Piet Mestdagh and Reining Whiz claimed two prestigious world titles: the 2019 NRHA Non Pro and Intermediate Non Pro World Championships.
By Megan Arszman
After earning three Reserve World Champion titles, Piet Mestdagh set out to conquer his ultimate goal as a non pro in 2019. Under the tutelage of NRHA Two Million Dollar Rider Bernard Fonck and NRHA Million Dollar Rider Ann Fonck, Mestdagh and his 2007 stallion Reining Whiz (Topsail Whiz x Rush N Cat) did just that. In fact, the pair brought home two World Championships: Non Pro and Intermediate Non Pro.
“At first we planned on playing it safe, because I could concentrate on the Intermediate Non Pro,” Mestdagh revealed. “Bernard told me the Non Pro would be difficult, but we watched show by show. It was very exciting through the last show.”
During a trip to Texas in 2015, Mestdagh purchased Reining Whiz from a customer of Mathieu Button.
“We had seen a lot of horses, but nothing really interested me,” he recalled. “When we arrived at Mathieu’s, I saw a horse waiting, and I said to my trainer, ‘I hope that is the one, because this could be love at first sight.’”
That love blossomed into a phenomenal partnership, and that same year, Mestdagh and “Bentley” finished reserve after a close race for the Non Pro world title. The following year brought a second reserve world title, fueling Mestdagh’s desire to finish 2019 in the No. 1 spot.
“I just wanted to win a World Championship once in my life,” he shared.
At the 2019 NRHA European Derby in Lyon, France, Bentley showed signs of a tendon problem, and Mestdagh was heartbroken, both for his horse and his goal.
“I thought it was done for me,” he recalled. “But my lead wasn’t compromised.”
While Bentley recovers from his injury, he’s standing at stud for the first part of 2020, and Mestdagh is excited for the new venture.
“He has a very good character, both in and out of the show pen,” Mestdagh said. “He’s such a beautiful horse.”
Mestdagh’s first love was horses, beginning at age 12 when he purchased a retired racehorse. Although his business involves breeding, buying, and selling pigs, reining has been his passion since he first entered the sport in 2000.
He and his wife, Natalie Lecomte, own a ranch where they breed and raise reining horses. The couple takes pride in working with some of the best reining breeders and trainers in Europe, aiming to help strengthen the sport in their home country of Belgium.
“The level of horses, trainers, and riders in Belgium has gradually increased, and now we can say we have a high level of quality,” he shared. “I’m a very satisfied man, now that I’ve achieved that world title after all those years. I have had some great times, made many friends, and had a lot of fun. And it’s all due, in part, to my darling wife, and my trainers.”