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Friesian Horse Breed Profile

Height 15.2-17.2 hands (61-69 inches; 155-175 cm)
Body Muscular, compact, long tail
Head No markings, proud
Neck Sturdy, arched, long mane
Colors Black
Temperament Friendly, intelligent, reliable, patient
Gait Swinging, "high knee", soft, elegant
Type Warmblood
Origin Netherlands
Bred since 16th -17th century
Suited for Leisure, dressage, show, carriage horse

Friesian Photo: Aneta Jungerova/Shutterstock

The Majestic Friesian

The Friesian is an extraordinarily beautiful horse: Its shiny coat, the long, flowing mane and the majestic feathering around the hooves make any horse fan’s heart leap for joy.

Europe’s Oldest Horse Breed

The breed from the Dutch province of Friesland is one of the oldest in Europe and has a stunning history. Many horse breeds partly originate from the English thoroughbred. Yet, the Friesian has never been mixed with other breeds apart from the hot-blooded Andalusian. From this breed the Friesian has got its beautiful, slim head, the nicely curved neck and the “high knee action” (when walking, the horse lifts its legs specifically high).


Patient and Gentle

Mostly the Friesian proudly carries its head high with its expressive face and bright eyes. Despite its majestic character, this horse is not hard to handle. On the contrary, it is very patient, strong-nerved and gentle.

Friesian Photo: mariait/Shutterstock

Are They Always Black?

Friesians are always black, but not right from their birth onwards. As foals they have a brown coat. In order to be registered in the studbook, the Friesian must not have white markings (e.g. on the head).

Strict Breeding Rules

During the 16th and 17th century, the Friesian was an important war horse, because it was strong enough to carry a heavily armored knight. At the beginning of the 20th century the breed seemed to be nearly extinct. There were only a few stallions left for breeding. Fortunately, Friesians are widely spread again, today. In order to prevent breeding with „bad“ genetic material, stallions are still being selected very carefully. They have to face a jury every year.

Where Does The Name Come From?

The Friesian has been named after its homeland, the Dutch province of Friesland.


Fun Facts

Movie producers are so fascinated by Frisians that they regularly cast them in great films such as Eragon, The Chronicles of Narnia, Snow White and the Huntsman, The Tributes of Panem and Day of the Falcon.

Friesians belong to the most expensive horse breeds in the world.

Friesians love water.

Friesian Photo: Osetrik/Shutterstock


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