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Are Friesians Draft Horses

author
David Lawrence
• Tuesday, 05 January, 2021
• 8 min read

Frisian housemother names Belgian Black (UK)Country of originNetherlandsTraitsHeight 15 to 17 hands (60 to 68 inches, 152 to 173 cm) ColourBlackDistinguishing featuresBlack, powerfully muscled, agile with elegant action, thick mane and tail, feather on lower legs. Breed standards The Frisian breed is most often recognized by its black coat color, however, color alone is not the only distinguishing characteristic; Frisians are occasionally chestnut as some bloodlines do carry the “red” ('e”) gene.

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Contents

Frisians rarely have white markings of any kind; most registries allow only a small star on the forehead for purebred registration. To be accepted as breeding stock by the FPS studbook (Fries ch Paar den Stable), a stallion must pass a rigorous approval process.

However, conformation type is considered less important than correct movement. The chestnut color is generally not accepted for registration for stallions, though it is sometimes allowed for mares and geldings.

However, discoloration from old injuries or a black coat with fading from the sun is not penalized. The Fries ch Paar den Stable began to attempt breeding out the chestnut color in 1990, and today stallions with genetic testing indicating the presence of the chestnut or “red” gene, even if heterozygous and masked by black color, are not allowed registration with the FPS.

The American Frisian Association, which is not affiliated to the Fps, allows horses with white markings and/or chestnut color to be registered if purebred parentage can be proven. There are four genetic disorders acknowledged by the industry that may affect horses of Frisian breeding: dwarfism, hydrocephalus, a tendency for aortic rupture, and mega esophagus.

The Frisian is also among several breeds that may develop equine polysaccharide storage myopathy. Approximately 0.25% of Frisians are affected by dwarfism, which results in horses with a normal-sized head, a broader chest than normal, an abnormally long back and very short limbs.

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Additionally, the breed has a higher-than-usual rate of digestive system disorders, and a greater tendency to have insect bite hypersensitivity. Frisian mares have a very high 54% rate of retained placenta after foaling.

Some normal-sized Frisians also have a propensity toward tendon and ligament laxity which may or may not be associated with dwarfism. The relatively small gene pool and inbreeding are thought to be factors behind most of these disorders.

The Frisian originates in the province of Friesland in the northern Netherlands, where there is evidence of thousands of years of horse populations. Statue honoring the 100th anniversary of the modern Frisian studbooks far back in history as the 4th century there are mentions of Frisian troops which rode their own horses.

One of the most well-known sources of this was by an English writer named Anthony Dent who wrote about the Frisian mounted troops in Carlisle. Dent, amongst others, wrote that the Frisian horse was the ancestor of both the British Shire, and the Fell pony.

Many of the illustrations found depict knights riding horses which resembled the breed, with one of the most famous examples being William the Conqueror. These ancestors of the modern Frisians were used in medieval times to carry knights to battle.

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In the 12th and 13th centuries, some eastern horses of crusaders were mated with Frisian stock. During the 16th and 17th centuries, when the Netherlands were briefly linked with Spain, there was less demand for heavy war horses, as battle arms changed and became lighter.

The Emperor Charles (reigned 1516 -56) continued Spanish expansion into the Netherlands, which had its Frisian warhorse, noted by Genius and used on the continent and in Britain in Roman times. Even with infusions of Spanish blood during the sixteenth century, it retained its indigenous characteristics, taking the best from both breeds.

The Frisian is mentioned in 16th and 17th century works as a courageous horse eminently suitable for war, lacking the volatility of some breeds or the phlegm of very heavy ones. Generally black, the Frisian was around 15hh with strong, Bobby conformation, but with a deal more elegance and quality.

The noted gait was a smooth trot coming from powerful quarters. The Frisian may have been used as foundation stock for such breeds as the Dole Gudbrandsdal, the Norfolk Trotter (ancestor of the Hackney), and the Morgan.

In the 1800s, the Frisian was bred to be lighter and faster for trotting, but this led to what some owners and breeders regarded as inferior stock, so a movement to return to pure blood stock took place at the end of the 19th century. Frisian horses are sometimes referred to as “Belgian Blacks”A studbook society was founded in 1879 by Frisian farmers and landowners who had gathered to found the Fries Dundee Stable (FRS) The Paardenstamboek (“horse stud book”) was published in 1880 and initially registered both Frisian horses and a group of heavy warm blood breeds, including Ostfriesen and Alt-Oldenburgers, collectively known as “Bovenlanders”.

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At the time, the Frisian horse was declining in numbers, and was being replaced by the more fashionable Bovenlanders, both directly, and by crossbreeding Bovenlander stallions on Frisian mares. This had already virtually exterminated the pure Frisian in significant parts of the province in 1879, which made the inclusion of Bovenlanders necessary.

The last draft function performed by Frisians on a significant scale was on farms that raised dairy cattle. World War II slowed the process of displacement, allowing the population and popularity of the breed to rebound.

Important in the initial stage of the recovery of the breed was due to the family owned Circus Strassburger, who, having fled Nazi Germany for the Low Countries, discovered the show qualities of the breed and demonstrated its abilities outside its local breeding area during and after the Nazi occupation As use in agricultural pursuits declined, the Frisian became popular for recreational uses.

The Frisian horse today is used both in harness and under saddle, particularly in the discipline of dressage. In harness, they are used for competitive and recreational driving, both singly and in teams.

A traditional carriage seen in some events designed for Frisian horses is a high-wheeled cart called a sees. Frisians are also used in ventures such as pulling vintage carriages at assorted ceremonial events.

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Because of their color and striking appearance, Frisian horses are a popular breed in movies and television, particularly in historic and fantasy dramas. They are viewed as calm in the face of the activity associated with filmmaking, but also elegant on-camera.

M. |title=The Frisian horse breed: A clinical challenge to the equine veterinarian? A. Using ^ Frieze stamhengsten deal I, E. Dijkstra (citation from Dr. Courts) ^ “The Frisian Horse, a time-honoured utility breed”.

^ Houma (1988) He Frieze Paar, p 25 ^ a b c History of the Frisian Horse. Wikimedia Commons has media related to Frisian horse.

Frisian horses are majestic creatures, with long flowing manes and tails. Frisian horses are used for dressage, trail riding, and pulling carriages.

If you’re interested in checking out some Frisian horse art or other memorabilia, you can find them by clicking here. Ancient text from the 4th-century document warriors mounted on Frisian stallions.

friesian horse shire cross crosses draft horses
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Their use as a battle steed continued for centuries, and they were the chosen horse of knights during the crusades. The original massive bodied Frisian was crossed with Arabians in the 15th century, which resulted in a lighter horse with more athleticism and endurance.

During the latter part of the 19th century, Frisians were used to pull carriages and ridden in trotting races. The sport Frisian stallion Adel 357, competed in the International Grand Prix.

Conformation: An ideal dressage horse has an “uphill” appearance and portrays strength, balance, and symmetry. A proper dressage horse is proportionate when looking at the length of the front end, back, and hindquarter.

As the horse progresses in his training, any conformation defects will hamper his development. On my most recent ride, a stray dog charged our group, and my horse didn’t blink.

Riding a horse that you are confident won’t bolt when surprised is extremely comforting. A good trail horse needs to be surefooted and has healthy, sturdy feet.

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When riding, you may elect to go off the beaten path and pursue a more rugged terrain. You don’t want to be on the back of a horse with unsound feet during a trail ride.

Frisians transported knights to distant battles across Europe in past centuries. They have the right temperament, conformation, and track record to distinguish their breed as good trail riding partners.

Before the advent of the industrial revolution, carriage horses were the typical mode of transportation for families. A quality carriage horse must have a calm disposition, be physically strong, and have a hardy conformation and spaciousness of gait.

These traits are present in the Frisian horse breed; also, they possess a stunning visual quality with their flowing mane, black coloring, and high knee action. Frisian horses with their gleaming ebony coats, long feathers, and flowing mane are the desired breed in film and TV, especially for historical and fantasy dramas.

The following is a partial list of films and television shows with Frisian horses : Catching Fire, the second film of the Hunger Games trilogy, you can see Frisians.

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Time Machine, a 2002 remake of HG Wells classic starring Guy Pierce, included Frisians in a futuristic role. Kate & Leopold, An English Duke, played by Hugh Jackman, is transported from 1876 to modern-day New York.

Today Frisians are used for recreation, breeding, equine sports and often multiple combinations of these activities. Baroque Frisians are built for driving and gained popularity in the latter part of the 18th century.

The Baroque type of Frisian has high knee action and a sturdy bone structure covered with thick muscle. Of course, they have lush manes and tails with heavy feathering of their lower legs.

These horses are specifically bred to compete in equine evening sports. Frisian Sport horses can be any equine color and their sizes vary from a light sport horse to a heavy baroque build.

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Sources
1 www.saddlesdirect.co.uk - https://www.saddlesdirect.co.uk/why-the-anatomical-girth-will-help-your-saddle-fit/
2 www.horseandrideruk.com - https://www.horseandrideruk.com/gear-guide/tack/girths/tried-and-tested/
3 www.prolitepads.com - https://www.prolitepads.com/girth-fitting-information
4 www.derbyhousestore.com - https://www.derbyhousestore.com/Girths/dhdsl12928.htm