This article was written by Theodore Westerhoff and is on this website with his permission.  Thank you also to Carina Jefferson who found it in her back archives for me.




The late retirement of one great harness horse and his driver from competition in 2002 seems to have gone unnoticed on the continents far from the best old homeland.  So here is a tribute to Pander.

Pander was bred by Wijbenga from Zwaagwesteinde. He was born on 28 April 1988 as son of Feitse 293 P and the stam 15 ster mare Bonne-Amie (Tsjalling 235 x Wessel 237) . Pander was offered as a twenter to Jelke Wierstra from Ferwerd by an acquaintance in horse trading, who asked whether Wierstra was interested. According to Jelke Wierstra Pander was a rather small and thin horse at the time, and didnít seem to fit his other horses. Nevertheless, Pander went with him, grew up nicely and showed he could move remarkably, so Pander was bought as a three-year-old. His semen quality was not sufficient to go to the stallion keuring in Leeuwarden.  He proved to be a horse that could be sweet, loving attention, but he was really hot, for a Friesian horse even extremely hot. A horse with a real mind of his own too, with his own likes and dislikes, a horse that likes to stand with his head to the East for some reason.

In 1992 Pander started as a stallion in the one-in-hand harness competition, which was won by Pander with the maximum number of points. All through Panderís career the Frisian shay built in Anjum in 1990 and registered in the FSS with the registration number 121 was used with him, always with starting number 84. In 1993 the gelded Pander competed together with his calmer, one year younger, full brother Rykle in the two in hand class, in 1994 they entered the tandem class too. The brothers were a success as a team, almost always finishing among the best. In 1998 they won the tandem championship.  Later Rykle was sold to the BRD. That did not mean that Panderís participation in the team competition had ended, Pander and Wierstra teamed up with Jelle Bouma and his horses for the teamwork.

Pander did win a lot with just his driver to assist too, both in the Lady class with Leidy Kraaijenbrink as driver and in the Honorary class with Jelke Wierstra as driver. In 1997 Pander was the champion of the class Driven by a Lady. From 1998 to 2000 he was the Reserve Champion of that class.  In 1998 he won the Prize of the Best, the ďbattleĒ between the harness champions and reserve-champions of the different harness classes for one-in-hand Friesian horses.  He finished almost always in the top-three, no matter the class.

The year 2001 should have been Panderís last year in competition. For the Dutch harness competitions it was as a very short season as result of the Foot-and -Mouth-Disease outbreak in Europe. Pander showed very well in 2001, winning the championship in the Lady class again, driven by Leidy Kraaijenbrink. This was gained in rather a spectacular way: early in the final showing of the championship Pander lost a shoe, this would have sunk the attempt to become champions again of many good combinations, but Pander quickly recovered and won the title on three shoes. He was the most successful in the honorary class (just for horses who have already won a large sum) too, but it was tropically hot during the showing for the title in Drogeham, and Pander had problems with standing the heat and finished second behind Sybren Minkema with Heinse 354. Pander and Boumaís Rinse driven by Wierstra finished second in the tandem competition.

Panderís final last year was 2002. According to the Hoefslag Pander lacked initially the top quality he had in 2001. That quality returned and Pander won for the third time the championship in the Lady class, and that in Drogeham! His farewell event was Indoor Friesland, there he finished in the honorary class with Jelke Wierstra, in both the Prize of the Best and the Lady Class with his lady, Leidy Kraaijenbrink with the first three, as he had done all the way in his carreer. His best score was the winning of the Frisia Cup for the Lady class, such as befits the Lady Class Champion when he starts for the last time ever in the lady class, or any class for that matter. Pander left the competition as a winner, and although he may be remembered best for his achievements in the Lady class, he did equally well in the Honorary class, finished often first, but never became the champion in that class. It has been thought that part of the reason for that could be that jurors might have a preference for the stamboek stallions.

This end of Panderís sport career is not really the final curtain however; he will still give demonstrations to the public at equine events. The show goes on and Pander, still in health, is not gone from the spotlights and the admiration of the public yet.  His story is not finished yet, but his sport career is finally over now. Many people may still see him, perhaps in Het Swarte Paert of the Kraaijenbrinks, perhaps at large equine events, but never again in the harness competitions he showed so well in, at the top for a whole decade.