Are you aware that over 10% of horses with a KNHS starting pass are Friesians? Our horse has become an important, fixed value in the elementary sport and that role seems to be on the increase in the coming years. Originating in Friesland, where it has been an established fact for quite some time already that these black pearls know how to shine in the dressage ring, by now this trend can be seen all over the Netherlands. It’s a journey that continues steadily throughout Europe and the other continents. It’s a process that requires patience and takes years. It’s all about dismantling prejudices and about pioneers who persevere in continuing their mission, because they are deeply convinced that their Friesian horse is a great sport horse.
Many of us have witnessed this change. At first people sniggered when someone entered the dressage ring with a Friesian. But this sniggering has made way for approval, yes, even admiration. How did that small, closed studbook pull off the reformation from this breed into a sport horse in just a few decades? A horse that is totally adapted to contemporary requirements and wishes of the owners of this day. A pleasant drive with the carriage, a Sunday-morning hack, and yes, dressage competitions are also on the menu, from level B through to the Grand Prix, even internationally. The Friesian horse takes it all in its stride. Actually, you would be hard-pushed to come up with a reason for not acquiring such a Friesian horse.
This ‘missionary’ work isn’t yet finished, not by a long shot. But our figureheads deserve a big thank you. They are the ones who rolled out the red carpet for more Friesian horses in the sport in recent years. They are the ones who rode themselves into the spotlight and in doing so generated priceless publicity for the breed. Mentioning all their names is undoable, they are (fortunately) with far too many and I wouldn’t want to forget anyone. You know who they are. Their pioneering role is of precious value for our Friesian horse, nationally as well as internationally. The recognition by the WBFSH, which the KFPS fought to obtain for fifteen years, also helps. This is going to work in our favour and can implicitly be read in between the lines in our Phryso.

We are grateful for and proud of all those pioneers who have always kept faith in the Friesian horse’s aptitude for the sport and who still continue to spend ample time, money and energy in the strong conviction that in the end, the horse will be its own promotion. Because that is what our breed does. Not just with her fine, regal appearance, her rich feathers and her uniquely reliable, honest character, but above all when people experience her talent for the sport and her desire to work when riding or driving with a Friesian. People can no longer (sniggering or not) ignore that.

Detlef Elling
Interim Chairman KFPS

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