One of the great things of our Studbook is that we come across breeders of the Friesian horse in all parts of the world. Last month we had a good excuse to travel to Canada. From the 12th through to the 21st of July the KFPS organised a group trip to this country on the occasion of the 35th anniversary of FHANA, the Friesian Horse Association of North America. Under the inspiring leadership of Marijke Akkerman we were treated to an impressive programme ranging from a visit to the Calgary Stampede and Spruce Meadows to attending the FHANA Jubilee Show, visiting the companies of the Floryn and Muilwijk Families as well as a visit to the Paagman Family who enjoy their Friesian horses at their home base in the Rocky Mountains. With a keen and sociable group of thirty horse lovers including my wife and myself, we set sail for Alberta.
The FHANA was founded in 1984 by a number of Friesian dairy farmers who had emigrated and taken their Friesian horses with them. It is the oldest foreign daughter association which focuses on breeding and uses the Friesian horses in line with the objectives of the KFPS. The FHANA counts 1700 members with 80% living in the USA and 20% in Canada. It is also the only foreign association so far that has strictly used approved Studbook stallions since 1992 and that has had its own selection programme for young stallions since 2007. That deserves our respect.
No doubt the Jubilee Show was the absolute highlight. Incredible passion has resulted in a full day´s programme which had its culmination in the final, marvellous and well-executed performance of the Quadrille with their practice sjezen. And considering the great distances that have to be covered, compared to the Netherlands, to get together for the training sessions and the celebrations! Some people had to travel for over three days! Personally, I was greatly impressed by the remarkable hospitality and transparency of the organisation, the participants and visitors, many of them having Dutch and Friesian blood running through their veins. It felt like one big family all connected through the passion for the Friesian horse.
The FHANA Board should continue to cherish (maybe even still more) that passion and connectedness because it is what forges such collective enthusiasm and unity between the members. The organisation under the leadership of Jack Vanderkooy and the Alberta Friesian Horse Association and especially the Muilwijk, Floryn and Dominicus Families who were responsible for the implementation of it all in practical terms, deserve a huge compliment.
Next August the breeding chapter Het Friesche Paard South Netherlands are celebrating their 40th anniversary. Known to be a very active breeding chapter, they too have a proactive, cooperative approach to how to invest in breeding Friesians and the sport, which they combine with many activities in a welcoming, friendly atmosphere. That is definitely worth celebrating and is part of the culture of our Studbook.
I wish you all happy reading.