The versatile Friesian

Date posted: 12th October 2013

“How versatile is the Friesian and what are they capable of”

The truth is, this breed is proving it’s self to be very versatile. What once was a breed used to pull ploughs on the farm, then became best known as carriage driving horses and now proving themselves as dressage, endurance and even jumping horses.

In the UK the Friesian is best known for the kind, gentle and loving nature and more often than not they are acquired to become a family friend and a more uncomplicated ride often for those who are returning to the saddle after years away from horses or for those who are trying to build confidence after unpleasant experiences with the more flighty breeds.Branda driven 006 Often when I am explaining to non horsey people what a Friesian horse is and looks like, more often than not the association with Harrods horses and the ‘big black ones used for funerals’ generally puts a clear picture in their minds. Friesians have been used for carriage driving for many years as they are powerfully built with high head carriage and super impressive knee action which makes for a very pretty picture in harness.



In more recent years the breed has become finer thus creating the more elegant modern Friesian who are far more capable of competing against the Warmbloods and other breeds more commonly seen in the dressage arena. Many of the baroques are also talented dressage horses but the modern build are increasingly more sought after for the sport. Cornelia dressage


Throughout the UK we are seeing more Friesians taking part in endurance rides, cross-country events as well as show jumping. The breed does vary greatly in build and mentality so when selecting a Friesian suitable for the activities in which you participate, we should be mindful of type. For example some of the light legged modern and slightly more hot headed Friesians will be better suited for jumping than the real old style heavy built Friesians.  One thing is for certain and that is the Friesian horse can no longer be referred to as ‘just a cart horse’ as they are quite clearly so much more!


Romeo jumping



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