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A look ahead to the Friesian Festival in Myerscough

PUBLISHED: 17:05 26 April 2016 | UPDATED: 22:49 27 April 2016

Friesians in the stables at Myerscough Photo Sandy Kitching

Friesians in the stables at Myerscough Photo Sandy Kitching

Sandy Kitching theearlybirddesign.com

Horse lovers from across the country will be heading to Lancashire this year to see animals from one of the world’s most striking breeds being put through their paces.

A Friesian being put through its paces during inspectionA Friesian being put through its paces during inspection

Despite their size, Friesians are known for their grace as well as their good looks and the The Friesian Horse Association of Great Britain & Ireland is assiduous in maintaining quality.

Part of that process will be played out during a four-day event taking place at the Myerscough International Arena near Preston when judges from the breed’s home nation, Holland, will travel across to judge and grade horses.

But there will also be a fun side to The Friesian Festival, which is open to the public on the weekend of August 27 and 28.

For the Grand Finale, leading Dutch trainers Jolanda Schreuder and Sybren Minkema are bringing over their stunning Friesian stallions from Friesland for what promises to be a magical display set to music with special guest, South African dressage star, Jean van Deventer.

The integrity of the breed is guarded jealouslyThe integrity of the breed is guarded jealously

‘We are excited to be bringing around 40 Friesian horses together in one place in the UK for the first time,’ said the president of FHAGBI and festival organiser, Tracey Venter, who also owns the Black Horses Friesian Stud at Cartmel. ‘We will be staging a whole host of magnificent displays aimed at all the family.’

The FHAGBI team is going all out to offer something for riders of all ages and abilities including mounted games, clear round jumping, junior equitation classes and Quadrille training with leading equestrian instructor Pamela Rigby MBE.

There will also be an action-packed programme of spectacular events and displays such as trick-trained horses, driving horses with a high-wheeled cart called a sjee, dressage and natural horsemanship. There will even be a famous family undertaker from London, T Cribbs & Son, who use Friesians for funeral corteges.

Ancestors of the Friesians are thought to have come to prominence in the Middle Ages when they were in demand as war horses. Their size allowed them to carry a knight in full armour. Over the centuries, the breed has come close to extinction several times but today their popularity is growing as riders use them both in harness and under saddle. Most recently, this nimble breed is being used for dressage. w

For tickets to the weekend festival go to fhagbi.co.uk/online_store.html

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