The Friesian horse originated in Friesland, a province of the Netherlands (Holland) and is the only horse native to Holland. They were first imported to North America in the 17th Century and the breed was almost lost in North America due to crossbreeding.
Through the efforts of the KFPS, which is the mother registry in Holland, the purity of the breed was restored in Europe and then reintroduced to North America in 1974. From that point on no cross breeding was allowed.
The Friesian Horse Association of North America (FHANA) is the sister registry here in North America to the KFPS. Though the KFPS supervises the maintenance of the breed throughout the world, FHANA monitors the Friesians here in North America and reports to the KFPS. Due to the strict breeding regulations of this breed there are less then 100 approved breeding stallions in the world and approximately 20 here in North America. Therefore purebred Friesians are considered somewhat of a rarity here.
Every year there is judging, or keurings held at sites around North America and the judges are normally flown in from Holland to review the presented horses with very strict grading criteria. They look at the horse’s conformation and movement within the walk and trot. 60% of the score is based on movement while 40% is based on confirmation.
Generally a horse will attend a keuring as a weanling and again at 3 years of age, however, a horse may attend at any age. They are rated and the highest quality horses receive “premiums” or “premie”. The very best are 1st premie, then 2nd premie then 3rd premie and then no premie. When the horse is 3 or more years old it can be judged additionally for a “ster” (star) status which is considered a prime example of the breed as only 10% of all Friesians achieve this status. The best quality mares at 7 years and older may be judged on movement, conformation and performance (driving, dressage, riding) over the course of two years and could achieve a “model” rating.
Only the very best are capable of achieving this rating. A mare may also achieve “preferent” rating based on the quality of her offspring. If four of her foals receive a ster rating then the mare is called preferent. It is possible for a mare to produce ster quality offspring with out making ster herself. An “approved” stallion is approved for breeding purposes and it is extremely difficult for a stallion to become approved. Less then 1% of all FPS/FHANA registered stallions are approved for breeding.
The Friesian is considered to be a warm blooded horse. They are always black and no white markings are allowed with the exception of a small white star on the forehead. They are also famous for their long, heavy manes and tails and abundant fetlock hair. The average height of a Friesian horse is 15.2 hands and the average weight is about 1300+ pounds. They have natural high knee action, small heads and long arching necks. The three main body types are as follows: Modern Style or ‘Sporthorse’ is considered to be the Light build; The Baroque Style is considered to be the Medium build; and the Old Classical Style is considered to be the Heavy build.
Friesians can be used in most disciplines such as Dressage, Driving, Western, trail horses, for light farm work and as family horses. Their gates are large and thrusting yet remain comfortable. Here at Black Pearl Friesians we breed the Modern Style more suitable for Dressage mounts. Friesians are known as the Black Gem (pearl) of Friesland. They have a very kind and willing temperament. They are easily trained due to their intelligence, ability to retain information and readiness to please and perform.
The Friesians are very loyal to their owners and will follow them through scary situations based on their trust alone. They tend to bond with humans more then they will with other horses. We are members in good standing with FHANA/FPS and the GLFHA (Great Lakes Friesian Horse Association). Please feel free to visit the following websites for more detailed information regarding this extraordinary breed of horse.
Jildou fan e Boppelanned Model Sport Elite was Reserve Champion.
Thorben 466 Sport Elite
I was the recipient of the 2018 FHANA Dressage Performance Award. Here is the video they put together for me!
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