The Friesian is a rare ancient breed of horse originating in the province of Friesland, in the Netherlands. They are black in color and are graceful and nimble for their size.
They are often recognized for their luscious black coat color and dramatically flowing mane and their good bone structure and body build!
Their use by humans can be traced back to the 4th century when they were used as war horses and had their own troops which were led to war!
Friesians were so common in use by the Dutch that they were brought to North America when Dutch settlers came to North America. But due to the massive popularity Friesians were crossbred with other horses and came close twice to extinction in North America until their reintroduction back in 1974.
They were mostly used in agricultural practices while slowly faded out and they became much used in recreational activities.
The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, UK, USA, South Africa
Fresian Interesting Facts
What type of animal is a Fresian?
The Friesian is a horse breed is a rare and beautiful species of horses that originated in Friesland province of The Netherlands. They are an all-black breed of equine and are the only indigenous horses existing in the Netherlands.
Friesian stallions are known for their distinct jet-black coat and their fast movement, with their smooth, elegant gaits adding to their beauty. At present, the Friesian stallion is among one of the most popular choices in Equestrian disciplines like saddle riding in America and Europe.
What class of animal does a Fresian belong to?
Friesian horses belong to the mammal class of animals.
The presence of mammary glands to feed their young one, along with three ear bones, fur or hair, and the neocortex (region of the brain) are the defining factors of mammals.
How many Friesians are there in the world?
As of 2020, there are more than 45,000 Friesian horses in the world as recorded in the Dutch Friesch Paarden Stamboek.
8,000 out of those 45,000 Friesians are currently living in North America.
Where does a Friesian live?
The Friesian horse breed is mainly found on farms, fields, pastures, and other similar types of manmade habitats.
What is a Friesian's habitat?
Friesians have been bred for domestic use ever since they were found and hence don't have a natural habitat that they can call home.
They are indigenous to the Friesland province of The Netherlands, which has a warm and temperate climate that is accompanied by a great deal of rainfall, even in the driest months.
With an ample amount of grass to graze on, or large amounts of hay to supplement poor grazing conditions, Friesians can adapt to a variety of habitats and thrive in the said habitats.
Who do Friesians live with?
Like most other horses, Friesians naturally live in herds and are never alone by choice. These factors drive the panic state behavior when horses get separated from each other.
How long does a Friesian live?
The Friesian horse breed has an average lifespan of 16 years, which is relatively low in comparison to other horse breeds that live from anywhere between 25 years to 30 years.
Friesian breeders tend to ignore this trait because it plays against these horses as a buyer will think twice before making an investment in this horse. Friesian breeders hence hide this premature death rate fact when selling them to potential buyers.
It takes a lot of years to train a dressage horse, which is the most common use for Friesian horses.
How do they reproduce?
Under normal circumstances, Friesians would reproduce when the male and female mate. After a gestation period of approximately 11 months, a single, live foal will be born.
But since Friesian horses have been bred under a controlled environment by breeders, their whole reproduction process is artificial. And is done by artificial insemination by their owners.
What is their conservation status?
The number of Friesian horses has been kept at a steady number with the careful breeding procedure.
Friesian horses have come close to extinction on multiple occasions in North America and Friesland province and due to their popularity in the use of harness and under saddle. Their numbers have grown with selective breeding and are sold to suit the needs of people across Friesland and the world.
Fresian Fun Facts
What do Friesians look like?
The Friesian, also known as Frisian, is a horse with a thick mane and tail, that is often wavy. The black Friesian horse is one that is most commonly found in the Netherlands.
There are two distinct conformation types, the 'extravagant' type, which has a more robust, classical Friesian build, and the much modern, 'Friesian sport horse' which is more shapely and finer-boned and can be mostly seen in show rings.
Their mane and tail along with their silky feather-like hair are mostly untrimmed as they are a beauty feature. They have long, arched necks that they carry proudly and have well-chiseled heads that along with their powerful, sloping shoulders, muscular bodies are the selling point of the Friesian horses.
How cute are they?
Friesian horse breeds are as cute as they can get! With its luscious coat of black hair and a sense of pride, the Friesian horse is one of the most beautiful looking horses that one can find in the world! They are people-friendly and civil, which only adds to their cuteness quotient!
How do they communicate?
Friesian horses communicate with other horses and humans through body language.
Friesian horses may communicate with humans through facial expression, oval cues, and body language. In certain cases, the horses will make certain movements that you can associate with actions they make when they are given treats or pets.
When it comes to communicating with other horses, Friesians will rely more on their eyes and ears, but vocal cues are still the most used type of communication to greet other horses and to warn of danger!
How big is a Friesian?
Friesian horse height depends on the gender as mares or geldings can grow up to 58-68 in (147.32- 172.72 cm) at the withers, in order to qualify as a top-notch pedigree used for riding and carriage pulling!
How fast can a Friesian run?
Friesian horses are not that fast compared to other faster species of horses. A fast horse can run up to 55mph (88.51 kph).
Friesians are not known as slow horses, but in comparison to other warm-blooded horse breeds, the Friesians are not fast.
How much does a Friesian weigh?
Friesians are consistent in their build and nature, with a strong, compact form, mares and stallions weigh the same and range from 1200- 1400 lb (544.31-635.02 kg)!
What are their male and female names of the species?
Male Friesian horses are called 'stallions' and females Friesian horses are called 'mares' much like all other breeds of horses.
What would you call a baby Friesian?
A baby Friesian much like other horse babies is called a 'foal'. Foals are born usually during the spring and with the ability to focus their eyes, walk, run and stand and nurse within an hour after birth.
A Friesian foal has legs that are as long as they will be when fully grown. They are born without teeth and get milk teeth during the first six months of their life, and will grow adult teeth when they reach the age of six years.
What do they eat?
Like most horse breeds, the Friesian eats good quality grass hay and follows the general horse feeding rule of thumb of an average horse in minimal work.
A Friesian horse can be given a boost of energy by feeding them a mix of grains accompanied by some trace minerals or salt blocks with enough water.
Remember to not underfeed them. Take notice of their weight and not the physical body physique as it may be deceiving.
Are they dangerous?
The Friesian breed is not dangerous as they are one of the most civil and gentle of the horse breed. But, to tame a young Friesian horse is more of a challenge to handle than the adults. As the young require an experienced handler to keep their stubbornness and overall pushiness under control. This is because the young of the Friesian breed doesn't have a concept of personal space it should give to humans or other horses.
If a young Friesian horse was to be left to its own devices with an inexperienced handler, the young horse is more than likely to cause trouble for the handler. This might including trying to push over a handler, drag them over to their food, and generally try to control the situation as it unfolds around them!
Would they make a good pet?
Yes, the Friesian breed makes good pets as they are strong, loyal, cheerful, and calm!
Friesian breeds are known to be people-oriented and are willing to please their owners and try to develop a strong bond with them!
They are also smart and gentle and are best suited to people who have some level of experience working with horses.
The Friesian horse has a well-defined personality and a cool temperament. As they are gentle and serene, they are most commonly used to pull light carriages or farm carts. It is such a well sought-after horse that to this day, the Friesian horse remains as one of the most popular horses for general riding and driving competitions!
Did you know...
The Friesian breed were war horses in the Crusades, with crossbreeding with the Eastern Arabian Friesian cross horses, they became much lighter in stature.
Purebred Friesian horses cannot be white. A white Friesian horse that was shown at Equitana was actually 25% Arabian and 75% Friesian!
Although Friesians are known as solid black beauties, these horses are sometimes born with chestnut color. Chestnut stallions cannot be registered in the Friesian Studbook, but sometimes mares and geldings are allowed. In 1990, the Friesch Paarden Stamboek (Friesian Studbook) tried to breed out the chestnut color!
A Friesian Keuring is a judge of the Friesian breed, the word 'keuring' means inspection in Dutch. The panel of judges are Dutch and determine which Friesians qualify for entry into the certified purebred database, which is known as the Royal Friesian Studbook.
Friesians first came to America in the 17th century when the Dutch settlers came to the area now known as New York, and during the Dutch occupation, it was called New Amsterdam. Friesians were imported from the Netherlands for various purposes.
Friesians are believed to be ancestors of the American Morgan breeds of horse. The influence of Friesians has not been proved, but the gait, conformation, and general disposition of the horse breed has a striking resemblance.
Friesians are expensive! A Friesian horse price range can be anywhere between $3000 - $30,000 USD. And since stallions are more valued, studbook-approved stallions can cost from $25,000 - $50,000 USD. The Friesian heritage horse can get so expensive because they are almost rare to find.
Friesians almost went extinct in North America due to large-scale cross-breeding, as these breeds are excellent riding and carriage pulling horses. They were reintroduced to North America in 1974.
What is a Friesian's Sjess?
When a Friesian horse is used to pull carriages, they are given their very own unique carriage. This carriage is known as a 'Sjess', and is essentially a type of lounge-style chair on wheels.
Each carriage is registered traditionally, sometimes to the Friesian horse itself, and each carriage is unique in its own way to the specific Friesian horse that pulls it! These carriages are complexly detailed and have wheels that are 5-ft high or higher and have 14 spokes in the wheel.
What is special about a Friesian's hooves?
The Friesian is one of the few purebred horses that have feathers. 'Feathering' is when the hooves of a Friesian horse are covered with long hair and are traditionally kept untrimmed. Sadly, this can cause a higher risk of skin issues underneath the hooves. Rain rot is one such skin issue that is caused by this untrimmed hair.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including Przewalski's horse, or zorse.
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