A Message From KFPS Chairmen Cees Roozemond
July 11, 2012
It's essential that our members continue to be passionate breeders.
If you weren’t already a huge fan, talking to KFPS chairman Cees Roozemond warms you up to the Friesian horse to the max. The noble breed with its deep black coat, rich feathering and luscious mane is conquering the world. Its home country will always be the breeding ground for future horses. And today’s foal very well might be that successful stallion tomorrow. All the more reason to have foals inspected, Cees clarifies.
Where does KFPS stand today?
Cees Roozemond: ‘KFPS is active in over fifty countries, primarily new markets such as China, Brazil, India, Mexico, Russia and South Africa. We’re exporting excellent horses to those countries, such as 2011 KFPS Horse of the Year Annichje fan Bokkum Model Sport (Ulke 338 Sport), who moved to South Africa. The demand for good Friesian horses is still increasing. Europe is in a tough economic place. Less foals are being born, although our service figure is still quite acceptable compared to other registers. It’s always interesting to breed. The quality of our horses is still increasing as is the demand from abroad. KFPS largely exists by the grace of its members’ breeding activities, so it’s essential that they continue to be enthusiastic horse breeders. We’re looking forward already to plenty of newborn foals in our pastures next years!
It’s important for us to monitor horses. Our database contains horses from around the world, as we also register all Friesian horses abroad. In total we have records of almost 60,000 horses in several countries. Every country uses our inspection system and all members take an interest in the Dutch Phryso or its international issue. Half of our 15,000 members reside in a foreign country. This number will increase over the years to come. We’re a small, highly professional organisation. KFPS employs eleven people and can count on a number of volunteers such as board members, judges and inspectors that carry our organisation. We have invested considerably in our website and software systems, to make sure our expert organisation is all set for the future.’
Where does the interest abroad in the Friesian horse come from?
‘Free publicity has generated a lot of response from foreign countries. There have been films in which the Friesian horse starred and Martha Stewart’s culinary show starts with fourteen Friesian horses galloping through the wind. Antonio Banderas rides a Friesian horse in the Zorro film. It’s the best advertising you can possibly want. There is somewhat less servicing in the Netherlands, but our foreign members compensate a little.’
Some countries do not have a history with horses. Does KFPS offer consultancy when it comes to grooming, horse welfare and such?
‘We feel it is our obligation to offer as much guidance as we possibly can. As KFPS chairman I promote the breed. I am its ambassador. There are places in China I wouldn’t sell a horse to. But the country also has excellent five-star accommodations with climate control and swimming pools for horses. We were amazed by the shows we saw. It’s important to find your way in those extremities. Horse traders must also seize the opportunity and join us in exploring new countries. They also realise it’s not just about selling a horse. If you want to make a quick profit, you can, but it’s all about investing in a long-term relationship, in quality, service and after sales, and assisting in veterinary matters whenever possible. We’ll be fine if we take our responsibility and teach others what we know. KFPS contributes by making features on welfare, feeding, accommodating, breeding and veterinary items available on the website in the English language. This way, Friesian horse lovers all over the world can take in new knowledge.’
Do you see Friesian horse traits developing?
‘Absolutely. More than ever. We’re working hard on genetic diversity. We now have over a hundred excellent sires with a variety of blood lines, enabling every breeder to make a well-balanced choice for his mare. There is a lot you can predict from the mare and stallion combination, and for the rest you have to just sit wait and see how it turns out exactly. I’m excited to see that we’re really breeding good horses instead of just more horses. It’s important that we all have our foals inspected, so we can form that new layer of promising Friesian horses. It’s at the basis of our existence as a register. Today’s foals might very well be tomorrow’s wonderful stallions. This is also essential for our perspective abroad. Foreign Friesian horse lovers will want to know about predicates, premiums and blood lines. They’re also growing and looking beyond nice build and rich feathering. The traits are important. Is it a harness-like or more a dressage-like horse? You can make that choice beforehand. The Friesian breed has a horse for everyone, from a recreational companion to a Grand Prix athlete. It’s only a matter of time before the Friesian horse performs at Olympic Games.’
What’s the story on foal inspections?
‘We notice our members have their foals inspected less often and that’s a pity. We understand the underlying reasons of course. It’s sometimes financial or it might be the result of a disappointment at an earlier inspection. A foal inspection does not only value the foal, it also guarantees the value. By having your foal inspected you add to the register’s uniformity and continuity as well as its quality. Our country will continue to be the breeding ground of our wonderful breed, no matter what. The inspection is a privilege as well as a pleasure. I remember that from the days when I was not yet chairman. I felt it was an enjoyable day out and a small fest at the same time. We have to cherish that feeling. There is another side to foal inspection. A stallion station is also often a point of trade. Stallion stations want to know how certain combinations turn out. And when they do, they repeatedly buy thirty something foals by the same stallion upfront. Everyone interested in blood lines and improving quality visits inspections to enhance his knowledge. The first breeding and trading contact are often made at inspections. I cannot emphasise the significance of having your foal inspected enough. It’s an essential piece in a comprehensive process.’
Do Dutch inspectors judge horses abroad or does KFPS train local inspectors?
‘At the moment, most inspections are covered by our Dutch inspection team. We also spend a lot of time training local inspectors. Our strength comes from the fact that we can draw on our own breeding ground and thus continue the growth curve. This takes an exceptional effort on the side of our judges and inspectors. They travel many, many miles, work long hours captured in tight flying schedules, sometimes four weeks in a row, and all for the love of the Friesian horse. I have so much respect for them.’
Where will the Friesian foal be three years from now?
‘I observe a rather spectacular development of the Friesian horse. It has become a more modern, slender and elegant horse with the same character traits and Friesian horse characteristics. This development will continue. We breed the quality the market wants. Sport horse performance will become a more important asset of our horse. The Friesian horse will play a more important part in sport. The traditional horse is more baroque and these blood lines are still there for those who favour this type. Besides this we are able to generate a more slender and elegant horse, suitable for many sport purposes. We have so much unique blood that each Friesian horse will always a different, yet uniform horse. We will always breed dressage-like horses and harness-like horses, with all of the breed’s characteristics, which we as KFPS carefully monitor.’
Where will KFPS be three years from now?
‘In three years time we will have more members abroad than in the Netherlands. Our organisation will still be strong. The board will change places. I have every faith that the new board members will continue to build a solid future. I’m thinking three years from now there’ll be light at the end of the tunnel in terms of breeding numbers. KFPS is a wonderful organisation with wonderful people. With these people that devote themselves to the Friesian horse breed every day, today and in the future, our financial foundation, the light at the end of the economical tunnel and the wonderful set of horses for the home market as well as abroad, I have no concerns about the future whatsoever. I see us growing to 20,000 if not 25,000 members. I hope that in the future it’ll be easier for us to let ourselves be seen. The Friesian horse is a unique part of Dutch heritage, but unfortunately we’re sometimes forgotten. It’s usually about Friesian customs or Doutzen Kroes. We have the Royal predicate. The Queen is our patroness. Only a handful of associations in our country can say so. Her Majesty is really involved. She stays up-to-date and tries to attend important events. We really value her dedication to our register. An important association such as ours, with so many wonderful results and so much potential publicity-wise deserves everyone’s full attention. KFPS was founded over 130 years ago and will continue to bloom for years to come, I’m sure of that. No other association holds so many enthusiastic people bound together by that one passion: the Friesian horse.’
Cees owes his love for the Friesian horse to his wife and her passion for the breed. Their first Friesian horse was a gelding. The whole family is into horses. Cees instantly decided he wanted to be part of the board when he was asked to be eligible. He feels being chairman is a true privilege. ‘We have a wonderful team of board, management, co-workers.’ Apart from being KFPS chairman Cees owns Stal Groeneweg, a hobby that turned into a professional yard. His primary source of income is his international bulk container company in the Port of Rotterdam, something completely different. Cees lives in a wonderful spot in the Dutch Bergen, where well-known painters such as Charley Toorop and John Rädecker used to live. The woods behind you, the polder in front of you and the dunes as far as your eyes reach are said to create the best light. It could be though that Cees moves to Friesland one day, where his heart also lies. Cees has been chairman for almost eight years now. He feels it’s time for someone else to take over. One of the things he’s achieved with the team is the new KFPS structure. Important changes were made, such as the matrix and the prevention of a conflict of interest. The chairman is not allowed to have a breeding stallion. A member of the board is chosen for a maximum period of four years twice. Cees is due to step back next year. It is with pain in his heart, but he also sees fit. ‘At a certain point the time comes for another fresh view on our wonderful organisation.’
What’s your heritage when you step down as chairman next year?
‘A stable, healthy and respectful organisation, that continues to grow. You don’t always have to agree on everything, but the important thing is to keep respecting each other. We’re proud to be financially sound. We have a firm financial base that keeps us stable even in rockier times such as these. We don’t have to worry as long as we continue doing what we’ve always done and what has made us what we are: breeding horses. So I say yes, breed horses, have your mare inseminated, attend inspections and have your horses assessed so we can all make sure our register and our breed will continue to thrive, now and in the future. Enthusiastic breeders are at the base of our very existence.’
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