Friesian movement

Date posted: 25th February 2011

Friesian movement, how it differs from other breeds and how it effects the rider.

Movement is powerful and purposeful in walk, trot and canter. The trot with some Friesians can be a little more bouncy than some other breeds. Those who do tend to be bouncy are the ster graded Friesians and this is because their movement is more exaggerated and elevated than the average Friesian, they are outstanding beauties and most of the sters seem to hover in the trot which takes a bit of getting used to when riding but is amazing to watch. With the average Friesian, although there will be a noticeable difference from the likes of the warmblood, Thoroughbreds etc it is not a dramatic difference while riding. The main difference is the ground which the Friesian can cover in the trot as they tend to have great extension and most can trot as fast if not faster than a normal horse in the canter. The best place for the rider to feel how much a Friesian can extend in the trot is out on a long stretch of road or field, this is when they can stretch right out and motor along.

The canter predominantly is very comfortable, more elevated and can be a little like being on a rocking horse. Some young Friesians (or older who have not been well trained) can struggle at the beginning to collect the canter. Because they often try to move from a big powerful trot where they really stride out, into a canter which would be big unbalanced strides. The trot has to be slowed right down when going into canter as the trot can be faster than canter. When they find their feet and learn to balance the canter, it is a wonderful controlled and comfortable gait. If riding a Friesian with a high arched neck, the rider can feel very secure onboard and this is emphasised in the canter.

Friesian horses are well known for their high knee action and bred for it which makes them more impressive pulling the carriage and gains them extra points in the dressage arena, not to mention great to watch while loose in the fields!

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