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Information on Friesians

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    History

    • Friesians are perhaps one of Europe's oldest warmblood breeds, dating back to approximately 1,000 B.C. in the area that is now the Netherlands. These early horses were large in size and more draft-like in appearance. Arab blood was introduced into this breed in the 1500s by crossing them with Andalusians. This gave them a more refined look, finer bone and higher knee action. According to the Friesian Breed Information website, they have provided the foundation blood for many European breeds including the Shire, Dutch Warmbloods, Gelderlander and Holsteiners.

    Breed Characteristics

    • Today's Friesians are always black with only a small star on the forehead permitted. Usually ranging in size from 15.2 to 16 hands, their conformation includes a fine head, short ears and upright neck having a marked arch. Their long sloping shoulder, rounded withers and sloping croup give them a powerful stride with high steps that are almost "springy." They are also known for their long thick mane, tail and forelock as well as the long "feathers" on their legs.

    Uses

    Breed Associations

    • Since the earliest Friesians originated in the Netherlands, all Dutch Friesians are registered to the queen of Holland. In this country two breed associations--the Friesian Heritage Horse and Sporthorse International Registry and the Friesian Horse Society--register this breed. A third organization, the International Friesian Show Horse Association, which is located in California, promotes competition for these horses.

    Today's Friesians

    • With only an estimated 2,000 Friesians in the United States, their prices have remained high even in economically challenged times. Weanlings and yearlings may cost from $7,000 to $12,000 while mares may range from $14,000 to $100,000 depending on age and quality, as of 2010. The cost of a well trained gelding is in the range of $17,000 to $30,000. It is not uncommon for proven stallions to be in the $200,000 to $600,000 range.

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