The Friesian horse connects. We can all feel that in our own street when bikers or hikers stop for a chat when we are interacting with our horses. Our horse connects fans, recreational users, professionals and us breeders too when we follow our own breeding products or specific bloodlines. New friendships emerge spontaneously. The extraordinary thing is that this does not only happen in the Netherlands or Europe, but we make new friends all across the world. We all speak the same language of the Friesian horse.
In the summer of 2021 the Swedish SFHF Studbook set out to chase this connecting factor by way of a tour with horses. Everybody with a Friesian horse registered themselves for a tour under saddle, in-harness or even just walking through Sweden’s spectacular natural landscapes. They posted photos and videos on Facebook and in total covered 1572 kms – the entire length of Sweden – in (just) 47 days. This proved to be a huge stimulus for the Friesian horse community in Sweden. The success has whetted people’s appetite for more. The KFPS has received a request to embrace this initiative on a global scale, together with two Swedish Friesian horse enthusiasts, Helen Hilltorn Bogren and Kristin Brüdigam, in an attempt to connect lovers of Friesian horses anywhere in the world. It’s a challenge we’re very keen to accept, and we set our aim at covering 40,075 kms within the space of 300 days, which reflects exactly one journey around the earth. Within 300 days, because after two years of silence we are going to meet again at the WTC in Leeuwarden for the Stallion Inspection and Friesian Proms.
This global tour made me think of the tour organised by the Landelijke Rijvereniging De Oorsprong in St. Nicolaasga. Over fifty years ago they embarked on a 6-day-trip through Friesland to draw attention to their mission of salvaging the Friesian breed. Back then they also connected many people and won their hearts for the Friesian horse. Thanks to the enormous attention from the public the Friesian horse was back on the agenda. Fifty years after this feat we’re not short of attention, but the recent turbulent times have taken a toll on our feelings of global togetherness. Wouldn’t it be great if we succeed in demonstrating that Friesian horses connect people, irrespective of boundaries and regardless of any conceivable differences, anywhere in the world?