Blog Anna: memories of my youth with Friesian horses

Met Wiecke fan de Greidpleats (Tsjalle 454 x Maeije 440)

Hello all,

A new blogger at A short intro, my name is Anna and I live in PEI, Canada since 1992. Together with my husband and our son we operate a dairy farm. Our daughter is studying in Wageningen (NLD) and our youngest son is in the last grade of Elementary school on PEI. We have 4 Friesian horses. I am also the president of the Atlantic Canada Friesian Horse Association. And certified riding coach.

In this blog I’m going to tell you about owning Friesian horses in Eastern Canada and how it has evolved, as well as my connection to them.

Born and raised with Friesian horses

I was born and raised in rural Fryslan on a dairy farm, where Friesian horses were also bred. (There are a lot of breeders in my family, to start with my grandparents. Growing up I was surrounded by the beautiful blacks.
My youth consisted of everything and anything which had to do with horses. My parents participated in lots of activities with their horses. It all started with the Model Preferent mare Trude (Gerke 220 x Hylke 186). Trude is the full sister of Ottsje, the mother of Jochem 259. Both mares were bred by my grandfather. Trude had five daughters, who all received the star predicate. I grew up with these mares. I also rode ponies, but much preferred working with the Friesians. Helping my dad to train them, and preparing the horses for inspections. Sometimes when I went to get one from the field, my feet couldn’t reach the ground, when the mare put her head up. I had to hold on to the halter extra well. We hardly ever used lead ropes. That practice got ingrained in me when I went to work for WItteveen Friesians in ONT, Canada, later on. That’s a story for another time.

Tilting at the ring

When my parents participated in “tilting at the ring” I would be their groom. When older, I did participate, but wasn’t any good at it. My dad did not like the horse to saunter by the ring holders; he much preferred a brisk trot! So when I missed the ring, and that happened more often than not, my fingers hit the holders! That caused some blood on my fingers, Band-Aids to the rescue! (The antique bugle purse was a good spot to hide them). My mom was so much better. Thus I would say: “mom, you go, I can always go later”. Not knowing then, that later I would immigrate to Canada. So all in all, I only participated a few times!

Grow impatient and do tiny rears and prance

Now for “tilting at the ring” you need a suitable horse. My parents had a few who were and some who weren’t. They needed to be capable of waiting patiently between rounds, and then when it was their turn, go in a forward trot by the ring holders, without wavering. Cantilene (Naen 264 x Ritske 202) was such a mare. “Cantilene means music!” would A.K.W. Douma say. THE announcer during these competitions. My parents did well and have won many prizes. Another mare Tsjimkje Ster Preferent (Wessel 237 x Gerke 220) (youngest daughter of Trude) was less suitable. She had a lot of go and animation, (which made the sjees very move a lot) and did not like waiting. Between rounds when she had to wait, she would grow impatient and do tiny rears and prance. The public enjoyed this excitement. Thankfully nothing ever went wrong. The mares loved their job. Most often they also nursed a foal, which stayed at home. Ylse (Remmelt 323 x Feitse 293) was also a most suitable mare. My parents bought her as a yearling. She was calm and not spooky. She had a strong graceful trot, and went in a straight line by the ring holders, not minding the public at all. She wasn’t a quitter either, a real worker.

With this special mare my story continues, as she moved to PEI at the age of 6.

Till next time!


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