The Friesian horse is one of the ancient horse breeds in Europe. The horses were used for the medieval war horses and draft horses in the 4th century. The horses are known to carry an armored knight on their back in the middle age. After that, they became extinct when the heavy draft horses were needed for war. Friesian horses have become popular in the last two decades with the excellent jet-black color, muscular body, and light draft size, suitable for both in harness and saddle. They are widely used for pleasure riding, competition, driving, dressage, harness racing, jumping, and equestrian sports.
Why You Study Friesian Horse Facts?
Have you seen the following movies Conan the Barberian, Alexander, The Mask of Zorro, Eragon, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Hunger Games, and The Clash of Titans? In all these movies, the Friesian horses are due to their excellent trait, adventurous look, and versatile use. The horse is becoming popular in Hollywood movies and attracts horse lovers. The multitalented, elegant look and color make him one of the world’s most popular and costly horse breeds. You will be surprised to know much information about this horse breed.
1. Origin and History
Friesian is the only native horse breed of Holland, originating in the Friesland province of the present Netherlands. The horses were imported to North America in the 17th century and lost due to indiscriminate cross-breeding. The Friesian horse breed influences Eastern bloodlines. The horses were reintroduced in North America after 1974.
2. Physical Characteristics
Friesian is a light draft horse of Europe and attractive due to its color, luxurious mane, tail, forelock, expressive face, high-set neck, and powerful thighs and hindquarters. The average height is 15.2 to 16 hands. The average weight of the horse is 1300 pounds. Friesian have a compact, muscular body, robust and sloping shoulder, short-eared, well-chiseled “Spanish -type” head, and low-set tails. They have an attractive, thick, wavy, long mane and long and silky feathers at the fetlock. They are willing, active, energetic, but docile horse breeds. You will love its passion and character.
3. Color and Identification
Black is the only recognized color of the Friesian horse breed. Sometimes it may vary from dark brown to dark bay or pure black. They are occasionally found in chestnuts, carrying the “Red” gene. They are allowed to have a small “Star” marking on the forehead. Other distinct identification marks are the long and wavy mane and tail, feathered fetlock, and black skin.
4. Number of Friesian Horse
Before 1974, the pure Friesian horse was extinct due to cross-breeding. Later they became popular as they can be used in harness riding, dressage, jumping, and agricultural work. Friesian Horse Association in North America (FHANA) maintains the horse breed registry. At present, around 45,000 horses are registered worldwide. In North America, approximately 8,000 horses are present.
5. Cost and Availability
The breeds’ cost varies from the availability, pure breed, color, age, temperament, training, and uses. The horses are available in Europe and North America. You will get the latest information, list of horses, and studbook on the FHANA website.
6. Judgment Of Friesian Horse
Every year, the Friesian is judged by a team expert member from the Netherlands. The judgment is done for the maintenance of the purity of the breed. 60% of judgment is based on movement and performance, and 40% is done based on confirmation. The Friesians are judged twice during Foal for the entry in Foal Book and second at the age of three or for the entrance in adult studbooks.
7. Breeding of Friesian Horse
The FHANA discourages the cross-breeding of Friesians with other horses. Friesians are the horses’ first breeds with frozen spermatozoa worldwide to maintain the purity of the breed. The Royal Friesian Studbook is the strictest registration requirement for the horses that are also maintained for Friesians.
8. Care and Management
The Friesians are well-tempered and well-behaved horses that family members can maintain. They require care and management like other horses. They need daily grooming, exercise, feed, supplement, training, and rest. They need special care for their long and fluffy mane and tails. You must give specific attention to hooves, feet, and horseshoe clothing.
9. What is a Friesian horse used for?
The Friesians are used in multiple purposes and disciplines of Equestrian sports. They are successfully used in dressage, pleasure driving, and even for farm work or light draft purposes. Friesians are well suited to harness racing as they have potent hindquarters. They are prevalent in recreational driving horses’ shows. They are widely used in Olympic and other Equestrian competitions in dressage competitions. Friesians are outstanding in the Quadrille and well suited in combinations.
10. Few problems with Friesian Horse
Though Friesian horses are top-rated in the horse world, they have some specific health problems. Before the maintenance of the studbook in 1878, the breed had undergone severe inbreeding. The common genetic problems recorded by veterinarians and clinicians are dwarfism, hydrocephalus, megaesophagus, compromised immunity, aortic rupture, and verrucous pastern dermatopathy. They suffer from digestive disorders at a higher rate than others. They have a higher rate (54%) of retention of the placenta.
Friesians are becoming highly popular daily due to their excellent jet-black color, robust and muscular body, medium draft appearance, and versatile usages. You can use this horse for work, pleasure riding, dressage competitions, equestrian sports, and horse shows. The pleasant personality of the horse will give you honor and pride.