Blog Anna: Fall rides, no inspections and Remembrance Day

Let’s pick up where we left off in my previous blog; we were just informed that the NA inspections for 2021 were canceled, just like the ones for 2020. For breeders this is kind of a big deal! It’s nice to show off your breeding stock, but it’s much more than that! Horses with predicates increase in value. Breeding stock get linear scores which helps with stallion selection etc. In 2020 I decided not to breed my mare. Not breeding her would enable me to train and show her this spring and summer optimal for the upcoming inspection. As a breeder I could not really afford to leave her open for another year, she is already 6 this year. In 2019 we were not granted an inspection because of low numbers in our area. Fingers crossed for 2022! It will be four years after our first ever inspection for our region in 2018.

A virtual inspection

Because the official inspections were cancelled due to Covid for two years in a row, we received the opportunity from the KFPS to send in a video, kind of like a virtual inspection, remember? Just to be able to promote foalbook mares to studbook.
Well that isn’t as easy as it sounds! I wanted to give it a try. I started to practice with my mare and runners and students who helped with the videotaping. Training with local runners; fast, strong runners. But it’s not something they do every day! And it’s not an easy task. Presenting the horse properly before the jury, to position the horse in front of the judge in just the right way … All those little tricks that you wouldn’t even think of! So I discovered that my lunge whip is no good for making a good ‘crack of the whip’. And that my mare doesn’t get too excited nor has a real desire to show off without the extra excitement. Like onlookers and other horses. The show element was missing quite a bit! Horses know when people are watching, and most of them tend to add some spice to the performance when it counts. Being in a new environment, decorations etc. All of this can add some extra expression to the performance, they enjoy showing off.
And then the instruction video from the KFPS came out. In this video it clearly showed how to do things. And… that a microchip reader is needed! Of course! Never thought of that! A microchip reader.. aghh!, that’s going to be a problem.. I do not own such a thing. To ask the vet to come out with the chip reader and be there while we take the videos was a bit much. So I left the video inspection for what it was.

Mock inspection

Again, practicing for nothing? Training with runners etc?! Not really. Our association, the Atlantic Canada Friesian Horse Association decided to organize a “mock inspection”. Held September 18th on PEI! Interesting for new members who have no idea what an inspection entails. It also was a great learning opportunity for participants and spectators alike. This was especially true for the IBOB dressage tests. The weather was great, sunny and not too hot. We started the day with the IBOB tests. There were three participants:

  • Angela and Vittoria (Vromme x Remmelt 323) a 7 year old BBook II mare owned by James and Angelina
  • Inge and Jinte G. fan’e Rydwei (Uldrik 457 x Anton 343) a 10 year old star mare owner Inge
  • Myself and Eke Fan Marksate (Walt 487 x Wikke 404) 4 year old Vb mare owner Medea

Inge had arranged that Hergen van Hall virtually judged our IBOB tests! That was awesome. The tests were videotaped, and sent to Hergen. He studied them and made some notes. After that we discussed the videos as a group. The rider could watch the video back at the same time as Hergen. Then he evaluated the test again with the rider, commenting on certain aspects of the ride. It was a superb learning opportunity! The most heard comment was, it’s not a dressage test! Take risks, ride your horse to show off her gates. We have some time to practice 😉

Jinte and Inge halt, salute

After a great potluck lunch the same three mares were presented for the “mock’ inspection. As well as Wiecke fan de Greidpleats (Tsjalle 454 X Maeije 440), owner Anna.
The three foal book mares were measured first. My dad Aise had agreed to be the judge. He (and my mom Anneke) judged the horses, also via video messenger. The owners received feedback on conformation and the way of going. Just like at a real inspection. (I helped translate as this is not your everyday English). It was nice to learn more about conformation, the four mares that were presented were all very different. In regards to showing the horses in hand, the most important take away was that we have to work with our mares, to present them with more power from the hindquarters. One way of achieving that is to have a good start to the trot from the corners.


Below a man and his horse James and Vittoria

Fall trailrides and Remembrance Day

Fall is here and we are enjoying a beautiful Indian summer, perfect fall weather for trail rides. On one of those rides my mind wanders off to a different time. A time during the war, where my grandfather and other farmers were instructed by the Germans to leave some of their horses behind in a little village in Frieslan called Raerd. How they got home after leaving the horses behind was of no concern to the enemy. For those farmers it certainly was a different kind of ride. The last ride or drive so to speak, with your prized possession to be handed off to the Germans. They would not just claim any horse. They certainly knew which horses to pick. Never mind the farmer got paid for the claimed horses. We all know that a good horse is worth its weight in gold. Some farmers did not want their best horses to leave the farm, and they would “sore” them. In Raerd the Germans would gather the horses they had claimed from that area and then take them to a farm in Scharnegoutum, another little Friesian village. There horses would stay to eat and rest, for their upcoming journey to anywhere the Germans needed them during the war.

 


My grandfather also had to “sell” two of his best Friesian horses to the Germans. His Friesians stood out as there were mostly horses of other breeds. The Friesian was not the most popular horse for farm work. A versatile, smart horse, yes. But enough power to pull a plow all day? A real draft horse was more popular for the heavy work.
I asked my grandparents many questions about the war. Also about the horses that had to go. But they had such a hard time talking about it. Not many details were shared. The deep fear was still engraved in them even years later. The times were extremely frightening. My grandparents had stowaways on their farm. That on its own would result in a dead sentence if discovered. Everyone was living in constant fear. The Germans raided farms a soon as there was the slightest suspicion. Day or night it made no difference. In Friesland, the most northern province of the Netherlands, people were mostly spared from the bitter hunger that came over other parts of the country. Pake and Beppe even hosted people who had walked all the way from southern Holland for food. Luckily no one was ever found on their farm. Years later my grandparents till received thank you letters. Soon it will be Remembrance Day. November 11th. This day commemorates all victims of war. Just like in the Netherlands on May 4th. It is good and important to remember, lest we forget.

 

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