Proud Meadows got involved with Friesian Horse Finderss
we insisted on comparing the prices of FHF horses to current
market prices. We evaluated 10 horses that were immediately
available through Friesian Horse Finders. Using our long
experience to consider the strengths and weaknesses of
each horse, and what they would be good for, we determined
that Friesian Horse Finders’ horses were 10-20%
below the current market price. We then understood that
Friesian Horse Finders is a valuable service for both
buyers and the breed, not an attempt to leverage the marketplace.
It benefits sellers because their horses are sold more
quickly with less effort. That saves them money by cutting
advertising expenses and reducing the regular feed, stabling,
farrier, and medical costs of maintaining a horse for
the late 90’s Proud Meadows imported a number
of fine stallions, geldings, and mares from Europe in
order to sell them in the North American market. We
found good homes for all of these horses, even if it
was sometimes in the barn of the second owner, not the
first. It was a learning experience but we ultimately
decided not to become an importer.
this time we met many people wanting to purchase a Friesian
from any source, not just us. All too often we ended
up seeing a bad fit between the horse and the new owner.
Some spent too much money on too much horse. Some invested
in a stallion when they really needed a gelding. Some
felt they had gotten the deal of the century when in
fact there was a good reason why the horse was priced
so low. Many new Friesian owners got caught up in bloodlines
and the breeding societies’ different philosophies,
and paid too little attention to what they wanted from
the horse they were buying.
we have made some mistakes. In our earliest days, all
we wanted were a few Friesians for high-level all-breed
dressage competition, exhibitions and demonstrations.
We didn’t know it then but that desire meant that
we were going to need stallions, not mares or geldings.
And fulfilling our desire had long-term consequences
for the kind of farm we would have. We did become a
home for stallions, but if we had known then what being
a stallion farm would involve in time, effort, infrastructure
and expense, we might have chosen to remain at mid-level
those days, we, as a Friesian farm of some reputation,
continue to see bad fits between horse and owner. They
come into our training center and to Keurings held at
Proud Meadows every year, not to mention all of the
phone calls and e-mails asking us for advice. Friesian
Horse Finders is our effort to help remedy this problem.
On the positive side, having seen great matches between
horses and owners motivates us to help the good fit
happen as much as possible. We have been partly responsible
for stimulating interest in the Friesian, so we see
this as a responsibility.
of the problem of bad matches comes from the mistaken
belief that all Friesians are the same. Some Friesian
breeders have contributed to this problem by marketing
their horses in a very singular way, meaning “a
Friesian is a Friesian is a Friesian.” And people
notion is complete nonsense.
horses are as individual as their owners. Knowing that
a Friesian is a “legendary black horse”
of “placid temperament, high intelligence, and
dramatic presence” combined with “excellent
abilities in dressage and driving” (all at the
same time being “a favorite family pet”),
is a starting point for interest in the breed, not a
description of the horse being purchased. For example,
did you know that some Friesians are a bit lazy? That’s
fine for a Sunday carriage ride, but is not what you
want from a competition horse. Did you know that a stallion
needs to be trained and ridden no less than three days
a week? A weekend stallion can be a real problem in
the barn. Did you know that the modern bloodlines are
rather recent and limited? That impacts your decision
to become a breeder.