Horse Care Other Riding

Dark Horse of Your Dreams: Fun Friesian Horse Facts

Friesian Horse
Written by Michelle Greene

Modern-Day Black Beauties

When you imagine Black Beauty, the famous horse, and novel, what kind of horse do you think of? I’ve always imagined a Friesian horse with a flowing, jet black mane and tail.

The Friesian horse breed is known for its majesty, athleticism, and temperament. This breed is a true definition of a ‘noble steed’ from days of yore, but well adapted for modern equestrian disciplines.

Friesian Breed Bio

Friesians are actually one of the oldest horse breeds, having been identified both in text and drawings as far back as the 13th century.

The Friesian horse is originally from the Netherlands but in the 16th century the original “Equus Robustus” was cross-bred with Spanish horses, mainly Andalusians, creating the breed as we know it today.

A detailed and incredible history of the Friesian horse can be found here.

Today, you can find Friesians all around the world. They are particularly well suited for the dressage arena and carriage events, but are also popular in many English disciplines.

That said, they were not bred to jump like other warmbloods, so you typically won’t find them in high-level jumper ringers.

Their comfortable trot and endurance also make them ideal for western riding and even farm work.

Friesian horse in halter

Photo Cred: Canva

Breed Statistics

Friesian horses weigh in, on average, at 1300lbs and are always over 15 hands high. In fact, to be a stallion entered in the official Friesian stud book, a horse must reach 15.3 hands by age 4.

This breed is considered to be a warmblood, which means they have draft horse origins but are not as heavy bodied as a true draft horse.

Friesians have a black coat and are famous for their gorgeous and flowing black mane! Thanks to careful, selective breeding, you won’t see a lot of white markings on Friesian horses.

According to the Friesian Horse of North America, the only acceptable marking for Friesians per the studbook is a small white star on their face.

How big do Friesian horses get?

Most Friesian horses fall between 15-16 hands. Though, some with stronger draught bloodlines can be as tall as 17 hands!

How much do Friesian horses weigh?

Friesian horses weigh between 1,200-1,400 lbs.

What color coats do Friesian horses have?

The only breed-acceptable coat color for a Friesian horse is black.

Freisian horses

Photo Cred: Canva

Breed Mentality

Friesian horses are considered to be easy to train and have good manners. They are friendly and intelligent horses!

Friesian horses do have a stubborn streak. This could be related to their high intelligence. Ultimately, they are very loving horses, despite sometimes being stubborn!

Friesian horses could make for a good first horse, depending on the discipline. Since they do not spook easily and are well-mannered and calm, they would be a great horse for novice riders.

Mare and foal Friesian

Photo Cred: Canva

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is a Friesian a warmblood?

Yes, a Friesian horse is considered to be a warmblood.

Q: What kind of horse is a Friesian?

Originally from the Netherlands, a Friesian horse is a warmblood. They can often be seen in dressage rings and are also skilled in carriage competitions.

Q: Are Friesian horses war horses?

With their noble stature, flowing mane, and all back coat, the Friesian horse strikes a formidable silhouette from the battlefield to the dressage ring. Friesian horses were used as war horses in the Middle Ages.

You can also find them in movies and TV shows as war horses.

Q: Why did Friesians nearly go extinct?

Friesians almost went extinct because of cross-breeding. The need for multi-use horses was dwindling and the Friesian breed was quickly disappearing. In the mid-1900s, there were only 50 Friesians left in the world.

Today, due to breeding efforts and a spark of interest in the breed, there are approximately 25,000 Friesians in the world.

Parting Thoughts

Now that you know more about this magnificent breed, it may be time to schedule a test ride and see if Fresians are a great match for you!

P.S. Enjoy this article? Trot on over to:

Love it? Share it!

About the author


Michelle Greene

Michelle began riding through Pony Club at age 5 and continued training through high school. After a hiatus for school and family, she's now back in the saddle with her hunter/jumper.