We would like to welcome you to these pages and introduce you to our horses and this wonderful breed. – the Dutch Friesian.
My husband Dick and I own and operate a stud in NSW and have become passionate in our enthusiasm of this beautiful ancient breed which boasts elegance, temperament, movement and a nature that makes them want to become your friend – what more could a horse lover want?
Growing up in the UK I was always a fan of big impressive horses and the appeal of the Welsh Cobs and Fells ponies. For me the Friesian combines all that is best out of these other breeds. The luxurious looks, the shiny black coat, the full sized horse and then adds to it the power and grace of movement that makes them ideal for the screen, for show and for riding.
After encountering our first Friesian Dick and I were besotted and owning a Friesian had become an obsession … something we knew we would do when we found the right horse. The “right horse” came along in the shape of a fuzzy little weanling that shared a paddock with a camel called Sam.
We bought our first Friesian filly (at the time I thought she would be the only one) as a six month old foal. She was bred in Victoria and her dam descended from the first Friesians imported to Australia in the 1970’s and her sire, Iepe TJ, was the first new Friesian Stallion imported to Australia for many a year.
She led us to our first encounter with Django, a barely perceptible bump in his glorious dams belly.
To be eligible for full inclusion in the adult stud book, Friesian horses must be inspected after their 3rd birthday. Younger horses are inspected for premium awards and entry into the foal stud book. Up until the year 2000, no horses had ever been inspected in Australia, but when member numbers increased and enthusiasts imported new bloodlines, the Australian and New Zealand Friesian Horses Society (ANZFHS) arranged for accredited inspectors from the FPS in the Netherlands to visit Australia to inspect our horses. The inaugural Inspection (Keuring) was conducted at Tamworth in 2000 and we took along our Friesian filly together with a grey TB mare, who was her traveling companion.
This is where we first saw the tall and elegant mare Renske fan e Olde Hoek.
This mare stood out, as she was ‘head and shoulders’ above all the other horses that were presented on the day. Her inspection was completed and Renske fan e Olde Hoek was awarded the highest recognition of excellence – a Ster rating. Renske fan e Olde Hoek was in foal and some time later we were advised that she had had delivered a colt. We immediately contacted the breeder Carl Mitchell to make arrangements to go up and inspect the young colt. It goes without saying that we loved him and made the necessary arrangements to bring him home when he was old enough to make the trip from Queensland to NSW.
Django had an interesting start to life. His mother decided that motherhood was not her thing and she had done her job carrying him for 11 months then giving birth. She felt it was someone else’s job to feed and’ nanny’ him. Feeding duties became a ’round the clock’ job for Carl and his wife Anne. Nanny duties were shared between an old mare and a young male camel called Sam.
At six months Django made the trip Queensland to the Hunter Valley where he joined our two old TB geldings who took over the job of teaching him to be a horse. He was introduced to cattle for the first time and his new experiences were accepted with inquisitive interest and ease.
Soon after he arrived it was time to consider the breaking in and education of our mare Tsjallinkje. I was discussing this with well known FEI Dressage rider Christine Crawford and she mentioned meeting a lovely Friesian colt who had been ‘off loaded’ at their property whilst in transit to his new home. “That’s OUR boy” I said, knowing he was the only Friesian colt in the area at the time. This conversation sparked a special friendship, which has developed into a very happy partnership.
Tsjallinkje was Christine and Jeremy’s (Janjic) introduction to the Friesian – and according to the glowing reports, she made a great impression. When time came to commence Django’s preparation for the next Keuring, it was logical for him to be sent to the experts for some handling and preparation. Due to the small number of Friesians to be inspected in Australia, the officials only visit us every three years. Jeremy was to train Django to run out and present himself to the judges. Jeremy would also handle him on the day of his inspection. Things did not go quite to plan and the week before the event, Jeremy found himself in hospital with acute appendicitis. I was left with no alternative but to take Django, the two mares and two foals by myself. Luckily, I was able to “borrow” someone else’s runner to show the horses for me.
At the completion of this early training Django had worked ‘his magic’ on Jeremy and the pair had formed a great relationship. When it was time to break him in and commence his education under saddle, there was no other option but to send him back to Jeremy.
Up until the time when Django arrived at their stables, Jeremy had been the one responsible for starting the young horses and when they were ready, Christine campaigned them at competitions. With the arrival of Django things were about to change. As he prepared Djnago for his first outing as dressage horse, Jeremy was having his own first official competitions with a young warmblood stallion. It was not long before he had both stallions out and the start of a long partnership of man and horse was formed.
“Django has the perfect competition personality, he loves attention from his many fans and seems to have a sense of occasion”!
Looking back when we started all we wanted was to show the breed in a positive light as an alternative for dressage enthusiasts. We knew we had a great horse and he has developed a wonderful relationship with his rider and we wanted to see what he could achieve.
Django has done us proud. Together with Jeremy he has steadily climbed the ranks of the Dressage world and is now competing and winning at Grand Prix, something we could only dream about when we started. In 2006 Django was presented to the Keuring for a classification as Ster. He achieved a Ster rating and a provisional breeding permit with very positive comments by the inspectors about his ability.Unfortunately the full breeding was withheld for technical reasons, which means his purebred foals are entered in the BBook2 of the Friesian Stud Book (KFPS).
We have continued to use Django (alongside other stallions) in our own breeding program as we believe his ability, temperament and long term soundness are qualities the breed needs and should not be denied when we have a very small gene pool in Australia. In the Sport arena, which has always been our focus, it is ability that is the proving ground. We do however support the aims of the KFPS and understand their global perspective so it with great happiness that we saw a Django son, Duvel TK awarded a First Premium Star rating and NSW Keuring Champion as a four year old.. Along side his
Django of Cacharel stands at stud at Janjic Performance Horses.
We hope you enjoy learning a little more about Friesians and in particular, the horses of Tashkent.