About Region 5

The Arabian Horse Association's Region 5 encompasses Alaska, Washington, Northern Idaho, and Western Montana.

Region 5 has earned the respect of Arabian horse competitors across the country. Whether for show, endurance or dressage, horses from the Pacific Northwest are among the best in the nation.

The quality and caliber of our Region 5 horses are evident by the results of highly competitive shows such as the U.S. Nationals, Canadian Nationals, and Scottsdale.

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A Horseman’s Tale and Lover of the Arabian Breed

By: Michelle Pease-Paulson

Ted and Margaret Friesz with gai parada10Ted and Margaret Friesz have been married for over 50 years.  They have a beautiful farm in Ethel, Wash., and at the young age of 80 they are still breeding.  I had the pleasure of meeting with them a few weeks ago.  I got to tour their farm, meet the babies and sit down and talk about their involvement with the Arabian horse and also find out about Ted’s cross country adventures on horseback more than 50 years ago. 

Let’s start with Ted.  In 1964, he was 28 and living with his folks in Tacoma, Wash.  The idea came to him to ride his horse Duke from the Seattle World’s Fair to the World’s Fair in New York.  When he first spoke of this plan many discounted it and said that he wouldn't even make it to White Pass.  Ted started on this adventure with his friend Leonard Ott.  Ted explained that the two of them started with their horses and pack horses.  But shortly into the trip iin Jerome, Idaho, Ted and Leonard decided that the pack horses were slowing them down. So they rolled up their belongings and strapped them to the front and back of the saddle and went on their way. 

To help finance the trip, Ted said that his mother would send him $100 a month to general delivery in one of the cities that he would be reaching soon. Most of that money went toward food for the horses.   Ted recalls that by the end of the trip he owed his mom nearly $1,800.  As money ran low, the two men would find work.  For example, Ted drove a dump truck in Wyoming and paved roads in Nebraska.  When a snow storm hit in Iowa, Ted and Leonard joined a traveling circus for three months.  Ted and Leonard worked the horses, and Ted tells the story that this circus had the world’s (at the time) largest and smallest horse.  The two horses were in an act together.  The 19H Clydesdale would come out to center ring, and he had a platform on top of its saddle, the 19 inch pony would come out in a cart pulled by a great Dane, walk up a ramp and step onto the platform that was on the Clydesdale’s back--not to worry, the pony had safety cables on! I can only imagine what a show that was.  

Ted also recalls a time in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where the state bank was doing a promotion for silver dollars. They hired Ted and Leonard to do a mock holdup.  I know the photo is a bit dark but you can see Ted with his horse Duke and his gun. Ted and Leonard were both paid 50 silver dollars for this job.  Ted recalls that the bank sold 5,000 silver dollars in 30 minutes that day.

Ted Friesz reaching goal NY worlds fairOne can only imagine the adventures you come across traveling cross country at that time.  Ted recalls that they were stopped by the campaign manager for Lyndon Johnson in Wyoming.  He wanted them to wear vests that said LBJ ALL THE WAY.  However, a few days after this request came in the campaign manager found them and had to rescind the offer as staff were afraid they would not complete the trek across country. I bet that campaign manager was upset when Ted completed his travels.
Flipping through Ted’s scrapbook I came across a ticket.  The Chicago Heights Police Department gave Ted a traffic Violation for having Duke tied to a parking meter.  He said they did not fine him in the end; they just gave him a warning.  The funniest part was where it said “License Plate” on the ticket they wrote in "Horse".  
The only portion of the trip that Ted did not ride was when they were crossing the Verrazano Bridge in New York.  He was in Staten Island and the Ferry workers were on strike so a permit to cross the bridge was not feasible. Ted had to contact a friend and Duke was trailered over the Verrazano Bridge.  
During this cross country adventure Ted and Duke were treated like celebrities in almost every small town along the way.  The local papers would cover their progress.  Local horse clubs would come out and ride with them for a few hours.  They also had police escorts into towns.  Local restaurants and families would open their doors to offer a warm hot meal.  In Grayslake, Ill., Ted’s counterpart met a wonderful woman working as an aid for an elderly couple.  It was love at first sight and they were married.  Leonard stayed behind with his new wife and Ted took the rest of the journey by himself. 

Once Ted made it to the World’s Fair in Flushing, NY, he stayed at the Montana Pavilion as Washington did not have a pavilion.  They put him up for more than a month.  He slept in a Pullman car and took care of the animals.  Duke had a corral and was fine.   While in NY, Ted’s dad wanted a new truck, he wired him the money and he bought a 1965 Chevy.  When Ted decided it was time to make his trip home, he used lumber and carpet that was on hand at the Fairgrounds and built a stall with a manger in the back of that Chevy pickup.  He had to back-up to a hill side to get the bed of the truck level so Duke could get loaded in.  Ted said he drove from NY to Boise, Idaho,  and laid over for a few nights then made the rest of the trip home in a straight shot with Duke in back of the pickup.  What a great horse.

Ted also had some interesting facts about Duke.  Duke was an ex “pony” horse for the race track.  He paid $150 for him.  It took Duke 600 miles to finally walk.  During the nearly 3,000 mile journey they went through five pairs of shoes.  Ted said they would have probably made it on three if the farrier would have made the first two sets as requested with Tungsten Carbide on the heels and toes. 

Ted Friesz in action as rodeo clownA little history of Ted. He is a true cowboy. He was part of the Parkland Roundups and was a bull hazer.  Check out the photo of Ted in his outfit and another where you can see him behind the bull.  He said in those days there was no protective gear and no barrels to hide in.  He was also an active gamer, see the photo of Ted doing pole bending. Ted said that his specialty was the flag race. 

As I said in the beginning, Ted and Margaret have been married for over 50 Years and Margaret has been very active in the Region 5 Arabian horse industry.  When I asked Margaret how she got into horses, specifically Arabians, she told me this story:  She was in 10th grade and at the Fort Lewis stables.  She saw this amazing grey horse, it was a Half Arabian.  She recalls its beautiful tail carriage and how sparks flew as he trotted on the gravel.  She asked the man if she could ride the horse and he said little girl you can not handle this horse.  Well, she hopped on and proved him wrong.  After that ride she bought him.

Then, in 1962, she bought her first purebred Arabian named Bruk Abi who she showed for many years.  Then in 1965, she bought her first mare Shuroa.  Shuroa was an amazing horse- winning titles in Costume, Side Saddle, English, Western, Halter and most classic head.  Those were the days when our Arabians did it all.  Then in the early 90’s she stood the amazing stallion Gai Parada.  She also stood Gai Argosy and Gai Seance.  She tells the story of how Gai Seance loved grape fruit. He would eat it whole, peel and all. 

Margaret Friesz and Shuroa in Native CostumeMargaret has been a long-time Daffodil member.  She and her family worked many hours on the Daffodil Show.  Ted worked for a gravel company and they would donate rock and sand to the unit to prepare the grounds for the show. His brother Dutch had a painting company and they would repaint the arena prior to each Daffodil show to ensure things looks spectacular for the exhibitors.  Ted mentioned that in 1981 the Tacoma Unit gave him a lifetime membership in honor of all of the work that they had done to the facility.  Margaret also told me that before the Daffodil Club was in existence it was called the Washington State Arabian Horse Club and they would have “play” days at Wood Brook.  Those “play” days eventually turned into official horse shows.

Ted and Margaret are still actively breeding.  They had four babies this year. They bred to Marekk and Odyssey SC.  They will breed these mares back in 2016.  Their energy amazes me.  They have been actively breeding and selling horses over the past 23 years.  Many of their sales are international--locations such as South Africa, France, Italy, Germany, England, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. It has been many years since they last showed.  Margaret’s motto is “Sell the horses before they have to be shown.”  From what I saw during my time at their farm, they have been very successful at doing this. 

I want to thank Ted and Margaret for taking the time to reminisce about the past and talk about their continued involvement with Region 5 with me. They both have an amazing story and I am honored to be able to share it with everyone.