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About Friesians

BRIEF HISTORY

The Friesian horse originates from and was developed in Friesland, a Province of the Netherlands, situated in the Northwest of Europe. It descended from Equus Robustus (big horse) and during the middle ages were the coveted warhorses of knights during the Crusades because of their strength and agility. In times of peace the Friesian was used on the farm and in towns.

During the 16th and 17th centuries Spanish stallions were left on the battlefield during the Thirty Years War between the Spanish and Dutch. These Andalusian stallions were bred with Friesian mares. This cross gave the Friesian horse higher kneed action, an arching neck, and relatively small head. Friesians were originally introduced to North America during the seventeenth century.

During the early 1800's, the Friesian was bred to be lighter and faster to compete in trotting races across Europe. Friesians are light on their feet and very intelligent. However, the breed was totally lost in North America due to crossbreeding and nearly went extinct in Europe at the end of World War I in spite of its long history. 

With only one stallion and a few mares left in the breed, a small group from Friesland began to restore the bred to its original form resulting in an increase in the number of Friesians and they ensured that this breed would survive extinction. After regaining popularity in it's native Friesland, Friesians soon became part of the international driving scene. This created a strong revival of the breed.

In 1974 the Friesian was reintroduced to North America. In order to maintain the standards and purity of the breed as established by the parent organization in the Netherlands, the KFPS - Koninklijke Vereniging "Het Friesch Paarden-Stamboek", which was founded in 1879 and is the European Union herd book of the Friesian horse. It is and is the oldest, most controlled, and with the strictest guidelines in the world. The KFPS formed  the Friesian Horse Association of North America (FHANA) as a KFPS Affiliate. Currently there are more than 60,000 Friesians registered worldwide. These are still low numbers for an entire breed but the population continues to grow as more and more people discover the beautiful, magnificent and noble Friesian horse.

 

CHARACTERISTICS & USES

Friesian Horses are black and have a long flowing tail, mane, and feathered fetlocks. There are three types of Friesian builds. The Baroque, Classic and Modern. The Friesian is an all around, very versatile horse with an impressive appearance. Heads will turn when Friesians are nearby. It is excellent as a carriage horse from single to four-in-hand (or more); for pleasure or combined driving. Friesians also provide a beautiful ride in many different disciplines: dressage, saddle seat, western, trails, etc. The gentle and willing nature of the Friesian makes for easy and versatile training. Their magnificent appearance and animated knee action of their natural gait during the trot provides a noble presence in shows, parades or dressage.

Friesians are becoming more and more common in the dressage arena. They have done remarkably well in this sport considering the small number of Friesians who compete in dressage. However, the Friesian hasn't been bred as a jumping horse even though some owners do jump their horse. They are usually the crowd favorites in shows because of both their natural beauty, showiness, and achievements. 

 

TEMPERAMENT & APPEARANCE

Friesians are often lovingly called "pocket ponies" or "puppies" when referring to the breed. This is due to their reputation for having an excellent temperament and obvious love for their owners. They are very people friendly and tend to be interested in what you're doing and will follow you around just like your puppy might. Each horse has its own unique personality, characteristics and physical appearance. They are also very intelligent and lively.  The Friesian is sweet, gentle and has an honest attitude. It is known for its willingness to work which helps it excel in sport.

A jet black coat, a luxurious long mane, tail, and fetlocks that are thick wavy and long, a small head, high stepping action in the trot and proud carriage are the qualities that make the Friesian unlike any other breed. Their striking physical appearance makes them a wonder to behold. It is hard to take your eyes off of a Friesian in action.

On average, Friesians range in height from 15.3 to 16.2 hands but occasionally you will find one that is 17+ hands. They are heavy horses with an adult weight averaging between 1100 to 1300 pounds but with the new breeding to create a more modern horse, they are becoming lighter and more suitable for sport. Their bodies are compact and barreled with sturdy legs, their heads are long and refined and their ears small and alert. 

 

KFPS REGISTRATION

The original European Union recognized Dutch studbook registry, founded in 1879, is the KFPS - Koninklijke Vereniging "Het Friesch Paarden-Stamboek" and the North American office is called FHANA (Friesian Horse Association of North America). The majority of the world's Friesian population is registered with the KFPS and the registry carefully monitors the breeding of Friesians and evaluates and grades all registered horses to encourage the ideal breeding standard of the Friesian horse.

Judges from the Netherlands travel to North America yearly in the Fall in order to conduct a keuring (judging inspection) of new foals and registered Friesians. Stallions must be approved for breeding in order for their offspring to be registered in the main Studbook. This is a long, complicated, and expensive process and out of the 2000 colts born each year only five may pass the requirements for conditional approval. Once the stallions offspring reach adulthood, they are tested to demonstrate whether or not the stallion is making a positive impact upon the breed. If so, they may receive permanent approval based on offspring, or if not, his approval is withdrawn.

During the keuring, foals may receive a first, second or third premium or no premium at all when they are registered in the Foalbook. After they are judged on confirmation and movement, a microchip is implanted underneath their skin for permanent identification. The chip number is included on the  registration papers. More recently, FHANA has allowed foals to be microchipped prior to the keuring.

When these foals reach adulthood (usually at 3 years old), they are judged again for entry into the breeding studbook. Mares and stallions may receive a premium and those who receive a first or second premium are considered Ster (Star) based upon their movement and confirmation. Geldings are also judged but they go into the gelding book because they're not breeding stock. Only the very best horses make Ster. First premium Ster mares may then try for the classification of Crown/Kroon Predicate and then Model. Only the very, very best of the Ster mares will ever receive this classification. Mares must go through rigorous performance testing themselves and have superior quality offspring with outstanding athletic ability. The designation Model means that they are a model representation of the Friesian horse and a standard for the breed. To see the full KFPS registration rules please visit http://FHANA.com.

 

PURCHASING YOUR FRIESIAN

Do you have Friesian Fever? A burning desire to own one of these majestic and noble horses? At Top Hat Friesians & Barock Pintos we'd be happy to help you.

 

TOP HAT FRIESIANS & BAROCK PINTOS

North Palm Beach, Florida

Email: info @ tophatfriesians.com 

Phone / Text Messages: 561-475-2021 

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