ED & LAURA FRIESEN
around about her success with the Wunderbar mares, and she found herself headlong in another business. “People began asking for help, and in a matter of three years, it’d snowballed to where I bred 45 outside mares.”
met Laura, Ed and Maegan a few years ago,” says veterinarian Cindi LaCroix. “I was impressed with the level of care and commitment the entire family had to their horses. Maegan quickly had my respect. For such a young woman, she has an extensive command of veterinary knowledge … she researches, questions, and uses deductive reasoning to make decisions which are thoughtful and sound—she is delightful to work with.”
Now Laura Friesen collects and ships semen for eight stallions in a variety of breeds, and appreciates them all, even if Arabians are her favorites. She has definite views about certain aspects of Arabian breeding. “I have really strong feelings on embryos and how the Arabian horse industry has gone,” she says. “I’m dead set against five or six embryos. Embryos should be for the purpose of, for instance, getting a foal from an older mare. And when we have Arabian mares being euthanized because people can’t afford to care for them, I believe we should almost insist that the recipient mare in an embryo transfer be an Arabian. The Arabian gets its disposition from its mother! “I think it is so important A rule saying that an Arabian mare that we want to live with should carry the foal would take these horses, enjoy them care of a lot of our mares that are being put to sleep. The welfare of 365 days a year. We don’t the Arabian should be paramount, have to live with them; we and if we’re not going to do it as an want to.” industry, then who is?” For Ed and Laura Friesen, despite the success of their businesses and their horses, it is the innate nature of their children that gives them the most satisfaction. “All of our children have a nice way with animals,” Laura notes. Although Jeff pursued sports—even now, at 24, he represents Saskatchewan in the Premier League’s national soccer competition—both girls rode as children. While Stephanie’s contribution to the future of Wunderbar is now her son Bailey (the fourth generation to be at home on an Arabian), it is Maegan who is currently working in the industry, albeit as an amateur. The youngest Friesen manages the farm for her parents. In 2006, she brought out Wunderbar representatives in the performance ring, the first time the farm had been seen there in years. To her parents’ pleasure, industry professionals have noticed the up-and-coming young horsewoman. “I
“I’ve had the pleasure of working with Maegan and Mariachi together, and Maegan has clearly been watching her parents,” agrees Joel Kiesner. “She’s learned a lot from them, and she’s a natural horsewoman.” By anyone’s standards, Ed and Laura Friesen have been successful in Arabians—and it appears that their influence, through Maegan and Bailey, will extend well into the future.
“It was a dream I always had,” says Ed. “I’ve always had this passion for horses that can compete not only in halter, but in performance. The passion has been to breed horses that will be nationally recognized in any country, although I know you’re never going to please everyone. I don’t think anybody ever has because we all have different opinions of what a perfect Arabian is.” What gratifies them now is that sitting in the stands, they hear others comment, “That looks like a Wunderbar horse.” It brings back memories of Dan Gainey, of the great old breeding programs of the past and their signature looks. They also like to hear from owners that their horses have good minds. “If they are miserable to be around, who wants to have them?” Ed wonders rhetorically. “Their mind has to be there, as well as the conformation, type and the athletic ability and trainability. I think it is so important that we want to live with these horses, enjoy them 365 days a year. We don’t have to live with them; we want to.” ■ J ULY 2010 | 105
July 2010 Arabian Horse Timess