We are at the end of June, beginning of July the Middle Distance season with the youngsters has just started, the fight to find a successor for the national Champion from 2007 in the 'Middle Distance', the duo Casaert-Sénéchal, can fiercely break out! Even though Sébastien will certainly do everything within his power to defend his national title, although due to a planned relocation to Kluisbergen, round the period of 1 November, where at the moment a new house is being built this will now doubt require the necessary time and energy! The Casaert family is not just any old pigeon family in our Belgian country but a family with a very rich pigeon tradition! Brother Grégory still races together with father Maurice from the parental lofts in Néchin, where they enjoyed new international fame a few weeks ago by winning the 1° + 3° National Bourges Yearlings in the very first confrontation in the 'national racing calendar' of the 2008 sport season, directly the 4° national victory of their career.
In 2007 it was Sébastien and wife Anne, who held the honour of the Casaert family high, by achieving the title of 1° National Champion KBDB 'Middle Distance' with the youngsters, after they had already won 1° Semi-National Chateauroux against 7.495 Yearlings in 2006 and 10° Nat Champion KBDB Yearlings in 2005.
For the national title in the 'Middle Distance' with the youngsters, 5 races qualify with the 1° and 2° nominated youngster in races between 250 and 450 Km. The title was won in 2007 by Casaert-Sénéchal, with the following results:
A farewell in style to Saint-Léger. Because, so as already mentioned in the introduction, Sébastien will be moving to Kluisbergen (Russeignies), where more than 49 metres of pigeon lofts and aviaries will be installed on grounds of 4200 m². In 2008 the youngsters will take part in the races from the new lofts. A new start, and starting next season a team of old pigeons will be built up with which they hope to shine in the 'Grand Middle Distance' and
in the 'Long Distance'! A new challenge that Sébastien has accepted at the request of his wife Anne!
The start for himself in 2000
Sébastien and Anne (and son Hugo) form the main components of the tandem Casaert-Sénéchal, even though the name Sénéchal is not the family name of Anne. The name originates from 'friend for life' Francois Sénéchal, director by the French firm La Redoute. When Francois still lived in North Leers he needed a loft carer who he found in Sébastien Casaert who took care of the complete colony as a 14 or 15-year old with great success. Sébastien was the permanent carer for 7 years until Francois had to move to the south of France for professional reasons. Hereafter he worked for 1 season as carer by Mr. Hétru in Kain, whereupon he left for Otegem to work for Sylvere Toye.
In 1997 Sébastien bought and moved into a house in Saint-Léger, but at the time he was still loft carer by Sylvere Toye (period 1996-begin 1999), meaning that he didn't have any pigeons himself straight away. The many kilometres between home and the Toye-lofts began taking their toll, so much so that in 1999 the decision was made to set up the pigeon lofts behind his own home, from where he made a start with his own team of pigeons in 2000. Sébastien naturally first visited his father Maurice, where he obtained youngsters out the very best breeders. There were also pigeons from Georges Bolle, firstly via purchase, later only by mutual exchange. A start could therefore be made with a team of 40 youngsters from top origin, whereby strengthening later came via top lofts from friends so as Gaby Vandenabeele, Eric Limbourg. Lack of time due to work commitments was the reason that in the starting period 2000-2004 mainly the youngsters took part in the races (only in 2002 were a few yearlings raced). After the 2004 sport season the loft accommodation was extended and in 2005 a team of yearlings was added, consisting of 12 cocks and 8 hens with monumental success, because in no time Sébastien & Anne stood on the podium in Oostende as 10° National Champion KBDB Yearlings, and they were also Provincial Champion 'Grand Middle Distance' Yearlings.
The stock was further extended in 2006 to 22 widowers and 12 hens and in addition to 16 x 1° Prizes, they also won no less than 5 x 1° Provincial from Chateauroux (2x), La Souterraine Limoges and Bourges Youngsters. A monumental show of power from the Casaert-Sénéchal-team that had a nice addition in 2007 with the winning of the national title! Here quality takes preference to quantity, because only the very best are kept every year after the very tough selection, a question of keeping the loft occupation to a minimum.
Racing system and care
This year a new start will be made in Kluisbergen, where 150 youngsters will be housed. A question of getting a solid racing team together in as short a time as possible. Even though the approach for the 2008 sport season was different (due to no old racing pigeons), normally everything goes as follows:
At the end of November the breeders (20 couples) are brought together, as well as 1 loft of widowers. The eggs from the breeders are placed under the widowers, resulting in the breeders directly starting their 2nd nest at that moment a 2° loft of widowers is coupled and once again the eggs from the breeders are placed under the widowers. The breeding pigeons are now separated, and are given a new partner, whereas at the same time a first loft of racing hens is coupled, who are allowed once again to hatch the eggs of the breeding pigeons.
The breeders are then allowed to come with eggs again with their 2nd hen, and now raise their youngsters themselves. In this way they have 4 rounds of youngsters from the breeders within 6 weeks, who can all be tested in the Middle Distance races and 'nationals' for youngsters. Ideal for seriously grilling the whole team of youngsters so that you know 'exactly what you've got' both by the youngsters, as by the team of breeding pigeons. A very tough selection is the next logical step.
After raising a round of youngsters the widowers are usually placed in the aviary for a rust- and oxygen cure. They are fed very lightly (read: a lot of depurative with a little corn) and plenty of tea. They stay until the end of March, beginning of April then they return to their trusted widowers loft and are coupled for no more than 5 days brooding. Then they are in widowhood and the racing season can begin. Sébastien calls himself a real 'pigeon racer', and that's why he wants to build a 'powerful' team of pigeons who can be basketted weekly for races from 400-500 Km. Only after a few tough races in a row does he dare to give the pigeons a week's rest. But if everything goes to plan, they are basketted every week possibly later with the exception for the candidate Long Distance racers. The racing hens follow a similar procedure, only they are now locked up in special boxes, to stop mutual pairing.
They are also re-coupled in April, but are not allowed to come with eggs. After a few days of sitting together they go into widowhood. About the second week of July they are coupled once again so that they can take part in the last national races of the season in August and the beginning of September with the desired nest condition.
The widowers train 2 x per day for an hour, while the hens restrict their training to 1 x day, and sometimes they only stay in the air for 5 minutes! No problem, says Sébastien, as long as they perform at the weekend.
The youngsters are darkened until the 1st of June, and are later lightened until the last race. Cocks and hens stay together until the 1st of July, after which they are separated and raced according to the sliding door system. The 400Km race is also shoved under their wings every week. Sébastien draws our attention to the slogan which is often used in different loft reports 'to rest is to rust'.
According to him, this is especiaaly apt for the youngsters. Between 2 national races they are also given a race of minimal 300 Km, unless it is for the closing race from Gueret, where there is no available Middle Distance race the week before, and one has to restrict oneself to Noyon. Both by the old as by the youngsters, the pigeons are fed with the mixtures from the 'Modern System' from the Beduco-gamma., which consists of 3 sorts of mixtures + a high energy mixture as additive for the last days.
Sébastien Casaert and wife Anne belong to the top fanciers at national level in the Middle Distance and Grand Middle Distance, and later within 2 or 3 years, more than likely also in the Long Distance, if they can succeed fully in their new 'Long Distance challenge'. No-one doubts it, because Sébastien has the 'caring' the bringing of his team of pigeons to the 'peak' like no other, in the tops of his fingers! The men in the Ronse and Lessen region are hereby warned, and know what they can expect because one thing is crystal clear: with Casaert-Sénéchal they don't only have a very strong opponent in the area, but they have also gained a 'national topper'!
08/4 EPEHY 108 YL 1° , 4, 5, 6, 11,14 ,16 ... 12/26
15/4 CREIL 193 Old 1°, 6, 14, 16,... 7/8 184 YL 1°,8,10,13,14,17,19,...12/24
22/4 CHANTILLY 209 YL 8,10,13,17,25,28,...11/16
05/5 TOURY 789 Old 10,15,20,60,67,73,77,85,...16/19 547 YL 5,8,9,10,12,21,24,26,32,38,45,67,68,...21/38
12/5 PITHIVIERS 136 Old 2°, 17, 23, ... 9/11 126 YL 2°, 4, 5,... 14/36
20/5 CHATEAUROUX 420 Old 3,19,28,44,71 5/6 Prov 5712 Old 31,235,344,542,847 5/6
27/5 BOURGES Tournai 169 YL 1°,13,... 3/4 Nat. Zone A 2239 YL 9°, 142, ... 3/4
3/6 BOURGES D.H. 2269 YL 2°,90,146,155, 9/15 Ent. Tournai 885 YL 1°,2,10,33,42,46,63,72, 14/16
10/6 TOURS Dottignies 145 YL 1°,7,18,22, 5/8 Intprov 1953 Old 66,95,110 3/7 Intprov 1981 YL 11,16,39,49,66,240,255 7/9
17/6 CHATEAUROUX 513 Old 2°,3,7,27,61 5/9 657 YL 1°,2,3,38,50, 5/15
23/6 TOURS Avelgem 167 YL 2°,4,5,8,13, 14/23 Intprov. 2791 YL 18,30,32,86,184,...14/23 Intprov 1867 Old 40,69,125,...11/16
30/6 TOURY 189 Old 2° and 1/1 Youngsters 2007
30/6 TOURY 717 Youngsters 2°,11,12,26,30,59,75, 12/27
08/7 BOUILLON 651 Youngsters 6,37,44,46,47,48,53,61,65,66,70,75,77...24/38
14/7 DUDELANGE 440 Youngsters 2°, 11/21
14/7 HEIDELBERG 3206 Youngsters 149,261,...8/8
21/7 VIRTON 385 Youngsters 7,10,11,15,17,20,26,28,29,...12/16
21/7 DUDELANGE 274 Youngsters 6,7,13,19,22,23,24,25,26,27,28,29,30,...18/31
28/7 BOURGES 903 Youngsters 2°,14,39,44,59,60,71,83,89, 11/17
29/7 CHANTILLY 528 Youngsters 11,16,24,25,28,44,51,52,...25/43
4/8 PITHIVIERS 162 Youngsters 1°,2,3,5, 6/8
4/8 TOURS Avelgem 166 Youngsters 1° & 1/2
4/8 TOURS Saint-Léger 257 Youngsters 3,10,16,18,19,20,...12/19
04/8 BOURGES Lessen 140 Youngsters 1°,2,3,4,5,10,12,13, 10/14 Derby-Hainaut 665 Youngsters 1°,2,3,4,6,24,38,39, 10/14
11/8 TOURY 165 Youngsters 1°, 9, 13, ... 6/8
11/8 TOURS Avelgem 109 Youngsters 1°, 15, ... 3/8
25/8 LA SOUTERRAINE 375 Youngsters 1°, 2°, 4, 9, 12,13,14,18,20,23,24,26,29,30,31 ... 33/36 Derby Hainaut 1229 Youngsters 1° , 7, 11, 23, 30, 31,32,41,49,56,57,60,70,74,75,... 33/36 CFWH 1148 Youngsters 1°,6,9,17,20,21,22,26,33,38,39,42,49,53,54,60,71,73,... CFW 5581 Youngsters 1°, 32, 53, ...33/36 National 18.973 Youngsters 4°, 83, 158, ... 29/36
25/8 TOURS 125 Youngsters 1°, 2°, 6, 8,... 10/14 Intprov 1.930 Youngsters 3°, 10, 52,... 10/14
2/9 NOYON 355 Youngsters 3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,18,...28/36
8/9 GUERET 688 Youngsters 12,13,14,15,27,29,32,33,38,39,42,52,57,60,61,66,68,...31/33