The FHANA Canadian Fryske Quadrille Team held its first practice at the Calnash Ag Event Centre on June 11. Photos by Emily Jaycox

Friesian horse quadrille event coming to Ponoka entertaining for all

Pinnacle event for lovers of the breed

The true black beauty of horses is the regal breed of Friesian, the only horse breed native to the Netherlands, where Friesians have been carefully bred since the 13th century.

Among the key features of these majestic animals are the characteristic voluminous mane, the feathering of the lower legs, the jet black colour and lightly arched neck, all giving it an aristocratic appearance.

Now imagine watching eight teams of these horses pulling two-wheel carriages in a choreographed routine to music. Now imagine this event was coming to Ponoka. Are you excited yet?

The 35th Jubilee Celebration of the Friesian Horse Association of North America (FHANA) Royal Friesian is being held at the Calnash Ag Event Centre from July 15 to 17.

Whether you’re a horse lover or not, this is an event anyone can appreciate.

“We’d love to see as many people as possible,” said Wilma Dominicus, one of the organizers. “It’s not just for horse people, but for everyone.”

FHANA is the sister organization of KFPS, the Friesian association in the Netherlands. A “fryske” quadrille was a must for the anniversary celebration, but rather than flying in the entire Dutch Fryske Quadrille team, (which proved too costly) FHANA formed its own Canadian Fryske Quadrille team and has been practising for months.

The group held its first practice at the Calnash on June 11.

There are eight coachmen — four gentlemen and four ladies. Replica practice carriages, called “sjezes” in Dutch, were made in Friesland in Holland and flown to Canada.

Dominicus’s husband is one of the drivers, as well as her sister who came from Holland for this event.

And she’s not alone. A total of 50 spectators from Holland are expected for this event.

For those who love the breed, this show will be the pièce de résistance for showcasing the breed’s beauty and grace.

Friesian horses from Ontario, B.C. and Washington and possibly others from the States are performing in this event.

On July 15, there will be a meet and greet and with a campfire and music.

The performances get underway on July 16, starting at 10 a.m. and continuing until 10 p.m., with a Friesian quadrille demonstration, followed by other Friesian performances, competitions and interactive events as well as a surprise event.

Tickets can be purchased online at and at the door. They are $15 each and children under 12 are free of charge.


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