FHANA Magazine Article by Janna Weir
This is an article i wrote which was published in THIS MONTH'S FHANA magazine, pg 56-58, about a B-book friesian gelding we imported, titled "THE HORSE THAT KEEPS ON MAKING PEOPLE IN HIS LIFE SMILE". Enjoy!
The Horse That Keeps on Making People In His life Smile, By Janna Weir
From Black Sterling Friesians
The loss of our daily routines as we knew them—and the threat of the continued spreading of COVID’s Delta variant—as well as many workplaces continuing to have employees work remotely, there is no question the “covid way of life” has put a serious emotional strain on all of us. So perhaps it should come as no surprise to see the numbers of friesians our company (specializing in import and sales of friesian horses) is selling and importing literally triple the number of friesians we normally do.
Pets are serving as our companions in coping, throughout the U.S. we are spending more time at home and ENJOYING our animals more than ever before! Even celebrities have gotten in on the act—with Anthony Hopkins serenading his cat, and Arnold Schwarzenegger delivering a stay-at-home video starring his pet donkey and miniature horse in his kitchen.
Many new Friesian buyers tell me they have been wanting a “fairytale Friesian” for years and years, and with Covid, they realized a sense of urgency to make a bucket list item a reality. The Friesian horse is well known for having an amazing temperament, likened to a Black Labrador, and studies show animals provide nonjudgmental emotional support, and that “contact with pets help reduces stress and anxiety, particularly when you are experiencing a stressful situation (ie: covid era).”
A lot of us are connecting remotely with other people right now. Our horses are physically present in a way that other forms of social and emotional support aren’t these days for many people, and there’s really something to having that tactile component of petting, touching, riding, and caring for your Friesian horse, especially when most of us are still hesitant to hug, or shake hands with other humans. My pets motivate me to do things that are good for my own mental health, and activities with your horse that you enjoy or that are part of your routine help bring back some degree of normalcy, in the current anything BUT normal times.
A few years ago, my partner and I went to look at a very tall friesian gelding named Caspian. He was registered in the B Book as “Jokkie” and it was a heart-breaking purchase. Caspian had been loved and used for recreation and ridden frequently by an elderly man in a small Dutch village. The man lived a distance from his children, and they worried about their 87 yr old father riding the 17 hand friesian by himself, so they encouraged the elderly man to give up riding. The man LOVED his friesian, so he agreed to quit riding Caspian, and he taught him to drive instead, and enjoyed carriage drives with his handsome Friesian gelding around town. When the man turned 90, his children decided to put their father into a retirement home, and the man said he would go, on one condition only---if he could take Caspian WITH him! Sadly, there were no stables at the retirement home, and the family decided to sell the sweet gelding to us. The 90 yr old man was crying when we went to pick up the big, shiny, very sweet gelding. He LOVED his horse. The gelding was sad too.
I imported the WONDERFUL gentle giant friesian gelding and listed him for sale in the U.S. While I do my best to match these gentle giants with wonderful homes--but sometimes the humans dont quite live up to the wonderful horses--and that was definitely the case with Caspian, whereby his original home wanted him to do a “saddleseat job” he wasn’t cut out for; our hearts sank for the noble sweet horse that we sold when we watched the vids of Caspian after import, as he was very unhappy & deserved better. Randomly scrolling the web, i noticed Caspian had been sold at an Amish auction specializing in saddleseat type driving horses, and not long after, i rec'd an amazing email from Caspian/Jokkies new owner, who couldn't be more thrilled with her new acquisition!! AND recently JT and her gentle giant just successfully competed in their first horse show!!! This is a success story in sooo many ways----JT has a non-operable brain tumor, and really HAS to have a very safe, sane horse, and she also recently has lost over 50 pounds and is truly living every day to the fullest.
Enclosed is a letter I received recently regarding this Friesian gelding we imported who is continuing to bring smiles to those in his life :
“Dear Janna, Thank you for all of your help with Caspian. I am thrilled beyond belief to have found him! I always admire all the horses you bring in for your clients. Well, I finally have one of your glorious horses! I know that I didn’t buy him directly from you, but I wanted you to know that we found each other. I am so happy to have him in my life! I met him last June, when my trainers bought him at a sale and brought him home. Wow! He is amazing! He is my first full Friesian. We just went to our first show we did really well! 2 firsts and a second; Caspian was a Rockstar!
I have several Friesian/Percheron crosses and never dreamed that I would ever find the perfect Full Friesian for me. The moment I sat on him; I fell in love. He is the perfect height and size for me (I am 5'11")! I never dreamed such a horse could ever be mine. I have had the opportunity to ride and drive Caspian on many occasions in different settings. There are so many reasons I love Caspian: His sweet and steady nature are impressive! I have a brain tumor and sometimes am unsteady and unbalanced. Caspian is kind and never takes a false step. I trust him and he is very safe, not only for riding, but also driving (on those days when my balance won't let me get on a horse). This is not to say that I have found Caspian to be a dead head...he certainly has a big way of going and has quite a motor! I love that! Caspian's Dressage training is evident. Dreams do come true! Thanks to you, for making my dreams come true! I am looking forward to our journey together.
Thank you, again for being the beginning of Caspian’s journey to me and my heart.
All the best!
What an amazing turnaround story for a horse that was SO LOVED in Holland and a very old man who spent his last days on earth riding and driving his favorite steed, who was then imported, and had a VERY rough beginning with first owner--to a union with a beautiful woman that has ALWAYS wanted a friesian, and now has a LOVELY gentle giant, and is having a ball showing him dressage!!! What a HAPPY ENDING, for such a sweet, marvelous, giving horse!!
Photo credits to Paul Gold Photography