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Friesian horse – a symbol of the horse's courage and strength

Published: 2023-02-15 08:11:45 Categories: Guides Rss feed


It's hard not to look at a Friesian horse. Successfully bred in Europe; back in the days used as war horses. These days they are commonly used in revue shows, carriage driving, or hippotherapy. Many call them a "black pearl" among other breeds from around the world.

Friesians – war horses

Friesians originate from a historical area - Fresia – that is currently located on the borders of Germany, Netherlands, and Denmark.

The breed's history dates back to Roman times. In medieval times there were already black strong horses, which were used to pull carriages and served as riding horses for the army.

When peasants started to own these horses, the Flemish horse was created – known for its strength and resilience. These days, they are bred as Belgian horses in the USA.

To achieve a more distinguished baroque-looking horse for carriage pulling and riding, a mix of Iberian horse blood was added to the gene pool. In the 18th and 19th centuries changes in trends and needs abolished that breeding goal. What's interesting, the Flemish peasants continued to breed this type of horse (Harddraver). At the same time, Friesian gained a new job – as a participant in trotting race competitions.

In 1878 an official stud book was created – Friesche Paarden Stamboek – that was supposed to compile breed descriptions and help with further breed development. All horses entered into this stud book originate from the same stallion (Nemo 51, born in 1885).

Friesian breeding

These days, Friesian breeding is mostly conducted in the native Fresia – in Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands, but also many other, sometimes not European, countries. What's interesting, currently Friesian horses constitute about 7% of all horses in the Netherlands.

Friesian horses can be found on every continent, in almost 70 countries, with over 70 thousand registered horses. There are many rules and regulations regarding horse registration, stallion selection, and youngster control. There are also rules about naming a foal – in 2022 Friesian foals should have names starting with the letters T, U, or V.


Friesian coat

Currently, to have a registered in the stud book Friesian horse, it needs to be black. What's more, the only allowed marking is a small star on the head.

Some horses have a chestnut coat, however, it's not a desirable trait in breeding. These horses have a "chestnut gene" or a "red gene" and are not regarded as full-blood Friesians (stallions like that are not entered into the studbook).

White Friesian and albino Friesian

Does a white or albino Friesian exist? Unfortunately, no. There are no other coat colors except chestnut and the officially acceptable black coat. If you dream about a white Friesian horse, then seeing it in video games and pictures will have to suffice ????

Other breeds might include a white horse with a similar physique. Check out other breeds.

Does a grey Friesian exist?

If a Friesian is mixed with a different grey horse, then one can get a "grey Friesian". However, it won't be a full-blood Friesian.

Friesian – physique, characteristics, and breed description

Friesian horses are built quite proportionally. The breed slightly resembles a draft horse. Their heads are dry with relatively small, sickle-shaped ears. Their strong neck is set high, medium-sized, and extremely well-built. Their backs are short with barely visible withers. Friesians have a muscular croup and slanted shoulders. Legs in this breed are strong and elongated (their thighs are especially long). Front limbs are slightly less muscular than back limbs.

The friesian coat is short and shiny. These horses have lush feathers. Other characteristic features are their thick, long manes and tails. The luxuriant, wavy, and shiny hair sometimes bamboozles polish people and makes them mistakenly call them "Hairdresser horses" - in Polish "Koń Fryzjerski" (word play; fryzjer – hairdresser).

The breed description recognizes two types of Friesian horses:

  • Baroque Friesian with a stronger physique than a standard one,
  • Modern Friesian (sport type) with a lighter physique.

Both types of Friesians are common, however, nowadays the modern type is more frequently seen during horse shows than the baroque one. Nevertheless, the type of physique during the shows is less important than the horse's movements. So, breeders, in order to achieve the best horses, breed those that have the best gaits and appearance.

Height: mares – min 157 cm, stallions – from 160 cm even up to 173 cm.

Friesian horse – roles

Friesian horses eagerly work under the saddle and perform well in most armature competitions, sometimes even in sport-level competitions. These proportionally build horses and move with grace and energy – especially in a trot and canter. Friesians can reach high speeds in trot.

Friesians are also eager to work with humans, which means they're great for hippotherapy as well as in dressage and carriage driving. These horses are perfect for less experienced riders thanks to their calm and obedient nature.

Friesians are also frequently used in films – historical and science fiction ones (horses of dark characters). Battle reenactments are another time when Friesians can shine.

How much does a Friesian horse cost?

Are you interested in buying a Friesian horse? Their price depends on a few factors: age, pedigree, skills, and achievements. In this breed, physique, movement, and appearance are also extremely important.

The price starts at around 15-20 thousand zlotys. On average, Friesians cost 30-40 thousand zlotys, however, there is no upper price limit.

Generally speaking, Friesians are more expensive in the USA, because the breed is still quite rare there.


Friesian horses: feed

Before you get your Friesian horse, it's important to know more about a proper diet for them. Feeds with low or medium protein content and medium energy content are most often given to Friesians. However, they are not the most demanding or difficult horses to feed.


It is impossible not to admire the Friesian horse, one of the most important breeds in the world. Friesians impress with their big, muscular physique with graceful and light movements. This breed proved its worthiness on a battlefield as well as in a circus arena. It's one of the most popular horse breeds for a family horse – for trail rides and carriage driving. Nowadays, Friesians appear in sport as well – as dressage and carriage driving horses. This breed is also frequently used in hippotherapy.

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