Interview with: Wim & Nita Floryn


By Enny Van Aken

December, 2020


“No, I didn’t grow up with Friesian horses,'' says Wim Floryn as he shares his story about how he ended up being the AFHA board-chairman. “My dad worked with horses at his farm until 1972. As a young boy, I had a pony and later on different horses, until I got injured. That became my turning point.”

Building Blocks

Wim always had in mind that the Friesian horse would work nice when hitched up to a carriage. That’s why, now together with Nita (today his spouse for 40+ years), they switched focus: from riding to driving, from KWPN-ers to Friesians.

It took Wim and Nita a while to find the right Friesian horses but when “Ennik” and “Falco” came to their farm, they saw their potential and were not disappointed! Over the years more horses, carriages and harnesses were added to their collection.

In the year 2000, another turning point came their way; Wim and Nita expanded their horizon. With 2 kids, all their belongings, 15 horses, different carriages, and costumes, they moved to Lacombe, Alberta, Canada. Their first focus became their dairy, Gull Lake Farm, followed by their Friesian horses.

AFHA President

The AFHA welcomed them with open arms. In 2001, they became members. They sent mares to the “keuring” and attended their first meeting. At this meeting the question came up, ”Who wants to drive and show in the Calgary Stampede Parade?” It didn’t take Wim more than a split second to answer, “We have so much experience in that area, and we are not worried nor intimidated by this major event; let’s go!”
And that marked the beginning of many Calgary parades, Spruce Meadow shows, local parades, the musical ride and MUCH, MUCH MORE.

In 2007 the AFHA board chairman, Dr. Klaas Wiersma, requested to pass on the hammer to a younger member. The other board members decided that it was time for Wim Floryn to take over and he accepted the job. Wim’s words, “I was the board chair with Nita by my side. All the other board members contributed a lot, each in their own way, and as a team we further developed the AFHA over the years.”

Highlights and Changes

Thinking back about the improvements implemented over time he says, “A few things had to be changed for the better, such as new policies for the keuring, and events were added to enhance and encourage participation of our members in the area of riding and driving. But the main focus of the AFHA remained the breeding and the quality of the horses.”

Looking back over the years Wim experienced a few absolute highlights:

  • 2009: 25th FHANA anniversary celebration in Reno, Nevada. “An impressive show and still today I regret that I didn’t bring our own horses to be part of that show.”
  • The start of the musical ride performed by 8 Friesians and 6 of those came from “Gull Lake Farm”.
  • The trips to Florida (joining “the caravan”) and Washington (John Wayne Trail Ride).
  • 2019: FHANA's 35th anniversary celebration in Ponoka, Alberta. “A one day show with lots of variety and the bleachers filled to capacity!”

Looking Back and Looking Forward

After 13 years it is time for Wim to pass on the hammer to the next chairman. “I always took pleasure in the job. I know there is a future for the Friesian Horse Breed: it is today’s most respected and workable horse; trustworthy, beautiful and working hard to steal the show.”

Wim and Nita Floryn continue to be active AFHA members. Together with their daughter Marita they will keep breeding the mares, join the AFHA events and enjoy the social life the members share as a group.

On behalf of all the AFHA members we say “THANK YOU” to the Floryn family. You are a people with a deep love for Friesian horses and a serious commitment to the AFHA.

Wim and Nita Floryn

AFHA's Other Stories

Enny Van Aken is an AFHA member and regular writer for AFHA, owner of Friesian horses, avid driver in indoor and outdoor derbies, driver in the Alberta Quadrille, and a loving mother and grandmother.

Alberta Friesian Horse Association