What are Friesian horses?

Any links on this page that take you to Amazon items are affiliate links, and if you buy anything, I get a fee. Thanks in advance – I really appreciate it!

A Friesian horse was suggested to us by a friend as a dressage candidate. I’ve never watched one perform, nor have we ever owned one, so we were unsure if it would be a good option for us, but I decided to learn more about the breed.

Friesian horses are a tall, big-boned equine breed that typically has a black coat with thick manes and tails. These horses have the temperament and athletic ability to excel in dressage. They are also good horses for both novice and experienced riders.

Friesian horses are magnificent creatures of remarkable size and color. But there are lots of other things about this breed you need to know before you decide to purchase one.


If you’re looking for some Friesian horse paintings or other Friesian memorabilia, you may find it by clicking here and scrolling down.

Quick Links:

  • Is a Friesian Horse High Maintainance?
  • Friesian Horse Breed Characteristics
  • Genetic Disorders Associated with Friesian Horses
  • Where Do Friesian Horses Originate From?
  • Do Friesians Make Good Dressage Horses?
friesian horse,

What is the Temperament of Friesian Horses?

I recently saw a Friesian trotting in an arena, and his movements displayed the strength and fierceness you expect from a battle steed. Nonetheless, their display of might made me apprehensive about their disposition.

Friesian horses were used for centuries as warhorses; however, they have a calm demeanor. They are willing learners, social, and eager to please their owners. These characteristics are desirable in every horse. Friesians are suitable for riders of all skill levels.

Before we dig into the Friesian’s temperament, let’s look at what temperament means in context to horses. Temperament refers to a horse breed’s overall personality and view on life.

The temperament of horses influences their behavior. Certain breeds are at ease with humans, while others are not. Certain breeds are obstinate, while others are eager to please.

Friesians don’t easily spook.

The temperament of a horse breed is an essential factor in determining its suitability of a horse. Horses with lower temperament ratings are calm and trustworthy, simple to deal with, and do not startle when ridden.

You don’t want a horse that leaps at its own reflection. Friesians are on the milder side of the temperament spectrum. Matching your riding ability with the temperament of the horse you ride will enhance your riding and horse ownership experience.

Horses, like people, are individuals with distinct personalities. Temperament is just one factor in determining if a Friesian horse is a horse for you.

The video below shows a Friesian horse participating in dressage.

Friesians can be good dressage horses.

Certainly, both baroque and sports Friesians are capable of excelling in dressage. Friesians have a strong desire to please as well as the physical capacity to participate in dressage.

A sport Friesian stallion named Adel 357, was the first Friesian to compete in the International Grand Prix. There have been more successful Friesians in dressage since he broke the barrier for Friesians.

Is a Friesian Horse High Maintainance?

The flowing mane and tail of a Friesian is beautiful, and their thick feathers are a delight to watch move up and down. Yet all of their hair made me question whether it is difficult to keep.

Friesians are hard to groom and high maintenance. To keep your Friesian looking like the ones in photos, you must devote significant effort to maintaining their hair, mane, feathers, and tail.

Is there a more beautiful coat than the Friesian? What about their flowing, thick long, black mane, and tail, can you think of a breed that matches its beauty? The most important issue now is, do you want to groom this Horse?

If you’ve ever tried to keep tangles out of a horse’s mane and tail, you can imagine how much effort it takes to keep a Friesian looking well.

Friesian dogs have dry skin that often develops rashes. Because of the propensity to develop skin disorders, your horse needs to be groomed daily.

friesian horse,

Daily grooming for Friesians includes:

Wash Feathers

Wash the feathers with antibacterial shampoo, then towel dry and blow-dry them. Using this combination to dry the feathers ensures no moisture is left on the skin. Skin irritation is caused by moisture. Keeping skin sores from cropping up in this area is work.

Pastern dermatitis is a frequent problem in horse breeds that have feathers. It’s a skin irritation of the lower legs; under the dense hair, sometimes the disease will reach up to the knee.

Pastern dermatitis, if left untreated, may cause swelling of the whole leg, oozing scabs, and open sores. The easiest approach to avoid the issue is to utilize good grooming techniques. Click here to compare anti-bacterial shampoo costs on Amazon.

Coat care

The luster of a jet-black coat will be bleached away by sunlight. Avoid allowing your horse to run in direct sunlight. A well-balanced, nutritious diet supports a healthy, gleaming coat.

While washing your horse, use the appropriate color-enhancing shampoo. Shapley’s Hi Shine Shampoo, 1 Qt. Friesians have dry skin and a product like Medi-Care Med Shampoo W/Tea Tree & Lemon Grass may help the skin condition.

Brush out the tail and mane

Brush the mane and tail daily using a detangler such as Premium Showsheen with a wide-tooth comb. Begin combing from the bottom and work your way up to prevent pulling out any hair. French braiding is one option for horses with very long manes.


Friesians are best kept in cold weather climates. They are sensitive to heat. Friesians are prone to suffer from anhydrosis, a lack of sweating. This may be disastrous in hot situations.

These horses should be watched for anhydrosis throughout the warm months. There are some treatment options that have shown positive results, such as reduced concentrate feeding, and vitamin E injections along with fluid and electrolyte injections.

Most horses with anhidrosis, however, improve when transferred to a colder region with decreased humidity or kept in air-conditioned barns.

Overall Friesians are high-maintenance horses.

friesian horse,

Friesian horses are known for their long manes and tails.

The biggest distinguishing feature of the Friesian breed is its long mane and tail and black color . Often the tails are so long they drag the ground.

Friesians have lengthy hair that extends from the middle of their legs to the ankles. Feathers The long, silky hair on the lower legs of a Friesian.

Friesians are powerfully built.

The Friesian horse is a huge, powerful horse. The average Friesian horse stands 15.3 hands, but it is not uncommon to see a Friesian 17 hands tall.

They have a well-muscled torso, robust hindquarters, and a short tail. Friesian have long necks that arch with a well-defined small head with eyes spread apart and short ears. Equivalent to Spanish horses.

Friesian shoulders are similarly well-muscled and compact. In comparison to the rest of the body, the horse possesses small, muscular legs. Friesians now have two body types: the baroque type and the sport type.

The horses will also exhibit a lot of knee motion. The baroque type a Friesian is a more classical body, thick boned, and heavier, whereas the sports type is a thinner boned horse used more often in shows.

Not all Friesians have black coats.

Friesians are said to have a lot of black hair. The Friesian breed is distinguished by its black coat; although, chestnut and bay Friesians also existed. For purebred registration, the only white marking permitted on a Friesian is a little star on the forehead.

Today the chestnut and bay coloring is not acceptable for registration in some Friesian horse associations. Chestnut Friesians may still be registered with the American Friesian Association.

The Friesian breed has a high rate of genetic disorders.

Friesian horses have a greater incidence of genetic problems than other horse breeds. Years of inbreeding are most likely to blame for the high prevalence of genetic illness. Here is a list of the most common diseases associated with the Friesian breed.

  • Dwarfism Dwarf Friesians have normal-sized heads and lengthy bodies, full chests, and exceedingly small limbs.
  • Hydrocephalus is a word used to describe the accumulation of spinal fluid within the brain: the fluid accumulates and causes pressure in the skull, resulting in a variety of unpleasant symptoms.
  • Aortic rupture refers to the rupture of the horse’s biggest artery.
  • Megaesophagus: A throat condition that may cause the horse to choke. The megaesophagus is the enlargement of the throat and makes it hard to swallow and get food into the horse’s stomach.
  • Equine polysaccharide storage myopathy : This is a disorder that exhibits signs similar to colic in extreme cases. There is a glycogen deficiency in the muscles. On occasion, diet might be used to treat it effectively.
  • Digestive system disorders Friesians are more prone than other breeds to colic and other gastrointestinal diseases.
  • Hypersensitivity to insect bites: Insect bites, like as mosquitoes and horseflies, may cause severe reactions in Friesians. The hypersensitivity is severe, causing hair loss as well as skin damage to the mane, tail, head, and stomach. The skin damage in some horses is severe enough to leave the horse unsuitable for extended periods of time.
  • Pastern dermatopathy Friesians are prone to skin illness in the pastern region, particularly around the feathers.

I published a detailed post on the lifetime of Friesian horses that you may find useful.

Where Do Friesian Horses Originate From?

When I first saw a Friesian, I assumed it was a French or Spanish horse. I wasn’t sure where they originated, so I decided to do some research to find out.

The Friesian horse originates in the northernmost province of the Netherlands, Friesland. There is evidence that horses have existed in this province for thousands of years.

The Friesian breed spread across Europe and became a popular ride for armored knights. The knights wore heavy armor and required a steed with the strength and endurance to carry them to battle.

The Friesian was custom-made. They also had the additional bonus of being a visually appealing mount. During the 16th and 17th centuries, as demand decreased for heavy warhorses, the Friesians were bred to lighter horses such as the Spanish horse breed, Andalusian.

Although this cross produced a lighter battle horse, it still retained much of the characteristics of the Friesian, such as the black coat, prominent gait, thick mane, and tail. The Friesian evolved from the Andalusian not only in weight but also in other traits.

These characteristics include the Arabian horse’s high knee motion, short head, and craning neck. The Arabian breed has Arabian blood in its ancestry. The Friesian lineage has been preserved pure for the past two centuries.

Friesians first came to America in the 17th century.

In the early 17th century the Dutch came to America and settled in the area now known are New York. It was renamed New Amsterdam under the Dutch rule, and Friesian horses were brought from the Netherlands.

The Friesians are said to be the forefathers of the American Morgan horse breed. The Friesian influence in the Morgan pedigree has not been proven, but the conformation, gait, and general disposition of the breeds are strikingly similar.

Friesian Stallions must meet specific criteria.

Friesians are rated shortly after birth, then again at 2.5 and three years old. They will be categorised and recorded into a foal book after their foal examination. Foals may be graded as first, second, third, or no premie.

When a Friesian returns for its second inspection, it is rated on the quality of conformation, movement, type, and, if competing, sporting success.

Friesian horses are classified into quality of breed groups known as predicates. Predicates are based not only on his quality but also on the quality of his offspring.

Friesian Predicates:

Crown/Kroon Predicate

To qualify for crown predicate the horse must be three years old and have tested out at 77 points at an IBOP or ABFP event. They must also average 7 points when walking and trotting. 15.2 hands is the minimum height.

Ster Predicate

The horse must be a minimum height of 15.1 hands and are examined at walk and trot while being led by the hand. Studs are tested at 2.5 years old, while mares and geldings are tested at three years old.

Sport Predicate

Horses must meet the predicate for dressage, obtaining five scores of 60% or higher at the 3rd level or above. Driving horses must achieve ten points from at least three separate FEI Test #9s.

Model Predicate

This category is just for the top grade Friesian mares. The mares must have produced offspring and be a minimum of 7 years old. They will be judged on sports aptitude and breed conformation characteristics. This honor is bestowed to a select few mares.

Preferent for Stallions

To be awarded preferent stallion status the quality of the studs offspring will be judged and tested for breeding-goal attributes. Stallions that have produced excellent progeny are given preferential treatment.

Is a Friesian a Warmblood Horse?

Warmblood horses are one kind of horse. Warmbloods are descended from a cross of cold-blood and hot-blood DNA. These are medium-sized horses that originated in Europe.

Friesian is classified as a warmblood. The original Friesian was crossed with the Spanish Andalusian breed, which included Arabian bloodlines. The Arabian horse is a warm-blooded animal.

Warmbloods are often calmer than hotbloods but not as listless as coldbloods. Warmbloods are horses that are between sizes and temperaments. They have become popular breeds in many equine sports.

Friesians are expensive to buy.

A Friesian horse will cost you around $30,000.00 on average. The cost of a Friesian varies on its age and level of training. Horses that are ready for competition may be substantially more expensive. You may see a list of currently available Friesians for sale on this page. https://www.equine.com/horses-for-sale?b=Friesian

What is a Friesian Keuring?

A Friesian Keuring is a Friesian breed judge. The term “keuring” really means “inspection” in Dutch. These judges are exclusively Dutch and determine which Friesians qualify for entry into the only certified pure-bred database for Friesians in the world. The Royal Friesian Studbook, or KFPS, is the name of the database.

Are Friesian Horses Fast?

Friesian horses are not fast. A fast horse may reach speeds of up to 55 miles per hour. Friesians are not recognized as sluggish horses, yet they are slow when compared to other warmblood horses. Click here to learn about the world’s fastest horse breeds.

Friesians are warmblood horses of medium stature. These are strong horses with heavy bones. They’ve been utilized as battle horses, riding horses, and carriage trotters. But they aren’t used for racing.

Are Friesians Horses Good Jumpers?

Friesians are not good jumpers. Friesians are suitable for leisure jumping and are easy to train; nevertheless, their bulk prohibits them from participation in higher-level jump contests.


I wouldn’t get a Friesian unless I had someone who was familiar with the breed working for me. Their genetic predispositions for medical disorders are a big problem, plus I live in a warm-weather climate, not a good place for Friesians.

The video below describes the features of Friesian horses in detail.


What are Friesians used for?

Friesian horses are used in various equine activities, including dressage, trail riding, and pulling carriages. If you want to understand more about how Friesian horses are utilized, you may be interested in this article: What Is the Purpose of Friesian Horses? 5 Applications That Will Astound You!

Related articles:

  • Patterns, Genetics, and Images of 12 Horse Coat Colors
  • Click here to read about Palomino horses

chestnut.filly scaled

I really adore animals! I’ve been around horses my whole life, but I’m continuously learning new things and appreciate sharing what I’ve learned with others. I have bought, sold, and broke racehorse yearlings. I’ve had some winning horses and others that didn’t make it as racehorses and had to be trained in other disciplines.

Related Questions

  • What is so special about Friesian horses?

    The Friesian is a warm-blooded breed that is eager to learn, clever, active, and gentle. They do not spook easily, and their desire to please makes them great for competition such as dressage: they are easy to train and suitable for a range of riders.

  • What breeds make a Friesian horse?

    The Equus robustus is the ancestor of the Friesian horse. Arabian blood was brought, mostly via Andalusian horses from Spain, around the 16th and 17th centuries, but perhaps earlier. This has resulted in their high knee movement, short head, and craning neck.

  • Are Friesian horses friendly?

    Every horse has its own peculiarities and history, but the Friesian disposition is normally amiable, easygoing, and eager to please.

  • Are Friesian horses rare?

    Frisian horses are a rather uncommon breed. Although considered to be fairly popular dressage and carriage horse, there are currently less than 1,000 Friesian horses registered in North America, according to some estimates.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *