Showcase | The Friesian Horse

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Showcase | The Friesian Horse | One Of Europe’s Finest Horse Breeds

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This breed, one of the oldest in Europe, is indigenous to what is now the Netherlands (Holland)

Today its production is mainly limited to the province of Friesland, where it is bred in the so called Meadow districts and in sandy soil areas

It has long been popular as an all-round horse for riding, farm and harness work. In the past medieval knights used it in warfare, and seventeenth-century cavalry leaders were often painted riding these handsome black horses by the great Dutch artists of the period

It is thought that in medieval times, Andalusian and Oriental blood was added to lighten it; its origins certainly lay with the early cold-bloods

In the nineteenth century its natural energy made it a good basis for Trotters, and it was lightened and speeded up with Trotter stock. As this version was of little use in its in its principal form of work on the farms its numbers declined drastically, resulting in an almost extinct breed

Just before World War I when it was close to extinction, judicious crossing with the Oldenburg lead to its survival and During World War II, because of petrol shortages and other factors, it came into its own again

The Friesian horse was honoured in 1954 when Queen Juliana of the Netherlands granted its Breed Society the right to preface its name with the world ‘Royal’

Height

15 to 16 hands although known to reach 17 hands high

Colour

The colour of the Freisian Horse is always black, though a small star is occasionally found

Characteristics

A finally chiselled, longish head with small ears and a shapely neck, with an exceptionally long mane

The back is strong and ribs deep

The hindquarters are well rounded

The tail, which, like the mane, carries much hair, is set low. The legs have good bone and are heavily covered with hair, sometimes up to the knee joint

Uses

Its great ‘presence’, active manner of going, impressive colour, tractability and natural balanced carriage, make it popular as a circus horse

Farmers also still use it as a utility horse, but it is perhaps best known as a harness horse

The Friesian is a light horse breed. Light horse breeds generally weigh less than 1,500 pounds. They are typically used as riding horses for leisure and trail riding.

Being agile and swift, many are also used on the racetrack, in the show ring, and for work on the ranch

The Freisian horse is a beautiful example of one of the finest European horse breeds

This article was written by Alisha Williams

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  1. hope you dont me adding some more info about this amazing breed of horse, I have only ever kept Friesian Horses and love them to bits

    The picturesque Friesian is known for its flashy movement, beautiful black coat, and thick mane and tail. It is a popular carriage and dressage horse. It derives its name from its county of origin. It was developed in Friesland, which is an island off the coast of the Netherlands. There is evidence that the Friesian horses may have existed as far back as 1000 BC. It is thought that it may have descended from the primitive Forest Horse. The Roman historian Tacitus, in 55-120 AD, noted it as a powerful and versatile horse.

    The Friesian carried both Friesian and German knights during the crusades. That brought it into contact with Eastern horses which lightened the breed. It was further improved with Andalucian and Barb influences while Friesland was under Spanish control in the 16th and 17th Centuries. Throughout this time it was a popular breed and also influenced the development of many other breeds including the Fell and Dale ponies, the Shire horse, and the Oldenburger.

    Friesian horses are large in stature, but these high stepping beauties are quite versatile and willing to train. These great all-around horses also have a gentle disposition. They are commonly seen in entertainment shows like circus acts and exhibitions, as well as traditionally being used for horse drawn hearses in England. With the inclusion of the stallion, Othello, in the 1985 film Ladyhawke, they’ve become popular in the film and entertainment. More recently they have been used in the movie Eragon.

  2. we would love to see her picture, what an awful sounding accident, poor girl

  3. ps She's on the mend and being ridden again now but has lost muscle (not surprisingly)

  4. I have a friesian x tb who is black but she's 20 now and not quite in her prime as she had a horrid accident a year ago – went down a cattle grid… If you don't get a pure bred, I can find some good photos of her.

  5. Thanks to Alisha for her great article on Friesians, does anyone have one that can be our very first photo to be uploaded into the gallery?

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