After growing up in the Dutch province of Friesland, it’s unsurprising that Louis and Marianne Weitenberg have a strong affection for the horses for which the region is famed.
When they came to New Zealand about 30 years ago, they began working in the dairy industry, but the passion for Friesians never died.
Louis ended up working for Landcorp, responsible for the management of numerous dairy farms. His special interest was in genetics and the breeding of top dairy cows.
After a while, his passion for studying the genetics of Friesian cows carried over into studying the genetics of Friesian horses, and he started looking up the stud records of the top Friesians from his native Holland.
About 15 years ago, the Weitenbergs imported two mares and a stallion of impeccable pedigree and started a boutique Friesian stud, providing a complete professional Friesian breeding programme in New Zealand.
Originally, the couple ran the Friesian business as a sideline, but last December they had the opportunity to move to Pakiri to establish Glenrose Friesians there, and devote themselves to working with and breeding horses full-time.
The couple do all the work themselves, including artificial insemination, scanning of mares during pregnancy, foaling and breaking in young stock.
Marianne says Louis’ expertise plus the couples’ contacts in the Netherlands where they source frozen semen, allows them to put together top breeding combinations. They supply the highest quality studs and pure bred foals.
Marianne says Glenrose prides itself on matching the right horse to the right person. Before making a sale, the couple like prospective owners to visit Glenrose so they can guide them on how to handle a young horse and establish which horse they relate to best.
She says Friesians are appreciated for their beauty, friendliness and loyalty. Selective breeding has also ensured they have become highly competitive in dressage.