Driven to Succeed: Friesian


Flashy by nature with its shiny black coat, rippling mane and charismatic gaits, the majestic Friesian has served as both mount and muse since the Middle Ages, when knights rode these noble horses into battle. Intelligent, warm-hearted and born to perform, today’s Friesians excel in driving.

SUZY STAFFORD • Wilmington, Del.

Horse: Sjaantje (“SJ”)

About SJ: Like most Friesians, SJ has a natural presence. She’s a 9-year-old, 16-hand black mare owned by Gail Aumiller of Dreams Come True Farm.

What makes SJ a great driving horse?

She is a regal and elegant mare that cannot be missed when she enters a stable or an arena. Her trusting attitude makes her a delight to drive on a daily basis. Her willingness to do what is asked of her shows in her rapid progress.

What is your best memory with SJ?
Last year I trained SJ to complete her sport predicate title, which requires earning high percentages in a series of driven dressage tests. She is the first Friesian in North America to earn this title.

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This article originally appeared in the October 2013 issue of Horse Illustrated. Click here to subscribe!

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Sarah Evers Conrad
Sarah Evers Conrad is the current Digital Content Editor for Horse Illustrated and Young Rider magazines. Her career includes time at The Horse: Your Guide to Equine Health Care and the United States Equestrian Federation’s (USEF) Equestrian magazine, before she became USEF’s Director of E-Communications. She then spent time as a content manager/travel writer for a Caribbean travel agency before she opened her own business, All In Stride Marketing. Throughout her career, she has been published in equine publications such as Horse Illustrated, The Horse, Blood-Horse, Equestrian, Arabian Horse Life, USDF Connection, the American Quarter Horse Journal, Paint Horse Journal, Driving Digest, American Farrier’s Journal, Off-Track Thoroughbred, Stable Management, Equine Wellness, and Camp Business Magazine. She has also served as the editor for the Certified Horsemanship Association’s official publication, The Instructor magazine, and for multiple books. Conrad has a BA in Journalism from Western Kentucky University with a double major in Agriculture with an Equine Science emphasis. You can learn more about her at



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