Horse breeds: Friesian horse
The black beauty of Friesland. The long flowing mane, the beautiful socks and the proud black attitude is what most people first think of a Friesian horse. The Frisian is already a fairly old breed, famous worldwide for its appearance, an active character and can be used for many things.
The Frisian horse was present in that region already 3000 years ago. The Romans already thought he was strong and muscular, but also ugly, because the Frisian was then much coarser, much more of an agricultural horse, than he is today. It was a strong workhorse that could be fed soberly and because the Romans appreciated the breed, despite its ugliness, they also transported it to Great Britain, where they laid the foundation of the English Fell pony and Dales pony. In the Middle Ages it was used to carry knights. In the 16th century it was crossed with Andalusians, giving the Friesian horse a more luxurious and more baroque appearance. After this he was also used for the carriage on luxury occasions.
In the 19th century he was bred as a trotting horse for the trotting track, he became more and more luxurious until it was almost no longer recognizable as a stately Frisian. At that time, the breed had a great influence on almost all trotter breeds in the world. The breed club, the KHPS, was founded in 1879, making it the oldest breed club in the Netherlands. Yet things went wrong with the breed, just before the First World War (1913) the breed was almost extinct (three stallions and a few mares were still alive). The breed has been restored through crossings with Oldenburgers. This breed benefited from the Second World War, when petrol became scarce, the heavier Frisian was put back into use as a draft horse. He was bred heavier for a longer period of time, while from about 2000 the Frisian was bred more and more sportily.
As mentioned, the Frisian is a black horse, although occasionally a fox foal is born. It is a horse with a short, high set, thick neck, strong and straight shoulders, making it a horse with a lot of knee action and in general a lot of show in its gaits, it is selected on a proud posture. They have a short, soft back but a muscular hindquarters. They have thick long bones with fetlocked over the hoof and thick heavy (black) mane and tail, often wavy and they have a relatively slender head, giving them the appearance of a fairytale horse. They are between 1.50 and 1.70 m high. They have a very good trot and an acceptable walk. Their canter is not always good. Due to the high set short neck, a lot of Frisians have the tendency to walk behind the perpendicular when they are used for dressage, the so-called false kink or roll up.
The Friesian horse generally has a great character. Depending on the type to which they belong, they are more cold-blooded (heavy type) or hot-headed (slender type) animal, but they are rarely hypersensitive, making them nice horses to hold in the hand. They are sometimes a bit stiff, especially the heavier type, so that a reaction is sometimes slightly delayed, but this also makes them less scary. They are friendly, willing and enthusiastic horses without giving you the feeling of becoming uncontrollable. The average Friesian horse is one that you dare to let a small child ride.
Purposes of use
The Friesian is a versatile horse that has traditionally been used both as a riding horse and as a plow horse. Since he has become more slender in build, actual plowing on the clay is no longer an option, sandy soils are still possible, but in the rig it fits best for the carriage or the wagon, then he is still a very popular animal because of his strength, pride and character. He is also suitable as a circus horse because of his charisma, intelligence and cooperation.
But it is also very versatile under saddle. He likes to jump, but is often not able to do this at competition level (1.00m and higher), is cool enough for an outdoor ride, but also has a good build and gaits for dressage. It is a powerful but compact horse, which means that the collection often goes better than the broadening, yet they often turn well up to the top of the basic sport (Z2). It is less suitable for long distances (endurance), it is too heavy built for that.