Spending the Afternoon with the Horses at Friesians of Majesty Farm in Townsend, VT

Monday, September 26, 2016

There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.
-Winston Churchill

Back in the day........before the popularity of Disney princesses and purebred puppies, when asked what they wanted for their birthday, little girls would answer, "a pony".  In recent years, I actually haven't heard any little girl ask her parents for a pony but I'm pretty sure if more little girls (and big ones) were to visit one very special horse farm in Townsend, VT, ponies would regain their popularity at the top of many wish lists.  Wish list or not, I dare any visitor to the Friesians of Majesty to not fall head-over-heels in love with these majestic creatures.
Friesians of Majesty Othello
A few months ago I was checking out a local bus company's tour schedule when I came across a trip to a horse farm in Vermont.  Ironically, that trip is taking place this week.  I decided to go on our own though, and this past week we took a drive to Townsend, VT, to check out the Friesians of Majesty.  A beautiful drive, about an hour past Manchester, on 650 acres in the heart of the Green Mountains, is one of the largest Friesian breeding farms in the U.S.   Home to over 80 friesians, this equine home-sweet-home offers breeding, riding classes, driving lessons, camps, training, horse-drawn limousine services, carriage and sleigh rides.  They also feature equestrian performance!  I wasn't sure exactly what our tour and performance would be like, and will admit I'm not a horse rider or owner, but I do love animals and there's no mistaking that horses are beautiful animals.  What we got during our 2 1/2 hr. visit was so much more than we ever expected.
Home of Friesian Stallion - Othello
In case you're wondering what makes a horse a friesian......according to Wikipedia:  a friesian is a horse breed that originated in the Netherlands.  Friesians are graceful and nimble for their size.  It is said that during the Middle Ages, a friesian's size enabled them to carry knights in armour.  Although they nearly became extinct, friesians are gaining in popularity and are known for use with harness and under saddle and also in the field of dressage.
Robert Labrie owns and operates Friesians of Majesty, along with his wife, Laurie and their staff and interns.  I'm not going to go into great detail about how Robert got to where he is today because hopefully you'll visit one day and hear the story straight from the horse's mouth (no pun intended), but I will tell you that Robert acquired his stallion, Othello, in Holland about 9 years ago. Othello was labeled as a reject of sorts at the time due to a low sperm count and was scheduled to be castrated.  Robert had an idea that he could remedy the situation and purchased Othello and flew him back to the US where Othello became the first in Robert's long line of beautiful friesians who now call Friesians of Majesty home.
Friesians of Majesty
It turned out that Othello was no reject.  In fact, Othello now happens to be the top friesian stallion in the world, holding more distinctions and awards than any other friesian stallion.  Othello stands 17 hands tall and is quite possibly the most majestic creature I've ever seen.  He comes from a long line of champions.
Award Winning Stallion Othello
Friesians of Majesty
Robert Labrie - explaining Othello's 'conformation'.
Award winning Othello
Friesians of Majesty
Award Winning Othello of Friesians of Majesty
Friesians of Majesty in Townsend VT
Mathijs
Award Winning Friesian Stallion
Robert's other champion breeding stallion, Mathijs 
Mathijs, award winning friesian
Mathijs getting his usual neck scratch from Robert.  "Ooooh, that feels good."
One of the mares in the maternity barn.
Robert demonstrates how tame the foals are due to his patent-pending 'imprinting' process.  He was able to walk the colt, without a harness, up and down the stable corridor without it running away and without the mama calling out or coming out of the stall.    Friesians of Majesty also happens to be the home of the #1 rated mare in the U.S.
Robert demonstrating carriage (prom) driving.













During the performance part of the tour, we got to see a 3-4 week old foal demonstrating just how graceful and skillful these friesians are in the ring. 

Friesians of Majesty
Friesians of Majesty in Townsend VT
 The tour and performance would have been worth the ticket price ($25.00 per person), but what really made the experience complete was Robert's storytelling.  From Robert's history with horses, to his acquisition of Othello, to his explanation of embryo transfers, visitors to the farm leave with a very full understanding of this beautiful breed of horse and a strong respect and admiration for Robert's passion for producing friesians and sharing that enthusiasm and love for these fine creatures.

While it is understandable and not surprising that Robert takes pride in his award-winning friesians, there is no denying that his business is led by his love of his animals, first and foremost, followed by his pride in them.  That was obvious throughout our visit and was reinforced in Robert's closing comments when he explained that he cannot take credit for the success he has seen in this, his second career.  Robert credits his grandfather who taught him to drive a sled as a 6 yr. old kid, as well as the previous owner of the farm, his guardian angel and the Good Lord above.  Robert is a kind-hearted, genuine and sincere man who has not let his success and notoriety cloud his identity nor his ability to keep perspective.  He is an example of what happens when you are able to follow your heart and pursue a career in something you love, all the while demonstrating that pride does not have to replace humility.

Friesians of Majesty
Wall of Fame
Friesians of Majesty
Maternity Barn
I could write for days about things we learned and saw during our visit, but that would spoil it for everyone who might visit Friesians of Majesty.  Robert and Laurie offer tours over 60 times per year from May through October.  You can find dates for remaining shows this season on their website under 'Visit Us/Performances'.  Link to their website is: http://friesiansofmajesty.com/   You might also find a space available on the Wade Tour, Sept.30th. Although this is a beautiful, easy drive I will warn you that cell service is sparse once you move out of the Manchester area.  I'd recommend you GPS your route and write it down for back-up.  I'd also recommend a terrific video I found on You Tube of a VT tv program featuring Robert and Friesians of Majesty.  This video includes Robert telling the story of how he came to this career and shows performances by his stallions and also a great demonstration of his embryo transfers.  The link to that video is:
You will notice there are several videos on You Tube featuring Othello and other stallions from Friesians of Majesty.  They certainly don't take the place of visiting for yourself, but they are beautiful to watch and will definitely help you see why people fall in love with friesians!
Follow their Facebook page for more information and events: https://www.facebook.com/The-Official-Friesians-of-Majesty-Page-
Thank you Robert and Laurie for sharing your equine heaven with us!  
If you're looking for a great place to eat on your way home....we recommend the The Publyk House in Bennington.  The food was wonderful and the atmosphere divine.  We ate on the deck and this was our view:
Bennington VT


And......if you happen to like liver, bacon and onions........I can attest that theirs was maybe the best I've ever had!   Melt in your mouth delicious!  John had their turkey dinner and that too was delicious that night and the next day for lunch!  The salad bar could have been a delicious meal all by itself!! Check it out!
Thanks for reading!  Please share and come back soon to Life As I See It!!!

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3 Comments »

3 Responses to “Spending the Afternoon with the Horses at Friesians of Majesty Farm in Townsend, VT”

  1. What a wonderful article about Robert and the Friesians of Majesty farm! My husband and I visited there in early 2013 for a sleigh ride. I actually wrote 3 blog posts about our trip.
    Friesians are, in my opinion, the most majestic of animals, and Robert and his staff could not have been more accommodating. (Our vehicle got stuck in the snow, and they had to pull us up the road to the farm by tractor!)
    Now I want to go back......

    Dianna

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for commenting Dianna! Your story doesn't surprise me one bit! Such great folks. Would love to read your blog posts....What's the name of your blog?

      Delete
  2. Thanks for the comment saying that you found my posts. I'm coming back here to read more of your posts soon. Love the name of your blog!

    ReplyDelete

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