8 Things You Didn’t Know About the Friesian Horse


The Friesian horse is an elegant, graceful, and majestic animal that has captured the hearts of thousands of people worldwide. These stunning black horses are known for their high-stepping gait and gracefully arched necks. Though you may have learned some things about this magnificent animal, do you know these 8 facts?

1. Friesians Have A Really Short Lifespan

Sadly, these magnificent animals don’t really live long lives at all. The average lifespan of the friesian horse is only about 16 years making them one of the shortest lives horse breeds in the world.

While most horses are still able to be ridden, shown, and even jumped at the age of 20, this is really the longest these horses will ever live to be.

The reason for their limited lifespan is directly due to selective breeding. Breeders, hoping to create the perfect horse, reduced the breed’s bloodlines to just a few strains. Because of this, a lot of inbreeding took place in the development of the friesian breed. As a result, numerous health issues started to arise and the lifespan of these horses reduced dramatically due to the improper breeding techniques.

2. Friesians Can Sometimes Be Chestnut In Color

Though the most desired horses of this breed are black, there are some very rare occasions where chestnut horses are seen. These rare horses are known as ‘Fire Friesians’ and are prized for their red coats that are so rare in the world of Friesians.

3. At One Point, These Horses Almost Went Extinct!

During the 1900s, especially during the time period of the two world wars, Friesian horses became very near extinction. This is due to the drastic loss of horse numbers because of their use in the cavalry. Breeding was no longer a priority during this time so many breeds suffered catastrophic losses.

With the newfound realization that these horse were about to be lost, breeders went into action to preserve this powerful breed.

Today, the Friesian alone makes up around 7% of the entire horse population in the Netherlands, with that number still growing.

4. Friesian Horses Seen With White Markings Cannot Be Considered Purebred

Friesian horses are not allowed to have any face or leg markings on their bodies at all. Any horses that do have these white markings are not allowed to be considered purebred.

Pure black is the most desired color and appearance for these horses so breeders are ensuring that no outside blood that may bring other colors and markings is crossed into the Friesian bloodlines.

5. This Breed Has Been Used to Improve Many Other Breeds

Many horse breeds can credit the Friesian for helping to get them established as well as for giving them great looks. Some of the breeds that the Friesian helped to create and improve include the:

  • Fell
  • Dales
  • Morgan
  • Oldenburg
  • Shire
  • Clydesdale

6. Purebred Friesians Sell For Insane Sums of Money

Friesian horses are in high demand for their looks, temperament, versatility, and skill. Some Friesian foals sell for over $20,000 (US Dollars)!

With untrained foals going for those prices, you can only imagine what trained adult friesians sell for.

The average adult friesian horse sells for around $40,000 to $80,000 (US Dollars) depending on their age, gender, conformation, and level of training.

You can also purchase quality breeding stallions for around $200,000 (US Dollars).

These horses are expensive!!!

7. These Horses Are Very Gentle & Docile in Nature

Though they may be majestic and intimidating in appearance, Friesian horses are actually very docile, calm, and mellow in temperament and some can even be trusted with beginner riders.

8. They are Named After the Province that they Originated In

Believe it or not, the Friesian is from the province of Friesland in the Netherlands! These horses were first established and originated in this part of the world which is why they were named this.

Hailey Johnson

Horses have been my passion ever since I can remember. At school, I was known as that weird horse girl, and I would read horse encyclopedias for fun. Over the years since those days, I have only learned more. My experiences with horses of a variety of breeds have taught me a lot. Now I want to share what I know with you!

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