Gerben Steenbeek & Family History
Stonecreek Friesians is owned by Gerben Steenbeek and family in Ontario Canada. Gerben, his wife Ria and children Gerard, Nanda and Jordan moved from the Netherlands to Canada in 1996.
Gerben has always been around Friesian horses. Gerben’s family had lived on farms in Friesland for generations, where it was not uncommon to have Friesian horses for farm work. As a young boy, Gerben helped his father milk the cows and used the horses for fieldwork. When his legs were way too short to hold on, his father would put him on top of a horse to ride. At ten years old, he took a team of horses to the field to pick up hay.
Not surprisingly, after Gerben got married to his wife Ria, they soon got their own horse. Although tractors were now used in farm work instead of the horses, Gerben and Ria bred their mares and both rode the horses occasionally. In a nearby town, a driving club was started, where Gerben and some friends went on trail drives, and competitions in town. Gerben also taught the art of driving to his children.
In 1996 the Steenbeek family immigrated to Canada to continue dairy farming, of course the horses had to come along. Many foals have been born over the years and many of those have been trained for riding and driving. Both Gerben and Nanda have served on the board of the newly started Ontario Friesian Horse Association. Within the club there are many events the family attended and hosted.
Recently a new facility has been built on a farm nearby where most of the horses are located now. It consists of an indoor arena, stalls, wash bays, breeding stall, and many large pastures. This arena allows the horses to be trained all year round, in a safer area. The family also does a lot of aspects of the breeding themselves, and spend a whole lot of time picking stallions to match the individual mares.
Over the years the numbers of Friesian horses has greatly increase to about 25 horses including breeding mares, foals, yearlings, two year olds and working geldings.
Currently there are about 6 geldings in constant training trying to make up the perfect combinations for driving single, pairs, unicorn, 4-in-hand, and our favourite 6-in-hand.
Some of the shows and events the family has participated in is the FPS FHANA Keuring in Ontario for 12 years, the CAN-AM Equine Extravaganza for 6 years in a row, the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair: Spirit of the horse demonstrations for 3 years in a row, World Friesian Horse Show 2007 held in Ohio, Simcoe Fair, Paris Fair, Nighswander Summer Classic, the Regional Equestrian Agricultural Central Huron in Clinton’s opening, Ohio State Fair in 2010 driving the 4 and 6-in-hand team, the Metamora Combined Driving Show, and the Metamora Pleasure Driving Show, and many local events.
In 2011 the family drove for first time at the prestigious Walnut Hill Cariage Driving Show in New York State, with both pairs and their coach and had an amazing time.
We have shown under saddle, single driving, pairs and our 4-in-hand and now recently 6-in-hand are becoming quit the show!
Friesian horses are our passion, so we are proud of what we have accomplished and hope that we may accomplish many more things yet.
Most of the horses we have today belong to families which the Steenbeeks have had for years, starting with Durkjen (195948320) who was bought by Gerben’s father, over 50 years ago.
Gerben and Ria with their grandsons Logan and Eli; the new generation of horse runners and drivers.
You can never start too early to share the passion of Friesian horses that the Steenbeek family has!