Springfield, Ohio – Over 100 Friesian and part-bred Friesian horses from the United States and Canada were turned out to perfection at the 2017 International Friesian Show Horse Association (IFSHA) World and Grand National Championship Horse Show, October 4 through 8, 2017. Crowning nearly 230 World Champions in amateur, professional, and junior classes across a variety of disciplines—including driving, dressage, western dressage, trail, costume, suitability classes, and more—IFSHA members also took time to support a worthy cause.
As the first breed association to support The All Glory Project, a 501(c)3 that seeks to promote, foster, and support programs and institutions that utilize animal-assisted and adjunct therapies in aiding the military, its veterans, and their families, IFSHA kicked off their Championship Night program with a Charity Benefit Lead/Ride Walk Only class. Entries paid $100 to either walk or ride in the event to raise money, with proceeds going solely towards the project started by William and Elizabeth Shatner in 2010.
In 2016, IFSHA hosted their first charity class, raising nearly $13,000. In 2017, over $16,000 was raised in less than 30 minutes, with members, exhibitors, and the public alike stepping forward to support the cause.
Additional exciting events at the 2017 event included the 2017 Friesian Horse Association of North America (FHANA) Mare Show. Partnering with IFSHA to hold the event at the World and Grand National Championship Horse Show, FHANA hosted Dutch judges Pieter Bergsma and Jolanda Slootjes, as well as Dutch runners to exhibit the mares in four categories for inspection in accordance with the Koninklijke Vereniging “Het Friesch Paarden-Stamboek” (KFPS) registry. Known as “Keurings” in the Netherlands and other countries, these inspections judge the overall conformation and movement of the horse, looking for functionality and harmoniously built, usable horses with Friesian breed characteristics.
Mares were divided into four classes according to their age, and then brought back for the fifth and final category for the championship. Mare #771, Tina Ymkje, bred and owned by Ted and Tina VanderKooi of Otterville, Ontario, claimed championship honors. Learn more about KFPS and the tradition of Keurings and Friesian horse inspections.
The IFSHA Annual Meeting also took place on Saturday, October 7, during a break in the show. Annual awards were handed out and newly elected IFSHA board members introduced. In 2017, newly elected board member Laurie Statam (Export, Pa.) will join the board, alongside IFSHA President Bruce Griffin (Gretna, Va.), Vice President Dorothy J. Brown (Viola, Wisc.), Todd Browning (Eugene, Ore.), Gail Aumiller (Carlisle, Pa.), Victoria Gillenwater (Knoxville, Tenn.), Gareth A. Selwood (Youngstown, N.Y.), Jodi Van Sprang (Harrisburg, Pa.), Sandy Jacob (Edgerton, Wisc.), Richard Butts (Youngstown, N.Y.), and Danielle Barrasso (Chicopee, Mass.).
A few special award recipients included Founder’s Award recipient William Paine, President’s Award recipient Nancy Nathanson, Dressage High Point Award recipient Ashley Sarkozi, IFSHA/US Equestrian Scholarship Grant recipient Brandon Wilson, and Sportsmanship Award recipients Benjamin Boyd and Robin Statam.
Follow IFSHA Friesians on Facebook for updates on the breed all year long. Find out more about the Friesian breed and all of US Equestrian’s 29 recognized breeds and disciplines in this Learning Center video. Join the conversation and follow US Equestrian on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using #JoinTheJoy.