PetMD Editorial
By PetMD Editorial on Dec. 6, 2009

Although it originated in Holland, the Friesian horse has existed for over 100 years in Europe. It has been used for riding and to improve other horse breeds.


Physical Characteristics


The Fresian horse has a solid, strong body, and magnificent posture. Its head is elongated with a deep nasal cavity and alert ears. A breed with refined elegance, the Fresian has brilliant eyes, sturdy legs, and a long, rich mane and tail. It measures about 15 to 16 hands high (60-64 inches, 152-163 centimeters) and weighs between 1200 and 1500 pounds. Most Friesian horses have a lustruous black coat, though other colors may be seen. 


Personality and Temperament


The Friesian horse has a distinct personality and temperament. Gentle and serene, it is commonly used to pull light farm carts or carriages. In fact, its posture and disposition are so highly sought after that it remains one of the most popular horses for general riding and driving competitions. 




In order to preserve the purity of the Friesian breed, they are classified into those with high quality and those without. The best purebreds are tagged and separated to ensure the enhancement of future generations. These practices assure that the Friesian breed will remain refined, and first-class animals will be produced.


History and Background


There are many records which provide proof of the existence of the Friesian even in primitive times. Numerous portraits of this horse exist in caves in Holland, particularly Friesland (a province north of the Netherlands) and Germany. The Friesian originated from the Equus Robustus, which means the "big horse." These horses were the first that were crossed with the Andalusians, an Iberian purebred.


It is noted in history that the Friesian has been used by royalty such as King Louis III of Hungary and Prince George William of Prussia. Many of these horses were used during times of war because of their great courage and speed. They have also been used to pull royal carriages from medieval times up to the present day, due to their elegance.

Help us make PetMD better

Was this article helpful?

Get Instant Vet Help Via Chat or Video. Connect with a Vet. Chewy Health