A horse is a horse, of course, of course, unless the horse is a Dutch Friesian. There are only 45,000 Dutch Friesians in the world and just 18 approved stallions for breeding in the United States today.
Lisa Williams and her husband Dave started Point Break Farm in 2006 on 100 acres in the hills just a few miles east of Ellicottville. Their goal is to promote and preserve the breed integrity of the Dutch Friesian by breeding, raising and training only the finest representatives of these rare and magnificent animals.
For the past six years, the Williams have worked to build their herd of Dutch Friesians through careful breeding and management. Lisa runs the training and breeding programs, while Dave maintains the grounds and all the farm equipment required to care for 100 acres of pastures and wooded trails, a 13-stall barn and 15 horses.
Lisa has been a horse enthusiast from childhood. She studied under well-known horse trainer Kenny Harlow to become a certified trainer in natural horsemanship. Lisa purchased her first Friesian horse in 2000 and began training them in 2004 after training Appaloosa horses for several years. She fell in love with their beauty, intelligence, gentle nature, and naturally smooth gait that Lisa describes as feeling like you’re “riding a feather.”
That love affair has blossomed into a successful breeding and training business. Point Break Farm is currently home to 14 Dutch Friesians with five new foals expected next spring. The farm sells four to five horses a year to qualified buyers.
The Friesian horse is best known for its majestic and elegant appearance. They have a jet black coat, with a beautiful, full wavy mane, tail and “feathers” that cover their lower legs. Also known as “black pearls,” Friesians were originally used as war and carriage horses and to pull fishermen’s nets full of clams and oysters out of the sea. They are a breed of horse that is native to the Netherlands.
Today, the Friesian horse is often seen competing in the equestrian disciplines of dressage and driving. Competitive driving involves hitching a horse to a light, two- or four-wheeled cart and showing them at a walk and two speeds of trot, with an emphasis on manners and maneuverability. Horses may compete singly or as part of a team.
Dressage is defined by the International Equestrian Federation as “the highest expression of horse training,” where “horse and rider are expected to perform from memory a series of predetermined movements,” Dressage is sometimes referred to as “horse ballet” and is a major Olympic equestrian event. Point Break Farm is nationally renowned for breeding and training Friesians for both disciplines.
To insure and maintain the integrity of the breed, each new Friesian must be evaluated at a keuring (the process of evaluating individual horses for certain characteristics) by a two-judge panel that is flown in from Holland each year to inspect new candidates and compare them against the breed standard.
Lisa recently returned from a major North American competition in Ohio. She entered eight of her Friesians in various competitions in which they were evaluated for the quality of their performance and movement. All eight received high honors with her 8-year-old mare Meijs achieving Grand Champion status in a driving test by earning the second highest score in North America. This is no surprise considering that Point Break Farm Friesians are consistently ranked among the finest in North America.
For more information about this beautiful and extraordinary facility that is literally in our own backyard, visit the Point Break Farm Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/Point-Break-Farm-Friesians.