January 14, 2023
Breeders of the Year Age and Marieke Okkema with son Jimte and daughter Ela KFPS Stallion Inspection 2023 © DigiShots
This husband and wife duo have been breeding under the stable name of fan de Mersken for roughly ten years, with the count so far standing at about 67 horses. They breed with proven dam lines from for example pedigree 50 and 70. Interesting too is how Age and Marieke now tread in the footsteps of Age’s parents: Pieter and Tiety Okkema were Breeders of the Year 2016. They owed their title to horses like their own breeding product Rommert 498.
Breeders of the Year Age and Marieke Okkema KFPS Stallion Inspection 2023 © DigiShots
And this time too a home-bred stallion hugely contributed to the title. Kanne 534, approved in the autumn of 2022, is an Ulbrân 502 son and was born as Kanne fan de Mersken. His half sister Ela Sterre fan de Mersken Crown AAA (Jehannes 484) became Reserve Overall Champion at the Central Inspection. The basis for these successes was laid by master breeders Foeke van der Velde and the Van der Meer and Tjeerdsma families who developed this branch of pedigree 50.
Strong broodmares, exceptionally successful stud stallions
Success for Stal fan De Mersken from pedigree 70 arrived with Jantsje Hester fan de Mersken Crown AAA (Ulbran 502), who already as a 3-year-old in 2022 scooped up the maximum in achievable predicates. Jantsje Hester is a half sister of Thorben 466 and this is how highly successful dam lines and exceptionally successful stallions come together in Age and Marieke Okkema’s breeding programme, which obviously, doesn’t come as a surprise. Other contributing factors to Age and Marieke’s election of Breeders of the Year are the five fan de Mersken horses who have obtained an AAA – triple A score. This is how sport and breeding go hand in hand.
Impartial scoring method
The Title of Breeder of the Year falls to the breeder who has gained the most/best results in breeding over the past year. In order to decide who wins this honorary title there is an objective scoring system in place (similar to the Preferent counting system for approved stallions), which includes Star, Crown and Model mares and where IBOP results and an approved Studbook stallion represent considerable contributing factors.