Blog from New Zealand: Kia Ora! Hello!

I am brimming with excitement as I sit down to write my first Phryso blog piece with ‘News from New Zealand’! How amazing to be given this opportunity, and what an awesome way to connect and share with Friesian lovers worldwide.
I am Anna Zhigareva and I’ll vary the topics of these blogs, but thought I’d start with an introduction from myself and my horses, and then share a little about the New Zealand Friesian Horse Society and some of its members!

Me and My Horses

I am Anna Zhigareva and I’ve been in New Zealand since the age of three, so consider this gorgeous country to be my home. How lucky indeed! I have a degree in Linguistics and work for an education technology company here in Auckland, specialising in teaching writing skills to children.
I have always been a horse girl, though! Yep, it’s in my genes! I grew up spending my summers enjoying our family horses, helping with training, exercise and breeding. I’m currently completing a distance-learning Research Master’s in Equine Science with the University of Edinburgh, and love to spend time reading up on scientific progress in horse breeding and welfare. I have worked with many different breeds and yet have never met something as courageous, curious, friendly and loyal as the Friesian horse!

From two to four, five….and six Friesian horses

I first fell in love with Friesians here in New Zealand, when I visited the Coromandel Peninsula with my parents and stayed at an eco-lodge whose owners bred Friesian horses. In an incredible turn of events, I am now the owner of two of those Friesians I met 8 years ago (one out of Nanning 374, one out of Feitse 293). These gorgeous cousin boys are now enjoying a lovely retirement at my place in the hills of Waitoki, Auckland.
In 2020, my equally-Friesian-loving Mum and I decided to import a beautiful Ster mare (Uldrik 457 x Doaitsen 420) and a spectacular 8-month-old colt (Tymen 503 x Sibald 380). After a lot of research, dedicated help from Nicole Adriaansen in the Netherlands, as well as the care and professionalism of IRT (a fantastic horse transport company!), Betje (Bettie) and Nandert (Nano) arrived in New Zealand on 1st April 2021.
A few months later, we decided to add to our Friesian family by importing a stunning 2 year-old mare, Maike (Tiede 501 x Folkert 353), who arrived just in time for a summery Christmas, and another colt, Othello (Julius 486 x Aan 416), who joined us in the New Year. These four youngsters have formed the core of my small new breeding operation, Lone Pine Friesians, and I am incredibly excited to see where our journey takes us!

Joining the New Zealand Friesian Horse Society

I have been a member of the KFPS (and NZFHS) for just over a year now and have been involved in helping out with the NZFHS social media and website. In an exciting turn of events, I was recently officially elected as Secretary and Webmaster on the New Zealand Friesian Horse Society Board! This is a doubly exciting occasion as our long-awaited (thanks, COVID) Keuring is coming up in 2023, and it’s a great honour and opportunity to be involved in its organisation and participation!
A lot to learn for this young and new member, but fantastic to see such a warm welcome from our Friesian community down under!
The NZFHS was founded by Louis and Marianne Weitenberg back in 2018, and has been an incredible source of advice and help for Friesian lovers new and old. Being part of it is also a fantastic way to get to meet members on group social outings or through virtual competitions! Of course, it wouldn’t be right not to include a bit about the NZFHS’s wonderful founders, Louis and Marianne, so read on for their story!

NZFHS’s Founders, Louis and Marianne Weitenberg

Louis and Marianne are the proud owners of Glenrose Friesians, and have been successfully importing and breeding Friesian horses in New Zealand for many years now. They are self-sufficient, doing their own scanning, inseminating, foaling, training, breaking under saddle and harness.
Louis’s passion is breeding, originally starting with dairy cows and judging calf club days at schools. It has since jumped over to Friesian horses and he spends many nights watching the Keurings livestreamed from the KFPS. Marianne is the driver behind the scenes and takes care of their online promotional work. This year, Louis was re-elected as President of the NZFHS, and also took on the role of Registrar.
The Weitenbergs get a buzz out of seeing their horses go to wonderful people, and love following their journey. They are also always willing to help and were great with their advice to me personally when I was organising my first import!

Foalbook Stallion Jolmer fan Twillens (Onne 376)

Jolmer fan Twillens (Onne 376 x Oege 267), who stood at stud as Foalbook stallion with a breeding permit, has now entered retirement. His companion, a tiny gelding called Henk, is never far away. Henk also doubles as a friend for the grandchildren!
Louis’s current dressage horse, Ninthe fan ‘e Boerestreek (Tsjalle 454 x Beart 411), was imported through Henswoude. After an unsuccessful embryo transfer, Louis decided to let Ninthe carry her own pregnancy to Nane 492, due in January 2023. He hopes to be able to show the foal at our 2023 Keuring!

Another New Board Member!

Another Board member who’s just joined the team is Gill Chambers! During one of the 2021 lockdowns, Gill and her very own stunning Friesian mare Kalani of Glenrose Friesians (Haitse 425 x Olof 315) took part in a Virtual Working Equitation competition, where they placed 2nd overall! They received a score of 68.95% for the dressage element and 78.08% for Ease of Handling (EOH). Watch the whole routine here:
Gill’s expertise is phenomenal and spans many decades of involvement in NZ’s equestrian scene. Gill has been on the Hawke’s Bay Dressage Committee since 1999 and was Chairperson there for 9 years. She has been heavily involved in sponsorship and fundraising, and travels around NZ as an A Grade Judge. We are lucky to have Gill as our Promotion & Events Officer as we set everything in motion for NZ’s 2023 Keuring!

Next time!

In the hopes of not ranting on for too long, I will now bring this blog post to a close. I have yet to introduce two more of our incredible Board Members, Baldeep Dhillon (Vice President) and Bronwyn Yucel (Treasurer). I can’t wait to share about their Friesian experiences in my next blog post!

For now, good-bye! Stay safe! Till later!

~ Anna



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