Withers Farm is the home of Dean and Vicki Manders. We imported our first mare from the Netherlands in 2005 Ietske S, she returned to Holland in 2007 where she gained her Ster status. Our first home bred foal ‘Tile fan Brandus’ was born in 2006. He took the title of Best Foal for England and Ireland, he held that title for 2 years. This inspired us to want to promote the higher quality Friesian horse here in the United Kingdom. After numerous trips to the Netherlands we imported a further two full papered FPS registered star mares for breeding. A majority of our home bred offspring are 1st and 2nd premie foals including 2006 / 2007 foal champion, 2008 reserve foal champion, Epke fan Withers Farm received the foal Championship in 2009, Epke is also the first British bred Friesian to be entered in to the World Stallion Show in The Netherlands. 2010 Hannie fan Withers Farm took the British Foal Championships in 2010, Ymke fan Withers Farm gained her Ster status, along with 2010 stallion champion ‘Weird Fan e Sanhusterwei’ who we imported from Holland. In 2011 Luke fan Withers Farm received the British Foal Champion and also Overall Reserve Day Champion.
We have purposely developed Withers Farm into a breeding centre for the Friesian horse. This consists of all stables being 24 hour CCTV monitored including our Mare and Foaling units, large internal young stock pens so they can socialise with each other, ten stables, a further four with outside pens, a laboratory for semen analysis prior to inseminations, and an all-weather surface arena. All surrounded by 30 acres of fenced paddocks. All our paddocks are sown with Simple System grass mix and we make our own hay.
Our aim is to promote higher quality Friesian bloodlines and also introduce the more modern luxurious sport type Friesian horse, bred for their movement, trainability and temperament. (And trust me, Friesian horses of this type can most definitely canter and do have stamina.) This type of Friesian is now competing successfully at all levels of Dressage up to and including Grand Prix worldwide. We intend to continue breeding the more superior Friesian horses each year, and some are available for purchase. We also import and offer for sale a carefully selected few Friesian Sport horses to enable us to continue with our future breeding programme. We have a few people who help run our yard and a full time groom who assists us with the day to day running of the yard and riding. We have a trainer who gives our riders and Friesians lessons every two weeks, a Dentist comes once a month for six months, working his way though the Friesians. Also regular saddle fittings and regular visits from our Vet.
We have spent many years visiting Stud Farms in Holland and going to as many gradings as possible. This enables us to research the breed and their bloodlines. We attend the Stallion Show every year allowing us to watch the young stallions going through the ranks and selecting possible choices for the insemination of mares. We travel to Holland ourselves to pick the semen up and we have our vet ‘Craig’ on standby to inseminate our mares. Craig Rutland Bsc BVSc CertVA MRCVS has worked in Newmarket specialising in Equine reproduction and foal medicine. Craig inseminates all our mares and has co-operated with some of the most respected Dutch inseminators and veterinary surgeons, making sure we get the best advice from all parties. We have gained a vast amount of knowledge and experience from the Dutch Breeders and trainers, to whom we are truly grateful. Our advice to anyone thinking of purchasing a Friesian is please take your time and do your own research before buying. Check the breed paper and ask as many questions as you can. People that have spent a lot of time learning will be happy to help and will want to promote the higher quality of Friesian horse and their bloodlines, especially here in the United Kingdom. When considering a stallion to breed from you can find all the information on www.fps-studbook.com. It is very important to select an approved stallion that will be compatible with your mare. Remember if you breed from a KFPS registered Friesian mare with a fully approved KFPS registered Stallion, you will have a fully registered KFPS foal!.