By: Brittany Bevis
The recent APHA World Show marked a special occasion for the Friesen family of Kansas. Jerry and Carol Friesen made the seven-hour journey down to Fort Worth to watch their daughter, Lindsey, compete in yearling longe line and in-hand trail classes with her yearling, Ima Tuffnlucky Asset. It was the entire family’s first time attending the World Show, and the experience certainly didn’t disappoint.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” Lindsey says. “It’s a new experience. It’s fun going out to a new place and seeing all of the people and horses.”
Lindsey’s parents are quick to confirm that their youngest daughter is the only person in their 100 plus member family who’s involved in the horse industry. No, that’s not a typo. Lindsey is one of 100 plus children the Friesen family has fostered over the past 27 years.
“We’ve had over 100 [foster kids],” Carol says. “I don’t know…we’ve lost count. We’ve done it for 27 years. Lindsey was about the fifth, and she is 26 years old.”
“She was the only special one we decided to keep,” Jerry jokes.
All joking aside, this very special couple has not only served as foster parents for 100 plus children, they are the adopted parents of Lindsey, the biological parents of three other girls, Jill, Kristy and Stephanie, and grandparents to seven grandchildren. In addition, their eldest daughter, Jill, adopted one of their foster children.
“The oldest [biological] one was 18 and moving into college when Lindsey was born,” Jerry says. “She fell in love with a horse [while] riding in Colorado. I think that’s where it all started.”
Lindsey explains that she caught the horse bug when she was in high school and participated in her local 4-H group’s Horseless Horse program.
“I got to ride and work with a horse [that belonged to] another family,” she says. “A year later, I bought my own, a Paint gelding, and I’ve had him almost eight years now. Now, I bred for this yearling and have been raising him. His name is Ima Tuffnlucky Asset or “Rocky.”
Although Lindsey is currently the only member of her family who’s interested in showing horses, that may soon change with the Friesen family’s newest arrival, 20-month-old Lyric. This precious baby, dressed entirely in pink, was the star of the stands at the horse show making friends wherever she wobbled with her batting eyelashes, impish smile, and precocious personality.
“She’s a failure to thrive [baby]; so she’s real tiny,” Carol says. “She weighs 17 pounds, but she does like horses. She sits up on top of Rocky.”
“She has no fear,” Lindsey adds.
Lindsey explains that Lyric will either be adopted by another family or she will return to her birth parents, whatever the courts deem is in the best interest of the child. For the time being, the Friesen family is simply enjoying the time they can spend making a difference in the life of another child.
“I guess I just felt this was a mission that needed to be,” Carol says. “We take time off sometimes in between [kids], and sometimes we don’t. Sometimes they call us and [give us] siblings.”
Lindsey is only 26 years old, but, in the not-so-distant future, she might consider getting married and starting a family of her own. Until that time comes, the Friesen family foster children will fill any need that Jerry and Carol might have for more grandkids.
“She loves kids,” Lindsey says. “We always say she will be 90 years old, with a baby in her arms, in the rocking chair.”