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The first mentions of the Friesian horse breed are found in the chronicles of the 13th century. But everyone wants their national breed of animals to lead a pedigree almost from the origin of life on the planet. Therefore, in Dutch sources one can find information that the first Friesian horses appeared in Friesland 3 thousand years ago. And the Romans who conquered the country appreciated the breed, taking it with them to the British Isles.
If you descend from heaven to earth, you will find that the Friesian horse really was in demand. But not in the time of the Romans, but in the Early and Middle Ages. At this time, Frisian horses could carry knights. Often they served as war horses for the bollards. In the Late Middle Ages a more powerful horse was required and the Friesian horses almost died out for the first time. But the breed was able to survive by increasing in size and changing its purpose from a fighting knight horse to a draft horse with an extremely high wrist lift at a trot.
During the Spanish conquest of the Netherlands, the Friesian horses were influenced by the Iberian breeds. Even today, this influence is clearly visible in the Iberian profile of the Friesian head and the high neck outlet.
The Friesian horses are believed to have had a major influence on the British Fell and Dole pony breeds. Not during the time of the Romans, of course, but much later. These breeds are really similar to Miniature Friesians, but with a larger palette of colors.
With the development of the automotive industry, the Friesian horse for the second time ceased to be in demand and began to die out. Enthusiastic breeders managed to save and publicize the breed, but they had to start reorienting the Friesian horse from harness to riding. But the Friesians' ability to walk in a sled remained. The Dutch are proud of their breed and even organize special holidays and private exhibitions in honor of it.
It is possible that this name is associated with the national Dutch breed.
Modern types of Friezes
Dutch breeders did not set themselves the goal of necessarily preserving the type, they preferred to keep the characteristic features of the Friesian breed, but slightly change the exterior in order to be able to sell horses to amateurs.
Due to the fact that dressage today is divided into two directions: "classic" and sports, Dutch breeders have directed their efforts to develop lines in the Friesian breed suitable for these types of dressage.
The "old" type was named Baroque - baroque. Similarly, all horses are designated, having a type suitable for the dressage variety of the Renaissance. Such horses are distinguished by a small step, a high, relatively short neck, a very short but wide body, and short stature. A striking example of the Baroque breed is the Andalusian horse.
The "sports" type requires freer movements, lighter bones and larger stature.
If we compare the photo of the Friesian horse of the "old" and "sporty" types, the difference will be clearly noticeable.
Modern sports type.
"Baroque" is lower, "shaggy", with a straighter shoulder. Usually the height of the old-type horse is 147-160 cm. The height of the sporty type is 160-170 cm. There are much fewer friezes on the pasterns. Sometimes there are only "brushes" that are common for other breeds.
The young stallion is 164 cm tall and there are almost no friezes yet. Very thick and long hair on his legs will not be.
The Russian pedigree horse farm "Kartsevo", which breeds the Friesian breed, initially purchased a sports type that allows performing modern elements of dressage. The video shows a pair of Friesian horses from Kartsevo during the show.
In modern driving, the Friesians are unlikely to outperform the half-bred breeds, but in national closed competitions, Friesian horses are also used in crews.
Common exterior features common to all types:
- rough constitution;
- long body;
- long, often soft back;
- head of the Spanish type;
- long, arched neck;
- high neck outlet;
- low withers, so much so that it seems as if the neck is growing directly from the shoulder blades;
- wide chest;
- rounded ribs;
- often heavily sloping croup;
- thick long mane and bangs;
- friezes on the legs;
- always black.
The main feature that makes the Friesian a recognizable breed is his mane and long hair on his legs. There is a known case when, in order to revenge, the Friesian horse was shaved off the mane and bangs. It turned out to be a simple black horse.
This is something worth talking about separately. Earlier in the Friesian breed there were significantly more colors. There were even chubary Friezes. Today, the requirements for the suit are very strict: stallions are only black without a single mark, in mares a small asterisk on the forehead is allowed.
We almost managed to get rid of other stripes. But even today, red foals are sometimes born in the Friesian breed. These are purebred Friezes, but they are not allowed for further breeding. The fact is that the red color is recessive in relation to any other and in the Friesian breed is hidden under the crow. The red foal is always homozygous, otherwise, even with the gene for the red color, it would be black.
Brown color is the darkest shade of red. Photo of "colored" Friesian horses.
Both options are brown.
Black Friezes are very photogenic and look incredible in a carriage, but at the end of the 20th century it turned out that the consumer began to get bored with “big black stallions with a long mane”. Do not lose the same profit. With the preservation of the breeding core of the breed, experiments with crossbreeding began.
In the early 2000s, a photo of a white Friesian horse made a splash on the Runet. First, it turned out to be not white, but light gray. White looks different. Secondly, it was not a Friesian horse, but an Arab-Frisian cross.
It is safe to say that the breeder from the Arabian horses was gray, as the gene for graying dominates over any other color. The experiment was carried out deliberately and not to "refresh" the Friesian blood, but to produce a completely different type of horse.
If you cross Appaloosa with Frieze, you can again get the lost forelock suit.
Crossings with the Andalusian breed allow you to get "colored" offspring, which in structure will be closer to the Friesians. And such crosses have been actively carried out since the 90s of the last century. The Andalusian Friesians are already such a large group that they are beginning to lay claim to the breed. Now this group of "colored Friezes" is called Warlander.
Given the variety of suits in the Andalusian breed, the Warlander can be of almost any suit.
Scope of application
Speaking frankly and without fanaticism, Frieze is best suited for "standing beautifully during a photo shoot." For modern high-level dressage, it lacks the quality of movement. For serious jumps, he is too heavy and will quickly "tear off" his legs. The horses are good-natured and happy to cooperate with humans, but they are only suitable for show jumping up to 1 m in height and for amateur dressage. Definitely good for the show.
A serious drawback of the Friesians in Russian conditions is their chic long hair on their legs. In the Russian damp climate, friezes create conditions for the development of fungus on the skin.
Bum develops in a humid environment. If other horses dry the "brushes" (the second name for friezes), sometimes missing, it is very easy. For a Friesian horse, this is a whole procedure. Often the wool was cut off so that biting midges could be treated.
The second pitfall: grazing in the fall on an unrefined pasture with thistles. Combing out the burrows from the Friesians' mane and tail is not for the faint of heart.
Elena Voronova, Voronezh
In our KSK there is a Frieze from Kartsevo. By nature, just a sweetheart, but driving it is below average pleasure. Moreover, such a trot is characteristic of all Friezes. They have such a structure. It is ridden by those who do not fall off the horse, but have not yet grown to a serious level. You cannot put a beginner on such a horse. But the basics of dressage on this horse can be mastered.
Anna Galkina, Kiev
I had Freeze in the early 2000s. Then equestrian sport was just beginning to revive and the trends with the Dutch half-blooded did not reach us yet. And I was young and Freese was cool. I was engaged in dressage on this horse. Despite the fact that the stallion tried, he still lacked something even before our Ukrainian horsemen. Most likely, the matter is in the structure. Yes, and sitting with your neck sticking out in front of you is also uncomfortable. But how beautiful we looked in the photographs. When I decided to develop further, I had to sell it and buy a dressage horse on the move. Now this Frieze is driving the mistress in the fields. I turned out to have a very good psyche and good balance. The hostess will not be overjoyed. But she has no sporting ambitions.
A statue commemorating the centenary of the modern Frisian Tribal Book.
The Dutch very competently advertised their national breed, not really caring about its suitability for modern sports. Yes, they did not have such a task. Their target audience was romantic girls and girls dreaming of a "wild mustang" with a long mane. In general, this audience has already been covered and the fascination with the Freezes has begun to decline.
At the same time, if earlier in Russia these horses were very expensive, today with the development of relations it became clear that the cost of "expensive" Friesians in their homeland is 2-3 thousand euros, but the Dutch do not sell really valuable horses.
But Frieze can be a good walking horse if you carefully approach the choice of horse.