The Friesian breed is one of the oldest domesticated breeds in Europe, originated in the Province of Friesland in the Netherlands. Although the breed's conformation resembles that of a light draft horse, Friesians are graceful and nimble for their size.


During the Middle Ages, it is believed that the ancestors of Friesian horses were in great demand as war horses throughout continental Europe.Through the Early Middle Ages and High Middle Ages, their size enabled them to carry a knight in armor.

The breed suffered a decline in numbers with the increase of mechanization on the farm and in transportation. In fact it got so bad that the number of Friesian stallions was reduced to three in the world prior to World War I. The Friesian was re-bred by introducing Oldenburg blood. The modern day Friesian horse is growing in numbers and popularity; used in a harness and for pleasure. Most recently, the breed is being introduced to the field of dressage.


One of the outstanding characteristics of the Friesian is its very long mane and tail. They are never cut and have been known to reach the ground. The breed also has abundant "feathers"; long hair reaching from the middle of the leg, deliberately left untrimmed. The color is always black and only a small star is aloud for purebred registration. Though extremely rare, and not accepted for registration in most cases, Friesians are occasionally chestnut.

The breed is known for a brisk, high-stepping trot. The Friesian is considered a willing, active, and energetic horse that is also gentle and docile. A Friesian tends to have great presence and to carry itself with elegance.

The head of the Friesian is carried quite high and the face is expressive. The neck is carried rather vertically and is low-set. It stands at an average heigth of 15.3 hands high (63 inches or 1.60 m), although it may vary from 14.2 to 17 hands (between 58 in./1.5 m and 68 in./1.7 m) tall at the withers, and mares or geldings must be at least 15.2 hands (1.57 m) tall to qualify for a 'star-designation' pedigree.

To be accepted as breeding stock in the KFPS studbook, a stallion must pass a rigorous approval process.


Information Resources





Alberta Friesian Horse Association