FHANA’s first Horse of the Year award
By Janice DeBoer VerMerris
Tjaarda 483 Sport-Elite is the first horse to receive the honor of becoming FHANA Horse of the Year. What does being awarded Horse of the Year by FHANA mean? Well basically it’s a notable horse by our members; one that has made a significant impression on us for one reason or another and therefore voted as the fan favorite for the year. Tjaarda has made an impression on our membership. And I think I know why. For most of us the Friesian horse is the horse of our dreams. It draws emotion of awe in its presence, beauty and movement. But as we become owners of a Friesian horse, a most common comment is made – the extraordinary character of the Friesian horse. He becomes not only that most majestic horse to our eye but also our very willing partner.
Tjaarda 483 is such a horse. He had an extremely successful show career in the Netherlands before coming to America. Trained and shown by well know Dutch equestrian Susan Bouwman, Tjaarda earned 3 Sports predicates (dressage under saddle, driven dressage and show driving). He also won the Silver bowl (award given by the KFPS for the top show driving horse). And in 2012 he was voted by the KFPS membership as the “Horse of the Year”.
So, Horse of the Year is not a new title for Tjaarda but this year he receives this distinction from our FHANA membership. His story here in America is likely why. Tjaarda was a very successful competition horse in the Netherlands with a professional rider. We would expect a very talented horse to do well with a very talented and experienced trainer. After becoming a KFPS breeding stallion via the short test and breeding for 2 seasons in the Netherlands Tjaarda traveled to Dorr Michigan to stand at the Friesian Connection Stallion Station, Inc. There his new rider was 18-year-old Ellisa Kroll, daughter of Amy Kroll and granddaughter of Friesian Connection founder Robert DeBoer. Ellisa had been working her way up the levels in USDF dressage and had successful scores with other KFPS breeding stallions but Tjaarda was her first FEI level horse. Tjaarda was just beginning PSG dressage with Susan Bouwman. Tjaarda successfully completed PSG with Ellisa Kroll in the summer of 2016. He was then awarded the new predicate from the KFPS known as Elite. Tjaarda had previously met the qualifications for Elite with his 3 Sport predicates and now met the qualifications with the 2nd possibility – 5 win points at an FEI level of dressage. Tjaarda became one of the first to earn the Elite predicate and is the only “double Elite”. From there this team continued to improve with 2018 earning Ellisa and Tjaarda regional championship at I-1. This year the team is competing at I-2 while schooling the Grand Prix.
Remarkable for a talented horse and talented rider…but this rider is not a professional…she is a junior rider. Tjaarda and Ellisa compete in show rings where the other junior riders are often competing on the fancy Warmbloods their parents have purchase who are masters at levels above the level of their rider. Tjaarda and Ellisa are unique in the show ring. It is something to see an actively breeding Friesian stallion ridden by a junior rider and winning above the Warmblood horses. And not only that. Tjaarda is being trained by Ellisa. It’s not uncommon for the talented horses of junior riders to be trained by professionals and then ridden by their junior owner/rider with their trainers coaching. Tjaarda is exclusively ridden by his junior rider. This team is coached by some of the best (their US coach is Grand Prix rider Brad Cutshall and well-known Friesian trainers Marc-Peter Spahn and Petra Zeelen come from the Netherlands to train Ellisa and Tjaarda) but the work is done by Ellisa.
So, what does this tell us about the Friesian breed? I think it proves what we all already know from personal experience. The Friesian horse is special. He is beautiful but he also wants to work for you, he wants to be your partner. And Tjaarda has represented that truth to us all as we watch this team work and become successful together. Not many moms would send their daughters off to horse shows on their own. Ellisa and Tjaarda often must go alone because Ellisa’s mom needs to be available to collect the other stallions at the stallion station. So, when the crowd at these shows see Tjaarda, they see a well behaving stallion handled by a young girl competing at FEI level dressage and they see what we see, a breed of horse to fall in love with. And that is why the FHANA members voted for Tjaarda to be their first “Horse of the Year”, because Tjaarda represents to all of us what is so special about the Friesian horse.

A mom’s take on her daughter on a Friesian in the show ring.
By Amy DeBoer Kroll
It’s a cool weekend in March 2019 and we are at a dressage show 3 hours from home. My daughter is saddling up, getting ready for her class. I watch the warm up ring as the other horses who are competing at the same level are being warmed up. What I see is that many of the horses are not being ridden by the rider for the test but rather the rider’s trainer. A half hour or more of “tune-up” and then the trainer gets off and the rider gets on for a few minutes of coaching as to which “buttons” to push before going into the show ring. Not every horse is prepared this way, but it is not an uncommon sight.
There is no trainer riding Tjaarda first, it’s only my daughter who will be in the saddle. My daughter gets into the saddle and goes into the warm up ring. The gate keeper is a little concerned. “You know” she says to my daughter, “your test is in just 5 minutes”. “I know”, says my daughter. Then after just a few little reminders to her horse, off she goes to enter the ring. She only needed a few minutes. She knows her horse and her horse knows her. They are a team.
I have pride for my daughter, but I cannot fail to acknowledge that this horse my daughter rides is exceptional. We are honored that the FHANA membership voted to award Tjaarda 483 Sport-Elite “Horse of the Year”. For us, Tjaarda is not just horse of the year, but horse of a lifetime!
I want to thank Jim and Sally Bedeker for purchasing Tjaarda and allowing Ellisa to show this magnificent stallion.

Come see the horse of your dreams!

Looking for the date for our annual open house for 2019? We have decided this year to hold it on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. So come out for a fun day of Friesian horses on Saturday, May 25, 2019. Time is from 11 am until 2 pm. As usual we will have lots of ice cream. Featured stallions this year are Meinte 490, Tjaarda 483 and Hessel 480. Once again Petra Zeelen will be joining us from the Netherlands. Petra will also be presenting some educational information during our open house. In addition to Petra, this year Gemma Sas is coming from the Netherlands to be part of the festivities and demonstrations. Our own super star Ellisa Kroll and Petra and Gemma are preparing to showcase these stallions at their best. This event is free and family friendly.

Location: Friesian Connection Stallion Station
2685 144th Ave.
Dorr MI 49323

Time: 11 am – 2 pm

Featuring:
Meinte 490 Sport (newly imported from the Netherlands) ridden by Gemma Sas
Tjaarda 483 Sport Elite ridden by Ellisa Kroll
Hessel 480 ridden by Petra Zeelen

Our annual open house and ice cream social for 2018 will be Saturday, June 2 from 11 am to 2 pm.  The public is invited to see all our beautiful horses featured the 5 approved stallions standing at the Friesian Connection Stallion Station Inc.

Featured Stallions:

Hessel 480 Sport

Tjaarda 483 Sport Elite

Date 477 Sport

Tonjes 459 Sport

Fridse 423 Sport

 

Location:  2685  144th Ave.  Dorr Michigan 49323

The Friesian Connection is pleased to announce the Annual Open House and Ice Cream Social, scheduled for Saturday, May 6, 2017, 1-4 pm on beautiful acreage just minutes from downtown Grand Rapids. Come for an afternoon of fun and fellowship and visit the Friesian Connection Stallion Station. Here, the public will see these majestic creatures up close and personal. The afternoon will include the presentation of stallions under saddle and driving, horses at liberty, a petting barn, and all the ice cream you can eat! This year the Open House will feature Hessel 480, a majestic stallion direct from the Netherlands, with special guest Petra Zeelen who is a renowned trainer and clinician from the Netherlands. Also, Spring is foaling season for Friesians in cold climate states. The Open House will feature these beautiful colts, fillies, and mares. The Friesian Connection has a history of hosting Friesians owners to market Friesian horses and services. This tradition began back in the 1980’s when the DeBoers and other early Friesian import partners began to market their stock for sale and stud services. It has since grown to be a huge event that attracts enthusiasts from across the Midwest. Remember to bring your horse loving friends and family to this special, free event.

Here is the Open House address: 2685 144th Ave. Dorr, MI 49323.

Contact information:

Janice DeBoer VerMerris

616-430-6373

janice@friesianconnection.com

FHANA members;  Bid on Hessel 480 Sport!

Love is in the air!

It’s time to bid on the Stallions graciously donated to the Stallion Breeding Auction for the 2017 AGM in Lexington KY. Bids start at $1,000 and can be phoned in to the FHANA Office 859-455-7430 or come to the AGM for all the bidding action in person!

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Save the date!  May 6, 2017

More details coming soon.

We are pleased to announce the date of our 2016 Annual Open House and Ice Cream Social

Saturday, May 7 from 1-3 pm.  Public is invited

Come for a fun afternoon of fellowship while we showcase the stallions at the Friesian Connection Stallion Station.   The afternoon will include the presentation of our stallions under saddle and driving, horses at liberty, and all the ice cream you can eat!  Our featured guest from the Netherlands, Petra Zeelen, will give a mini clinic on how Friesian horses are shown in dressage and show driving in the Netherlands.  Please bring your horse loving friends and family for this special event.  This is a free event and all are welcome.

Location:  2685  144th Ave.  Dorr  MI  49323

FCSS 2016 Open House (1)

For FHANA members and Friesian horse owners:

New this year we will follow our open house with a clinic on keuring preparation for the Friesian horse taught by Petra Zeelen from the Netherlands. This clinic will follow our open house beginning about 3:30 and will last approximately 3 hours.    Cost is $35/person (pay at the door) and includes pizza afterwards for participants.  Please RSVP to janice@friesianconnection.com if you plan to attend the clinic.PetraZeelenPetraZeelen1

Petra has 20 years  experience in training Friesian horses and other breeds but mainly Friesian horses in show driving,  dressage and preparing for the KFPS judging at keurings and the stallion show each January

➖1995 special private horse school (the only one in the world).

➖1996 work at  the KFPS training stable

➖1997 Work in Florida on a large Friesian farm and met my husband.

➖1997 work on a large California Friesian farm dressage and driving training and shows.

➖1997-2016 Dressage training, driving training.

➖1998-2016 Work in the Netherlands my own training stable  and stallion station (many KFPS breeding stallions) with my husband, Doeke Hoekstra

➖2007 Teaching dressage and training Friesian horses in Russia.

➖2012 July. Car accident almost recovered in December 2015

➖2013-2016 assistant and preparing horses for photoshoots.

➖2014-2016 three classes of KFPS judging.

➖Quarantine Stable for horses for China, Russia, Morocco etc.

➖Riding and driving IBOP for mares to be Model etc.

➖Showing approved stallions at shows and dressage competition and driving competition. Preparing stallions for the stallion keuring in January every year.

➖Dressage and driving clinics in the USA.

➖Over all clinics training Friesian horses in the USA.

 

 

We are happy to announce that Espana Silk Products is sponsoring our Stallion Tjaarda 483 Sport and his rider Ellisa Kroll.

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Both Tjaarda and Ellisa love to use Espana Silk products on their manes. Both horse and rider are blessed with luxurious, long hair and using the Espana Silk products have helped to keep their manes healthy and free from tangles.

If you would like to learn more about Espana Silk products you can go to their website:  www.espanaproducts.com

If you see Ellisa at a dressage show, ask her about Espana Silk.  She will be carrying their products with her to every show if you are interested in purchasing them.  We will also have them at our farm; so stop in to visit our amazing stallions and take home Espana Silk for your own beautiful horses!

As breeding season begins, we would like to share with you some information published by the KFPS about the reproductive cycle of mares.  Please feel free to share this with your vet.  Click on the link below:

The reproductive cycle of Friesians