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, when the heavy draft horses needed for war, they became extinct. The excellent jet-black color, muscular body, light draft size, suitable for both in harness and saddle; Friesian horses become popular last two decades. They are widely used for pleasure riding, competition, driving, dressage, harness racing, jumping, and equestrian sports.
Why You Study Friesian Horse Facts?
Have 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? All these movies, the Friesian horses 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 most popular and costly horse breeds in the world. 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, originated in the Friesland province of 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, and 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, and long mane, 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 Friesian horse breed. Sometimes it may vary from dark-brown to dark bay or pure black. They occasionally found in chestnut as they carry the “Red” gene. They are allowed to have a small “Star” marking in 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, 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 registry of the horse breed. 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. The 60% judgment is based on the movement and performance, and 40% is done based on the 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 semen worldwide to maintain the purity of the breed. The Royal Friesian Studbook id the strictest registration requirement for the horses that also maintained for Friesians.
8. Care and Management
The Friesians are a well-tempered and well-behaved horse that can be maintained by family members. 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 wearing of the horseshoe.
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 in harness racing as they have potent hindquarters. They are extremely popular in recreational driving horses show. They are widely used in dressage competitions in the Olympic and other Equestrian Competitions. Friesians are outstanding in the Quadrille and weel suited in combinations.
10. Few problems of Friesian Horse
Though Friesian horses are top-rated in the horse world, they have some specific health problems. Before the maintaining of the studbook in 1878, the breed has undergone severe inbreeding. The common genetic problems are record 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 in work, as pleasure riding, dressage competition, equestrian sports, and horse show. The pleasant personality of the horse will give you honor and pride.