IFSHA Grand National Championship Horse Show
2004 Friesian Grand National Show

Show Information
Date: October 22 - 24, 2004
Location: Industry Hills Equestrian Center, City of Industry CA
Judges/Halter & Performance: Honorable Dr. Georg Oeppert, Honorable Gareth Selwood, and Honorable Fetse Veldstra
Judge/Dressage: Honorable Peter Lert
Show Manager: Paula Brand

The 1st Annual US Friesian Grand National Championship Horse Show
by Gareth Selwood

Majestic, royal, honorable, baroque...all these words and more fail to describe the Friesian horse in all its glory. A work horse and companion, an instrument of war and man's humble servant; the Friesian horse has accomplished many things in its age old relationship with people. That relationship was celebrated on October 22, 23 and 24th of 2004 by Friesian owners and breeders from around the world, at the first ever National Grand Championship Horse show.

In addition to the horse show, the United States Equestrian Federation hosted a Friesian Judges Clinic on Thursday, October 21st at the show grounds. USEF Panelist, Gareth A. Selwood instructed the 22 potential judges with classroom analysis of breed conformation, USEF rules and video presentations. Dr. George Oeppert from Germany and Mr. Fetse Veldstra of the Netherlands were invited from Europe as guest speakers and foreign experts to assist with the clinic. Participants were then allowed to observe an actual Keuring (inspection) of Friesian breeding stock, led by Oeppert and Veldstra. The clinic concluded with a test and open discussion between panelists and attendees on the content of this very first clinic and how to improve on it for the future.

Dressage classes started the show weekend off, expertly judged by Mr. Peter Lert. Friesians, like other baroque breeds, are fast taking back the limelight they so truly deserve in classical riding, and the horses exhibited at this first Grand Nationals were no exception.

The horses themselves were so impressive and the quality so deep in all disciplines and halter, that the decisions by the judges were at times not easy to make. The professional way in which they were presented and conditioned is a testimony to the breeders, trainers, and owners in the United States. The judging team of Selwood, Oeppert, and Veldstra was also a positive first in the Friesian's history, as for the first time, American, German and Dutch judges came together as horsemen for the betterment of the breed.

Sixty-two horses competed in 138 classes over this long weekend and all agreed it was a great success. Plans are already underway for the second Grand National in 2005 and IFSHA's Board of Directors is scouting sites in the Midwest and East Coast. The future looks bright!

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