January 18, 2023
‘A journey around the world’, that is the goal of the World-Wide Friesian Tour, which saw its official kick-off on March 19th last. Unfortunately, the number of 40.075 kms, – exactly the circumference of the earth – was not yet a fact on our target date of January the 14th of the Stallion Inspection. What we did achieve though: connectedness, a fantastic network and countless new contacts between lovers of the Friesian horse. Across the entire globe!
Helen Hiltorn Bogren and Kristin Brüdigam, together with international two-in-hand driver Amanda Krogsted, who is one of the initiators of the WWFT, were present at the SI for the atmosphere and the horses, but also to meet their ‘fellow travellers’ at the KFPS stand. ‘It was great fun to meet these people in person because normally the contact only takes place online. Everyone is excited to be in Leeuwarden and see cracks like Jurre 495 shine in the arena.’
‘Pretty much all people participating in the WWFT are recreational riders who simply enjoy being around their Friesian horses. They have a soft spot for this breed and especially the breed’s great character appeals to them. Most owners have their horse purely for pleasure, not for (top) sports. That is more or less the origin of the idea behind the WWFT,’ Helen explains.
An amazing 2860 rides with Friesian horses – ridden, driven or just leading in-hand – have been recorded by participants from nineteen countries, including New Zealand, Australia, Canada… ‘It is good fun to watch all those photos and videos on the Facebook page. Happy black Friesian ears indoors as well as outdoors; in the snow, in blazing sunlight, on the beach, in the woodlands, in the arena … so diverse and yet so familiar.’
Every kilometre counts
Amanda Krogsted has made a huge contribution to the by now collective total of 25,789 kilometres people have travelled with their horses. With her three Friesian geldings she has totted up 2500 kilometres. ‘She is terribly fanatical and trains hard to keep her horses in good condition. Her commitment to the sport has no bounds!’ Helen tells us. ‘But naturally, every contribution counts so every person who takes part is just as important.’
‘We also see participants who set personal aims’, says this Swedish lady who herself is a member of the Board of the Svenska Frieserhästföreningen and competes in combined driving with her home-bred Star gelding. One lady rider from Germany posted a photo showing a ‘certificate’ stating: ‘1000 kilometres completed’! Isn’t that wonderful? The number of kilometres per completed ride per rider also goes up. Someone who initially rode just five or six kilometres now often achieves double that distance. So the horses’ condition improves and the riders and or drivers become more fanatical!’
The feeling of togetherness in the world of Friesian lovers is quite substantial as it is, and the WWFT enhances this even further. ‘We have had such an incredibly good time at the SI. For me it was the fifth or sixth time but many of my WWFT friends were there for the first time and they savoured every minute of it!’
Of course the WWFT continues. The number of ridden kilometres keeps growing all the time and new faces keep popping up. We don’t just register our kilometres on the Facebook page, we also use this platform to share our experiences and as a forum for questions and answers. ‘Some participants are starting to worry about what will happen once we have reached our target. But we will continue to see and meet each other, the connectedness and contacts are there to stay!’ Helen reports with vigour.
Joining the World-Wide Friesian Tour
Are you keen to join this wonderful world-wide initiative? Taking part is really simple: follow the Facebook page of the World-Wide Friesian Tour. Rally up your horsey friends, riding- or driving club, hiking club or whoever you would like to take along and choose the distance you want to do. The minimum distance is 5 kms, there is no maximum distance. Monitor the ride with an App that measures distances and post this together with a nice photo of you and your horse and some extra info about you on the Facebook page.
Meanwhile it is also possible to order some fantastic merchandise via the page to demonstrate that you are part of the World-Wide Friesian Tour community. (cd)
Click here for the link to the WWFT Facebook page