History of the Friesian Horse


Find out where the Friesian horse originates from...

History of the Friesian Horse
Friesian horses are best known for their stunning black coat, flowing thick mane and tail and their flashy movement

Friesian horses are best known for their stunning black coat, flowing thick mane and tail and their flashy movement.  They are not the oldest breed of horse but it is thought that they are descendants from the primitive Forest Horse and there is evidence that the Friesian horse may have existed as far back as 1000BC. 

Developed in Friesland which is an island off the coast of the Netherlands, they carried both Friesian and German knights during the crusades. Their size made them ideal horse’s to carry a knight in full armour.  During this time it was brought into contact with Eastern horses which eventually lightened the breed.  The Friesian also influenced the development of many other breeds including the Fell, Dale, Shire and Oldenburger.

In the 1800’s, the Friesian was bred to be lighter and faster for trotting but this did lead to some ‘inferior stock’ and even a few close calls with breed extinction.

Purebred Friesians today are in high demand and with their powerful structure and showy strides they often excel in dressage competitions.  They also remain popular as carriage horses and with their high-stepping action they are very impressive to watch.

 

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