Phryso December 2002, pg. 21
In the Footsteps of Pinksterblôm.
Translated by Anneke van den IJssel, July 2006.
There are horses that make a big impression, that you cannot forget, because of their rich type, their self carriage, the look in their eyes. Horses that proudly look out over the fields, almost arrogantly, with front and their necks up high; walking paintings that are able to give the staunchest warmblood breeder a case of Friesian fever. Horses of which you hope to breed one some day… Anneke Meekma-Zijlstra of Noordbergum has a barn full of them. All of this thanks to an adventuresome purchase of a yearling filly twelve years ago in Drogeham, right from her stall, without ever having shown one bit of walk or trot.
New Horse Hobby
Farm “Bosksicht” is located along a busy main road in the Frisian town of Noordbergum. The farm where Klaas and Anneke Meekma made a new start in 1988, without their 150 cows but with the fulfillment of their long cherished wish: breeding horses. They never really got to it, because Klaas always said: “Where a horse grazes I can have a cow and they make me money.” But when it turned out that none of their five children wanted to be a farmer and went off to college the farm was sold and Klaas and Anneke focused on their horse hobby. Originally Klaas wanted to breed with a trotter off the track but Anneke preferred a Friesian, “because they are sweeter.”
Not Out of Their Stall
The first Friesian mare, a yearling by Falke, was not quite what Anne was looking for after all and they went to look for a good mare again. Anneke: “We had been looking for a while but couldn’t quite find what we wanted. Until on a Friday I read an ad in the newspaper where it said that due to health reasons a number of Friesian horses were offered for sale. My husband said: “Go ahead and call” and it turned out not to be far from here in Drogeham. The seller, Johannes Smid, encouraged them to come look that same evening still because several more interested people had called. A little bit later Klaas and Anneke stood in the stall where the yearling in question and an older mare stood. “The horses are not going out of their stall,” said Mr. Smid, “because they haven’t been outside for a while now.” As soon as Mr. Smid noticed that Klaas and Anneke were interested in the yearling he came with a new proposal. ”Don’t you want to buy the older mare as well, then they stay in the neighborhood and I can come visit some time.” Because Klaas was very excited about the type and the good bloodline of Oege yearling Pinksterblôm (that was her name) he agreed and also purchased her 19 year old great-great grand mother Aly (stam 104, S. Kasper). Anneke: “On the way back in the car my husband said to me: ‘I don’t know what we did, we haven’t seen any walk or trot!’”
Already Model at Four Years Old
What is good will come up fast some people say, and that also applied to Pinksterblôm’s career. She grew up to be an impressive three-year old and became ster that same year, standing at 1b at the breeding day from Ta it Bihâld and also making Reserve Overall Champion of the Day there. Of course the Meekma’s took her to the Central Mare Show (at that time still in the Frieslandhal in Leeuwarden) where she received a 1b premie. The following year (1992) was a top year for the Oege daughter. After her stud colt, Bearn fan Bosksicht (sire Lute), was weaned they took her to the Central Mare Show again. She arrived a 1st premie ster mare and left a model mare! The press raved about Pinksterblôm. Rev. Doede Wiersma’s words were clipped out and pasted in their photo album. He wrote: “One horse particularly stood out for me, she looked around as to say “Give it your best shot!” Large frame, expression, allure, her head high on that rich front and she proudly looked out over everything: Pinksterblôm. Beautifully built.” In the category model mares she would later always be at 1a or 1b.
Besides that Pinksterblôm was a super horse herself in exterior and use (show driving and ring riding) she also turned out to be an excellent broodmare. She already became preferent from her first four foals! Her first two stud colts by Lute and Jurjen became ster stallions, followed by full sisters Grytsje (model) and Lolkje (model), both by Tsjerk. This by itself is already a big achievement but then Pinksterblôm repeated this with her next four foals, becoming double preferent! This makes her part of the elite of the Friesian horse studbook KFPS. There really are only a few broodmares that in this age of inspections manage to get eight ster offspring. Her third ster daughter Nelly (sire Wicher) was already invited for the model inspection so possibly a third model can be achieved too. Anneke: “Pinksterblôm really put her stamp on her get, especially in their front.” We notice that when a bit later we stand next to her daughters Grytsje and Nelly for picture taking. Huge horses with presence and breed type that make many a breeding stallion pale in comparison… (Note, Nelly is now model as well).
Value of the Dam Line
Breeding is in the Meekma family’s blood. Dad Klaas already went his own way with the cows and not without success. Many commemorative plates and prizes hang in the living room. Of the five children youngest son Sjoerd is the only one who inherited the breeding virus of his parents. As a young boy he enjoyed going with to the cow inspections and he easily knew 55 cows by name as a four year old. Selecting the stallions for the mares was therefore a job that dad, mom, and son did together. Many a winter evening was (and is!) spent reading through the mare lines or the stallion book. Breeding is taken seriously and they strive for perfection. Especially the dam line of a breeding stallion weighs heavily in the stallion choice. Says Anneke: “In my opinion there is now too little attention paid to the value of the dam line. How many stallions do we still have from preferent dam lines? We prefer to breed to a young stallion but it keeps getting harder to find a matching stallion that in our eyes comes from a valuable line.”
“The Nut Went to the Nut”
In the year that Tsjerk did his central proving in Drachten, Klaas decided to breed Pinksterblôm to this stallion, especially because of his excellent dam. When Leo Kraaijenbrink (Klaas and Anneke participated in a clinic for two-in-hand driving by him) heard of this choice he jokingly said: “The nut is going to the nut!” He was referring to the rather lively temperaments of both horses; that was asking for trouble. But the Meekma family never regretted the combination. Anneke about the characters of her horses: “Although they are very hot they are very well behaved in the barn. But when they have to work they give it their all! I prepared Nelly myself this year for the Central Mare Show. They listen very well to me. And I clean the stalls when the mares are eating their hay, they never kick.” Tsjerk filly Grytsje received a 2nd premie and as a two year old obtained the youth championship at the Central Mare Show. She shone during dad Tsjerk’s offspring inspection. Anneke: “When Grytsje became champion the interest in Tsjerk grew.” Pinksterblôm was bred to Tsjerk again and from this combination Lolkje was born. In the meantime the full sisters have become model and preliminary model (Grytsje with an IBOP 88A), be it that Lolkje obtained the predicate with her American owner Lana Markey in Wisconsin. Anneke: “Shortly before the Central Mare Show I heard that Lolkje was made preliminary model. I was working on getting Nelly ready for her inspection. Then it won’t happen for Nelly this year I thought, because they will never make two mares from Pinksterblôm model in one year. That’s a shame, because Nelly has never looked this good. We had even weaned her foal at four months old to get her in shape.” Anneke has some reservations when mares that have never had a foal make model. “I think that preliminary model should be connected to having a foal. A KWPN warmblood mare after all can also only make keur with a foal?”
After beautiful, breed typical Wicher daughter Nelly two more Tsjerks follow: Rina and Teije. The noble Rina with her beautiful face became ster at four with a 1st premie and Teije made his debut this year at the stallion inspection. “A large copy of his sire,” Sjoerd calls him. The handsome Teije was selected for the performance testing but was unfortunately sent home. Now he is successfully shown under saddle by Barend Schuursma in dressage but is still owned by Anneke. Selling is not her strong point, she enjoys her horses. Anneke: “My husband died four years ago and since then the care and training of 17 Friesian horses is on me, which is sometimes a bit hard. But my son now comes over every Sunday to help and he also has four young horses at home.”
Pinksterblôm’s last daughter Whita (sire Abe) owned by Sjoerd and Antoinette became ster with a 1st premie this year. Pinksterblôm’s youngest son, Bote fan Bosksicht, is with Sjoerd. Bote is her last chance to become a stallion dam as last year October the mare died, at only 13 years old. Anneke and Sjoerd are still very emotional when they talk about her. Says Sjoerd: “I remember it well. “Mem” and I were riding in the woods with Fetze and Ernst. When we came home we unloaded the horses and fed everyone. Pinksterblôm was not doing well. She had eaten but had lain down. At six o’clock the vet came to give her painkillers but it was not colic.” After taking turns watching the mare we decided at 5 a.m. to take her to the clinic in Utrecht. Sjoerd: “I drove over the shoulders with my blinkers on. On the way I had to get gas and she still whinnied. In Utrecht it turned out her stomach had already ruptured. She had a tumor hanging from her stomach (which occurs more often) which during rolling probably rapped itself around her stomach.” Anneke: “I was sick from it for weeks…..” Sjoerd: “We will never get a brood mare like her again.”
Pinksterblôm put the modest stam line 104 on the map. She was the first foal of Tamme ster daughter Jomien. Says Anneke: “Jomien was already bred as a two year old and had Pinksterblôm when she was three. At the age of eleven Jomien was already preferent.” Jomien in turn is by ster mare Alyda (sire Tsjalling), a daughter of Aly (ster, sire Kasper), the old mare Klaas and Anned purchased from Smid in Drogeham. The old Aly had two more stud colts and a filly at the Meekma’s. After the birth of filly Frauke (sire Lute) Aly passed away. The filly was bottle fed and sold.
Purchase Klaske-Ant a “Joke”
The Meekma family is also breeding with a different line with the now 16 year old Klaske-Ant (sire Teake) from the famous show-driving stam 110, from Bouke de Boer. Ster mare Klaske-Ant goes straight back to model preferent Hearke daughter Sibbelien B. and Neenke (sire Tetman), also model preferent. Neenke once graced the cover of the mare book with her three daughters Mintsje, Sibbelien, and Els B. The purchase of Klaske-Ant was not exactly planned. Anneke: “In 1990 we went to the auction in Joure, just for fun. We only had money for coffee with us. After looking at the stalls Anneke said to Klaas: “There are two beautiful horses, go look.” Klaske-Ant was one of the two, six years old and studbook. She went up for 12,000 guilders and the bidding began. “At 12,500 guilders my husband all of a sudden yelled out “yeees!” In shock I looked at him. “Let me bid too for fun,” he laughed. This “joke” of bidding lasted until 14,000 was bid. “Shall I bid one more time?” Klaas asked me. And that is how Klaske-Ant went home with us for 14,500 guilders. Klaske-Ant and Pinksterblôm were often driven as a two-in-hand. This is what started the regional show driving, ring riding, and also two-in-hand and four-in-hand driving.
The Walk is the Weak Point
It was general knowledge that Kaske-Ant would get very tense in the walk at the inspections, which prevented her from obtaining the ster predicate. Sjoerd: “This while she had done her IBOP and scored a seven for the walk.” But in 1992 she made it and became ster. And this brings us to the “weak” point of the Meekma horses: when they are tense they don’t show in walk. Both Pinksterblôm’s and Klaske-Ant’s offspring want to go and when there is a lot of commotion at the inspection such as a lot of loud whipping in the adjacent arena then the walk is not properly shown. Anneke: “At the Central Mare Show our horses are bothered by what happens around them and that is why, for example, Nelly sometimes doesn’t walk while later she walks great (in the group) and she stays in for the championship round. It’s sometimes hard to accept what the judges say, they say that they judge what they see at that moment when there’s clearly stress involved, often due to the arenas that are too small. That is what the more easily winded, calmer Friesians often profit from and it can cost the horses that are a bit hotter. Grytsje, for instance, scored a seven and a half at her IBOP for the walk.”
Fetze in Show Driving
Klaske-Ant’s first foal with the Meekma family was a stud colt by Djurre, which was sold. The second stud colt was an Oege and became ster. From Remmelt Klaske-Ant had the stallion Fetze fan Bosksicht, 1st premie ster and Sjoerd’s current show horse. Still with “heit” Klaas holding the reins Fetze started his show-driving career with a 1st place in the category best show-driving horse in Vries. Because Klaas became ill that year Doeke Hoekstra drove Fetze at the Central Mare Show where he placed second. The next year Fetze won again in Vries, this time with Sjoerd driving. In 2000, Sjoerd competed nationally with Fetze with the sjees in the competition class and last year in the limit class they placed first during the Indoor in Leeuwarden. Sjoerd: “Since last year we have been driving the limit class and that is going really well, all year we have placed in the top three.”
In 1995 Kaske-Ant became ill. A bacterium had entered her body and had settled in her hock. She was successfully operated on it in Emmeloord and also the unborn foal survived. And so Lysbeth (sire Remmelt) was born. This mare entered the studbook and then passed away. Klaske’s most successful daughter to date Neenke fan Bosksicht (sire Wicher) was born in 1996. At the breeding day in Vries she was 1a at three years old, became the champion for the three year and older mares and Reserve General Day Champion. Klaske-Ant scored 1b that year with her breeding group. To divide up the inspection of the horses Anneke and Sjoerd always take Klaske-Ant’s offspring to Vries. After a stud colt by Fabe—Tsjolle—Klaske-Ant was bred to Krist four times. The meanwhile three year old Wikje just missed ster and ended at 3a but will try again next year. In 2000, Klaske was open and in 2001 Fryske-Ant was born. This year the super strong Teake daughter gave birth to a stud colt named Hoyte. Klaske-Ant is now pregnant from Jelke for the Ritske bloodline.
Out of Grytsje and Lolkje two stud colts and two fillies sired by Jasper are being raised. Grytsje is open this year unfortunately. Wicher daughter Nelly is pregnant from Tsjerk and Neenke from Jelke. Out of Neenke a stud colt by Tsjerk and a filly by Jelke are being raised. Out of Nelly there is a stud colt by Jasper and a filly by Tsjerk. Rina had a stillborn foal this year by Onne. She is now pregnant from Ulbert. And also Whita, the three year old Abe daughter owned by Sjoerd and Antoinette is pregnant from….. Tsjerk.
It is almost unbelievable what the Meekma family built up in such a short amount of time. The series “Breeding Gems” does not exist anymore as otherwise Pinksterblôm would have rightfully entered this Hall of Fame. Outside Grytsje and Nelly prance down the driveway in hand. In the footsteps of their famous dam Pinksterblôm…
Offspring Pinksterblôm model preferent, stam 104, Oege pref x Tamme.
Bearn fan Bosksicht ster, 1992, sire Lute, 2nd viewing, Z dressage/4th level.
Ernst fan Bosksicht ster, 1993, sire Jurjen, 1b premie.
Grytsje fan Bosksicht model, 1994, sire Tsjerk, 1b and reserve champion breeding day as a 2 year old and 1b and youth champion at the Central Mare Show. As a 3 year old ster and 1a breeding day, 1a at the Central Mare Show. As a 5 year old 1a and reserve champion breeding day, 1a and model at the Central Mare Show. As a 6 year old 1b breeding day and overall champion. As a 7 year old champion older mares and reserve champion.
Lolkje van Bosksicht, preliminary model, 1995, sire Tsjerk. As a 4 year old 1a and ster. Now as a 6 year old preliminary model in the USA.
Nelly fan Bosksicht ster, 1996, sire Wicher, every time 1a at the breeding day. As a 3 year old ster and at 3, 4, and 5 years old at the Central Mare Show each time with the final six, as a 4 year old invited for the model predicate.
Rina fan Bosksicht ster, 1997, sire Tsjerk. As a yearling 1a at the breeding day, 1b at the Central Mare Show. As a 2 year old 1a and breeding day champion, at the Central Mare Show 1b and in the championship round. As a 4 year old ster with a 1st premie.
Teije fan Bosksicht ster, 1998, sire Tsjerk. Stallion test Drachten, 3rd at the national championship dressage 2002 at L1 level.
Whita fan Bolsksicht ster, 1999, sire Abe. Wedding present to Sjoerd and Antoinette. 1b at the breeding day and ster 2002.
Bote fan Bosksicht, 2000, sire Tsjerk, being raised.