Blog Anna: Inspection, Hurricane Fiona and independent foals

Buitenrit met Wiecke ruime tijd na orkaan Fiona..

A lot has happened since my last blog! First the inspection of course! We were eagerly awaiting this event for 4 years. Last year at the last moment it got cancelled again. But finally this year, it was a go! In August instead of September, a month earlier. That made a difference with the planning. During a much busier time on the dairy farm. But for the foals at a nice age.

Training 3 times a week

So we trained horses last summer. Hannah one of my students gave me a hand. 7am starting time. First the two 3 year old mares, Juniper KCF and Jiselle MF. Jiselle is a Hessel 480 x Jakob 302 and she is owned by Sheree. Juniper , my mare, is a Thorben 466 x Tonjes 459. A minimum of 3 times a week lungeing. Including trotting over poles and trotting in hand, transitions and more transitions. As well as trotting along the road. I wasn’t quite courageous enough to take the bicycle out for practice, that’s done a lot in the Netherlands. That way at least you can keep up with the horse. We also trailered off property for experience. With the foals Trude( Nane 492) and Uniecke ( Matthys 504) we worked on leading in walk, and free trotting with their moms. We trained Wiecke fan de Greidpleats as well. This is her first adult inspection.

Wiecke fan de Greidpleats (Tsjalle 454 x Maeije 440) (Picture: Erin Falkenham)

Finally Inspection day is here!

Because of significant rainfall in the days leading up to the inspection, the inspection had to be held indoors. The outdoor arena was much too wet. Being indoors is not ideal. It can influence the horse’s way of going. Less space, less light. Foals especially tend to be a bit reserved in their movements in an unfamiliar indoor arena. Trude and Uniecke also held back some in the trot. But all in all, they didn’t do too bad. Good enough for two second premies. My first home breds at the inspection. Very special indeed! (Never would have thought it would take this long and be such a challenge, since I moved from the Netherlands that’s for sure!)

Champion filly Uniecke fan Friesian Meadows ( Matthys 504 x Tsjalle 454) Picture: Erin Falkenham

How did the mares fare out? Jiselle trots with more bravery as at home (Must be the runners capacities 😉 ) to a star with second premie predicate. She also takes the reserve championship of the day! Wiecke trots with an impressive hindleg to a well-deserved 3e premie. The highest trot score of the day. She is not a modern type mare, that may have cost her the star predicate. It wasn’t for her movements, that’s for sure! Juniper was excitable and tense. She didn’t show herself to her full potential. Better next time!
PEI was well represented with 7 out of 10 horses. The champion mare of the day, also from PEI, is Jinte G fan’e Rydwei (Uldrik 457 x Anton 343). Jinte is a first premie star mare, owned and ridden by Inge and trained together. They put a great IBOP score of 77.5 pts in the books. All in all it was a very successful day. All horses looked great and behaved well. They were presented suburb by our runners. Needless to say we are very grateful! Jorn and Janne thank you so much! Without you this would not have been possible.

Reserve Champion Jiselle MF with proud owner Sheree (Picture: Erin Falkenham)

Road trip and Hurricane

After the inspection it’s time for a holiday! On a road trip with my sister and parents (Breeders of fan de Greidpleats horses)From Seattle we drove to las Vegas What an adventure! It was nice to meet some FHANA members and see the stallion Haike 482.
In September Hurricane Fiona happens.. That is quite something. The First hurricane ever of this magnitude on PEI, and hopefully the last. Horses in the barn, unusual because normally weather wise they could stay out for quite a bit longer. In most cases it would be safer to leave horses outside with hurricanes, as buildings can collapse. But here most people chose to put them in. Worried about flying debris and downed fences. And that happened! My fences were down. So many trees down. Softwood and hardwood, the leaves just stripped off and plastered to windows and walls of buildings. Such a weird sight. No nice fall colors left, but bare trees if they were still standing! Everything considered we fared well. We lost some sheet metal roofing, but the old roof under it held. We also lost a door and a window in the heifer barn. (It could have been so much worse!)There are dairy barns and horse arena’s completely destroyed. Even now, tree removal and cleanup is still ongoing.

Trail ride with Wiecke after Fiona..

Because of the enormous amount of trees that came down, all of PEI lost its power. Roads and power lines were buried. The army had to come and help with clean up. Some residents were without power for as long as 3 weeks! We ran the farm for 10 days on the generator. Our corn, also flattened by the hurricane, was difficult to harvest. Thankfully we had great weather during the fall. A big help for the immense cleanup for sure!

Breeding is looking ahead and sometimes looking back

Wunder en Wiecke are just to be sure, checked again for pregnancy. Both still in foal  From Nane 492 and Matthys 504. The same as last year. With frozen semen most of the time you buy extra straws, that’s why. I’m very curious what these combinations will bring this time. Looking back, my parents also bred two full sisters years ago. Lisa Star (Mark 232 x Gerke 220) and Mathilde Star Pref. (Mark 232 x Gerke 220). Both from Trude Model Pref.(Gerke220 x Hylke186) but very different! Mathilde, small and quick, Lisa tall with lots of presence. When you look at the 6 lines of the Friesian Stallions by D.G. Wiersma (see picture below) the Gerke ( Age 168) line is the least represented. Elias 494, most likely the most well-known of this line, is a descendant on fathers side from Gerke (Age 168) Thus it is a good thing that two sons of Elias 494 made it to the second stallion viewing. Best of luck boys! It is important that more attentions is given to kinship, in order to keep access to as much genetic diversity as possible. Years ago it was already nice to have a mare like Trude with “unrelated” blood as it was called. She could be matched with a variety of stallions. As breeder it isn’t always easy to take into account all aspects. From inbreeding to carrier status (my mares are free, that helps) to kinship. To more limiting factors like location, semen availability and quality. And still trying to get the best possible match for your mare. For now I am happy with healthy foals and good quality frozen semen! Next goal, lower kinship.

Independent foals

The foals Trude and Uniecke are weaned. It was time. At almost 6 months old they were independent enough. They ate their grain and hay without problems. The moms were ready too 😉 It is nice the girls can grow up together. Soon winter will set in. It has been unusual mild, but pasture time is over. At night they come in the barn and during the day they are in their paddock. This way they are handled daily. And that’s a good thing!

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