Following my first encounter with the 4 YO Django, I made contact with his proud owner Lynn Jenkin of Tashkent Friesians, to ask about this exciting 'new' breed and she explained that the Dutch Friesian was in fact, a very old breed that had completely captivated her and her husband Dick.
Lynn said that they were introduced to Friesian horses whilst watching the Michelle Pfeiffer movie 'Ladyhawk'. The other star of the movie was a magnificent black Friesian stallion who made a huge impression and changed their lives.
"Dick and I began to research the breed and we found photos and other information and were eventually able to track down one of these magnificent horses in Australia - Friso Royal Avalon who stands in Tamworth. At this time, purebred Friesians were not available in Australia, so the thought of owning one did not seem feasible. However, we were completely besotted and owning a Friesian had become an obsession ... something we knew we would do when we found the right horse." Lynn said.
"Several years later we came across an advertisement for a , Friesian Stallion, Geert W, he was then located at Williamtown, NSW. We arranged a visit and fell 'hook line and sinker' for his spectacular presence and fantastic movement ... however, it was this stallion's playful and showy temperament that made a great impression! His gentle nature and willingness to please were obvious and very appealing. This meeting sealed our fate ... we knew we could not rest until we had found a suitable purebred Friesian."
"We bought our first Friesian filly (at the time I thought she would be the only one) as a six month old foal. She was bred in Victoria and her dam descended from the first Friesians imported to Australia in the 1970's. Her sire was then a newly imported Stallion from the Netherlands." Lynn explained.
To be eligible for full inclusion in the adult stud book, Friesian horses must be inspected after their 3rd birthday. The inaugural Friesian Inspection (Keuring) was conducted at Tamworth in 2000 and this is where Lynn first saw the tall and elegant mare Renske fan e Olde Hoek, who was being presented for inclusion into the Adult stud book. "This mare stood out, as she was 'head and shoulders' above all the other horses that were presented on the day. Her inspection was completed and Renske fan e Olde Hoek was awarded the highest recognition of excellence - a Ster rating! Renske fan e Olde Hoek was in foal and some time later we were advised that she had had delivered a colt. We had not considered contacting the breeders as they said at the Keuring they wanted to keep the foal - no matter what the sex - and we had never contemplated the prospect of becoming stallion owners."
"When we heard that Renske's foal was for sale and I immediately contacted is breeder Carl Mitchell to make arrangements to go up and inspect his colt foal. It goes without saying that we loved him and made the necessary arrangements to bring him home, when he was old enough to make the trip from Queensland to NSW ... and so began our wonderful journey with Django of Cacharel."
"Soon after Django arrived it was time to consider the breaking in and education of our mare Tsjallinkje. I was discussing this with well known FEI Dressage rider Christine Crawford and she mentioned meeting a lovely Friesian colt who had been 'off loaded' at their property (North Kaludah Stud) whilst in transit to his new home. "That's OUR boy" I said, knowing he was the only Friesian colt in the area at the time. This conversation sparked a special friendship, which has developed into a very happy association, with our beautiful Friesians the common bond."
"Christine and her partner Jeremy Janjic operate North Kaluda Stud and it was agreed that Jeremy would show Django in hand while he was a young unbroken colt and go on to break him to saddle and take him through his dressage training." Lynn explained.
So, I contacted North Kaluda to ask if there were any special secrets in preparing Django ... or any insights regarding Jeremy & Django's rise to fame?
Jeremy explained, "We were all open minded about the horse's ability and have been delighted with his trainability and aptitude for the work. Django has gone up the grades, commanding attention and winning fans along the way - he has been the best advertisement for the breed and later in the year (2009) ... as an 8 YO, he will have his first start at Prix St George!"
"I really loved our 2009 Stud season photo shoot taken at the beach. The setting made for some special images and people have loved seeing another side to Django's beauty." Jeremy added.
Jeremy and Django took part at the NSW Dressage Championships in Tamworth in 2009 where they had a fantastic result at Advanced level. Jeremy said, "We did our first freestyle test and Django was awesome. We rode to music taken from "Slum Dog Millionaire" and placed 2nd in this class. In the 5 B we were 6th and 11th in the 5C. We had a great competition and Django is wonderful to work with ... and a gentleman to take out!"
Jeremy said, "Feeding Django has always been a big consideration, he is such a good doer and is inclined to put on weight. But, with a competition stallion, you need strength and the sustained release energy to ensure that performances do not fall flat and become lifeless - this is more of a consideration with a stallion, and even more so with a horse that commands attention and has all eyes on his test - it must be exciting!"
"Christine and I have been using Prydes feeds for quite a while and have had huge success perfecting the feeding programs for all of our riding horses along with the broodmares and young stock at North Kaluda. With Django's special feeding requirements in mind, we contacted Prydes to specifically talk about Django individual needs. We recognised that an energy feed with weight control implications might be asking a lot, but Dr Nerida Richards told us of the new Prydes EasiSport - specifically made for horses like Django."
"EasiSport is a pelleted grainless feed with all of the vitamins and minerals that are needed for tip top condition and it gives slow release energy in a form which helps to control excessive weight gain. The bulk and roughage comes from oaten chaff and hay and I have been quite amazed to see how well this very simple diet suits Django - perfect for the heavier framed horse that tends to bulk up and lose their elegant lines." Jeremy enthused.
"Django is working hard now and his daily routine is taking in the more demanding work of FEI. He is showing us great talent for the piaffe/passage and his canter work is coming along well, he has exceptional lift and expression and his sequence changes are very special. We are working to improve the canter pirouettes - he needs a feed balance that will keep up the energy for this demanding work - I am so pleased that EasiSport came along it is perfect for Django - thanks Prydes." says Jeremy.
STOP PRESS: Django of Cacharel had his first Prix St Georges start at the Alexander Park (NSW) competition on the 9th October, 2009. All connections are really excited that Django is continuing to step up and prove the trainability and elegance of this beautiful "boroque" breed. J Janjic Django of Chacharel 70.526% 62.632% 66.579% 1st.
Visit the Tashkent Friesians Web Site for more
Friesian information and news about Django.