Europe - Netherlands

Photo supplied by Friesian Black Minx Stud - Victoria
Photo taken by Nadeen Davis

The Friesian horse is one of Europe's oldest breeds and originated in Friesland in the north of the Netherlands from an ancient coldblood heavy work horse. Eastern breeds and the Andalusian had an influence on the modern Friesian, which is well suited for farm work due to its ability to trot at speed and also useful for riding and as a harness horse. In the 19th century trotting became very popular and breeders tried to further improve the Friesian's already active high stepping trot. A horse of lighter build less suitable for farm work developed.
In 1879
the Friesch Paarden Stamboek was founded in the Netherlands to regulate the breeding and registry of the Friesian horse. At the start of World War I numbers were seriously low. Due to a shortage of fuel during World War II the breed was sought after again for farm work. The Friesian influenced the German Oldenburg horse and the British Fell and Dales ponies. Outside the Netherlands Friesian horses can be found in Germany, Scotland, South Africa and the United States.

excellent overall conformation
Head: fairly long head; short ears
Neck: long, elegantly arched
Shoulders: powerful, sloping
Body: compact, strong body; strong hindquarters
Legs: strong limbs; good bones; fair amount of feather
Feet: hard, sound
Mane and Tail: flowing mane; full, low set tail
Height: 15 to 16hh
Color: always black
Temperament: kind, friendly, alert
Qualities: strength; active, high stepping trot

Today the Friesian is a popular carriage horse pulling traditional high wheeled gigs in the Netherlands. The breed's noble, proud bearing makes it an ideal horse for ceremonial occasions.