A year goes by quick. It is almost a year ago that my first blog appeared on Phryso.com. Writing a little piece every month, was the plan. Well, almost every month. Not that there isn’t anything happening here, on the contrary. Lots to do on a Dairy Farm! But this is about the horses. Sadly due to Covid restrictions, like almost anywhere in the world, we have been unable to meet for a while with the AFCHA, our local Friesian Horse Club. Normally we would meet every couple of months in one of the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick or PEI. Those meetings are fun and informative. Currently we meet online. More business-like and they don’t make for great stories!
Snow and lots of it
50 cms and over 100kms winds for over 20 hours..that creates some havock! Even though we are well prepared. We have a generator for when we lose power. That happens more often than not in the bigger storms. This time we were lucky. The power stayed on. Not so in all parts of PEI. Power outages are usually caused by falling trees, pulling the electricity wires down with them. Or by frozen rain. When there is no power, we cannot get water (from our own well) on the farm. Sometimes it takes days to restore the power. This is why we need our own generator. Cows need to be milked. Most people know to stay home. The odd person ventures out and gets stuck. With high winds there are no snow plows on the roads as visibility is nil and the wind would fill in a cleared path right away.
A joy or a pain all that snow?!
Because of the wind, the drifting snow goes through every nook and cranny. In the lee area’s the snow accumulates in big piles! It took quite a bit of shoveling to free up doors. My ladies Wiecke (Tsjalle 454), Wunder (Tsjalle 454) and Juniper Thorben 466) usually go outside in the paddock every day. There they have a heated water bowl and a roundbale hay. Even a shelter. But when it’s slippery in places, with ice under the snow or blowing snow, they stay in. Wiecke is in foal with Matthys 504 en Wunder with Nane 492. Just can’t risk it.
Snow and Canada, it’s a given. Snow and the Friesian, a beautiful combination. Why? I have never met a Friesian horse who didn’t truly enjoy the snow! Pawing, snorting, rolling etc. On top of that, the snow makes for a beautiful background for pictures.
Ylse is missed dearly
Unfortunately I am not able to go for a sleigh ride this winter. We had to put Ylse (Remmelt 323 X Feitse 293) our beloved 22 year old mare to rest. After 16 years on the farm, she is missed. From her whiney in the morning to the wise look in her eyes. A versatile mare. In the eighties the KFPS handed out a promotional brochure, named Het Veelzijdige Friese Paard; The Versatile Friesian Horse. It has a short description about the history, characteristics and use of the Friesian Horse. As use concours driving, leisure and competitive driving, and leisure and competitive riding, as well as ring riding and the quadrille are mentioned. Ylse was such a mare, a family horse. She was sweet and reliable. Good natured, trusting towards people and a will to please. She was calm and was confident. But also a good work ethic. Yes an example of the character that made the Friesian Horse loved and famous. Something we can’t forget! I truly enjoyed taking her for rides across beaches and through the woods. Ylse definitely preferred to be driven. You could just tell. A little extra energy burst. It’s too bad there is not much to do here driving wise. Our drives were limited to home, in front of an antique carriage or sleigh. A sleigh with bells of course! Attached to the shaves on either side is a copper bell. And I always put a strand of bells around her neck. That sound just belongs to driving with a sleigh.
On PEI there is no driving club. There are no official Driving Competitions either. Driving Dressage is unknown. There are some shows which include driving. But that’s more pleasure driving. Nova Scotia has a Driving Society where they organize clinics and Pleasure Driving Shows. Those shows focus mainly on turnout and reinmanship. You are in the ring competing with other combinations. That differs from driving a dressage test, or a show trotting competition. The horse becomes less important. That’s not for me. Well maybe down the road.. I could start up a (Dressage) Driving Associating on PEI. But who am I kidding?! For now; I won’t have time for that!
The future is with the youth
Juniper KCF is a young mare which I bought last summer, after I sold my 4 year old gelding Ezra. It is always exciting to wait and see how a young horse develops. What they grow into. What their character is like. How they muscle up and gain strength. Training wise it makes a difference that Juniper was not born here. It takes a bit more time to gain her trust. To start any kind of training, gaining trust is an important aspect, if not the most important. Not all horses are the same. Some learn fast and some take more time. Juniper loves to learn and is quick. Her trot is natural flowing and strong. A nice new challenge!