: his first season with the yearlings and back to his old level
2014 was his first season with the yearlings, which performed really well. It was a dream come true! An impressive number of first prizes and other great results were won, it was hard to believe. You can take a closer look at the numerous highlights of 2014 below.
This resulted in a number of ace pigeon titles that will allow the Ariën-De Keyser combination to take a number of podium places in the national KBDB championships. We give you a brief overview of their best racing birds:
2nd Nat. Ace Pigeon Longer Middle Distance Yearlings KBDB 2014 4th Nat. Gueret 9,815 p. 9th Zone C Poitiers 1,443 p. 50th Nat. Bourges 24,019 p. 56th Zone C Chateauroux 3,820 p. 1st Sourdun 422 p.
Jennifer was also the second best pigeon of Belgium in all national races from Bourges I to Bourges II (olds + yearlings), which is quite something!
Click here for the list of achievements and the pedigree of Jennifer.
-Eddy’s Ace BE13-6273309
3rd Nat. Ace Pigeon Long Distance Yearlings KBDB 2014 3rd Zone C Limoges 1,731 p. 5th Zone C Tulle 1,690 p. 29th Nat Tulle 5,731 p. 29th Prov Bourges 2,730 p. 131st Nat Bourges 24,019 p.
-Wood Collector BE13-2037567
10th Nat. Ace Pigeon Long Distance Yearlings KBDB 2014 5th Best Pigeon of Belgium Long Distance yearlings in three national races (PIPA ranking) 1st Prov Brive 285 p. 2nd Zone C Brive 967 p. 19th Zone C Limoges 1,736 p. 22nd Zone C Tulle 1,690 p. 76th Zone C Chateauroux 3,820 p. 368th Nat Bourges 24,019 p.
3rd Best Pigeon of Belgium Long Distance Yearlings in three national races (PIPA ranking) 12th Nat. Ace Pigeon Long Distance yearlings KBDB 2014 2nd Zone C Limoges 1,736 p. 14th Zone C Brive 967 p. 22nd Zone C Tulle 1,690 p.
We conclude with one of the best yearlings of Belgium this season: Super class hen Ferrina. She is truly exceptional in races of 500 to 650km, winning for instance:
21st Zone C Tulle 1,690 p. 33rd Zone C Chateauroux 1,736 p. 58th Zone C Poitiers 1,443 p. 63rd Zone C Limoges 1,736 p. 203rd Nat. Bourges 24,019 p. 429th Nat. Gueret 9,815 p.
The 2013 and 2014 season can be summarized as follows: Pascal has been able to win an impressive number of prizes in just two seasons’ time, which is nothing short of phenomenal. It illustrates once again Pascal’s expertise as a pigeon fancier; he knows how to get the most out of this sensitive species. The secret behind his success is a fine-tuned approach and a high degree of flexibility from both the fancier and the pigeons themselves. This means he quickly adapts to the flight conditions, making sure his pigeons are recovered and well prepared for their next race. His so called chaotic approach is discussed in detail in a video interview and a written interview that was published on PIPA in late 2010. You can find the double interview of Verreckt-Ariën and the Vandenheede family here.
Working on the future
Pascal Ariën knows more than anyone that you have to continue making progress in order to stay at the top. This means you have to keep your best quality bloodlines and try to further improve them. This is why he will continue working together with the PEC and with the team of Eddy Noël-Willockx, as well as with the Matador company.
He purchased a round of youngsters from Bart Geerinckx (Wommelgem) for the first time in 2013, and the results have been very promising. They managed to win a 19th national against 27,256 p. and a 34th national against 23,000 p. already in their very first national races.
He also obtained 5 direct youngsters of Erik Limbourg’s wonder boy Gilbert, which bred super class pigeon Wood Collector in 2014. He is the winner of a 1st prov. Brive (2nd Zone C and 26th national).
Pascal also continues to rely on Karlo Van Rompaey as his veterinary surgeon. Karlo not only provides medical guidance, he regularly provides top quality pigeons as well, based on the old line of Verreckt-Ariën pired with the line of Jos, winner of a 1st Nat. Bourges.
Pascal has quite a challenge ahead - he set a high bar. Still, his goal is clear: he wants to develop a pigeon a breed that excels worldwide, allowing people to enjoy pigeon racing at the highest level!