News Articles

U.S.-bred Friesian horse earns high marks at Drachten show

Stallion passes strict screening

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

ITHACA, Michigan - A three-year old stallion bred by Dutch American owners Klaas and Mares van der Ploeg came in second-best at the recent 70-day qualification test for approved stallion at the Fries Paardencentrum in Drachten. Dooitzen - or Doaitsen in Frisian - was the only American stallion making it to the finals.

The breeding stallion will remain in the Nether-lands for likely the remainder of the year to produce offspring. Its mare originally was purchased by the Van der Ploegs from a wellknown breeder in Nijmir-dum, Friesland. Two other mares made the journey to the Michigan farm at the same time. Both these animals went on to be crowned Grand Champion at subsequent tests in the U.S., the largest of their kind in North America.

The Van der Ploegs came to the U.S. in 1991. In his native Friesland, Klaas had been a very succesful breeder of Holstein dairy cattle. In Michigan, he and his family eventually operated a dairy farm with 1,100 animals before they took up another challenge in 1998: breeding and raising Friesian horses.

Doaitsen passed a qualification test before he was shipped to the Netherlands. The qualification test in Drachten - a very strict screening - rated 187 entries with only five passing it. The approved stallion certificate adds significant value to the sale value of the horse. If the stallion also merits an approved offspring certificate in a few years, the value could rise to over $1 million.