Home / Netherlands Horses / Friesian Horse

By Smith Northam

Last updated: 3rd June 2021

Friesian Horse


Smith Northam
Last updated: 3rd June 2021

The Friesian Horse is an all-black equine breed that developed in The Netherlands. This horse is one of the only indigenous horses existing in the country and is known for its large size, considerably fast movement, and smooth, elegant gaits. At present, the Friesian Horse is a popular choice in several European and American Equestrian disciplines like dressage and saddle riding.

Friesian Horse Pictures

Quick Information

Also Known As Frizian Horse
Behavioral Characteristics Honest, noble, willing, intelligent
Physical Traits The stature is large with a magnificent head, with the head being set high on an arched neck; the eyes are bright and intelligent; the strong back and slanting shoulder are muscular, while the legs are muscled, but lean and feathered with well-developed feet; the mane and tail are long and flowing
Coat Colors Black
Height/Size 15 to 17 hands (60 to 68 inches or, 152 to 173 cm) (adult)
Weight 1450 pounds approx. (heavy)
Common Uses Driving, general riding, show, and performances, agricultural works
Health Problems Generally healthy (no breed-specific diseases)
Type Sports horse, Show horse, Working horse, Transport
Blood Type Warm
Popular Traits Great speed, versatile, powerful and can draw and carry heavy weights, easily trainable, has smooth gaits
Feeding/Diet General horse diet including hay, grass, grains, etc.
Country of Origin Netherlands
Associations and Registries The Friesian Horse Association of North America
The Friesian Horse Society

Video: Friesian Horses for Riding, Working & Show

History and Development

It was during the Middle Ages that the Friesians developed in the Netherlands. During the Early- and the High-Middle Ages, they had been extensively used as war horses because of their height and speed. During the war, they were able to carry the knights on their backs in full armor. Records suggest that these horses were used as military mounts even in 150 A.D.

During the 18th and the 19th centuries, the Friesians were restricted only to the region of Friesland, where the Dutch people would breed them mostly as trotters. With the course of time, they began to be used for light draft works. However, by the end of the World War II, the population of this began to fall dramatically, almost facing extinction throughout the continent of Europe since there was a decline in the demand for working horses.

Many researchers believe that the Friesian Horse served as the foundation breed of the Old English Black Horse, as well as the Russian Orlov and American Trotting Horse in the latter years.

Interesting Facts

  • In the UK, the Friesian Horse is mostly famous as the Belgian Black Horse.

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