Farm Talk


March 2, 2010

Childhood dream of owning a rare breed now a reality


They have created an Internet Website for their principal advertising and communication center for the their business, named Signature Friesians.

They soon learned about the restrictions on breeding practices for Friesians. Crossbreeding is strictly forbidden. Stallions and mares alike are not to be crossbred.

“The physical characteristics of this breed to be preserved are the black coloring with no other color on their coats, the long flowing tail, the long mane and forelock, the feathers on their lower legs, swan-like necks,” Pam said. “They are particularly noted for their powerful rapid trot which features long strides. In fact the standard judging for them is 60 percent movement for their walking and trotting and 40 percent conformation.”

She also stressed the breed's temperament is gentle and not only are they intelligent, but easily trained. The mares are usually about 15.2 hands tall and upward, while the stallions are at least 16 hands tall with some a little taller. Originally the breed was used as war horses in the Middle Ages and later became farm work horses. The horses' strength was an asset in carrying the knights clad in their heavy armor, and later as farm horses, to pull heavily loaded wagons.

“We try to go to local and Midwestern shows a few times each year,” Pam said. “It is lots of work and training, but well worth the effort.”

Each fall, the Gishs also host a Keuring (inspection) for FAUNA{Friesian Horse Association of North America). Inspectors and runners come from Holland to judge the classes of foals, mares, a geldings and stallions. Ratings are called premie. The top 5 percent are graded premie 1; the top 15 percent premie 2; the top 25 percent premie 3 and below that no premie. In addition some mares may achieve the Kroon rating reserved for the top 3 percent.

Stallions can try for the approval rating, Pam said, but it is difficult to achieve - “It is like winning the lottery to reach an approval rating.”

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