As a young boy growing up in Friesland, a family friend took me along to a Friesian horse show in Rijs (pronounced “Reese”). I was really impressed with the grace, beauty and speed of the Friesian horses. I had driven work horses on the farm, but the Friesians were something special!
When Frank Leyendekker imported his first Friesian horses in 1977, I enjoyed helping with them and their beginning training, until Frank hired Clay Maier. I knew then that I wanted to own Friesian horses someday. I went along with Frank and Clay to all the first FHANA organizational meetings.
Finally, in 1984, I imported my first Friesian mare, Nynke, and bought a couple of carts for training and driving. From Nynke’s offspring, and later from my Ster foundation mare, Vivian, I gradually built up my Friesian herd. I had fun training and driving the horses. I also find it very satisfying to study the scoring of my mares and match them with stallions that will possibly improve their weakest characteristics. Then, to see the results as the foal is born and develops is very rewarding to me. I always strive to improve the breed.
Over the years my family has enjoyed many “Ring Ridings”, Ride and Drives, and Keurings. We have many wonderful memories from these events, and from the many interesting people we have met through the Friesian horses. We have had many adventures and made many new friends because of these beautiful horses; we could write a book!
Each Friesian horse has its own personality, and they become like friends to me. I love it when their heads come out of the stall windows and they greet me with a neigh or a snort when I walk into the barn. I love to feed them myself; they keep me active. They are a great source of pride in my Friesian roots and culture. This is why I always breed for the best!
Pier van der Hoek
The Friesian Magazine
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