Friesians are an Ancient Horse Breed
Tracing all the way back to the 13th century, Friesians are one of the oldest breeds from Europe. They were used across Europe, as they were a desirable horse to have.
During the Middle Ages, they were used as valiant mounts for knights riding into battle. Throughout history, they have been used as renowned war horses. A favorite among royalty, it is said that Hungarian King Louis II rode a Friesian into battle against the Turks in 1526.
They continued to be loved throughout Europe and were even used in riding schools in Paris and Spain in the 15th and 16th century. As early as the 1600s, they were even brought over to America by Dutch settlers.
Friesians are Native to The Netherlands
Originating from the Netherlands, the Friesian horse got its namesake from the northern province of Friesland. From the beginning, the Dutch have cherished this beloved breed.
Another interesting Friesian horse fact is that Dutch farmers even created the Friesian stud registry book in 1879 to preserve the breed. Today, they are still a large part of Dutch culture, as there are many shows and festivals featuring them.
Friesian Have Their Own Unique Carriage
The Friesian Sjees is a beautifully crafted carriage that was specifically designed for the Friesian breed in the 18th century. The name is derived from “chaise” which is the French word for chair, implying a chair on wheels.
Sjees can be driven by one or two Friesians, with every carriage being unique. Sjees are still used today at shows and festivals. Traditional 18th-century attire is often worn, with a man sitting on the left to drive with a lady on his right.
Sjees are so special that they even have their own registration. In order to be admitted, a Sjees must have 26 measurements taken before registering.
They Have Likely Influenced Other Horse Breeds
The Friesian breed has played an important role in the development of many other horse breeds. Due to being one of the oldest breeds in Europe, they were frequently exported and often bred with other horses because of their suppleness and agility.
Today, it is said that the Friesian has helped develop breeds like the Shire, Clydesdale, Fell, Dale, and Oldenburg. Many believe that they also played a part in the development of the Morgan horse.
Friesians Are Known For Their Versatility
Friesians excel at many different horse riding disciplines. They are praised for their versatility both in and out of the show ring.
They show in hunt seat, saddle seat, dressage, and western divisions. In addition to riding, they are wonderful driving horses. They often compete in pleasure, carriage, and even combined driving events.
In addition to showing, they also make great pleasure mounts and even parade horses. If you ever watch the Rose Bowl parade, there’s a good chance you’ll see some Friesians make an appearance.
Friesians Almost Became Extinct
Unfortunately at one point the beloved Friesian almost went extinct. After the decrease of horses because of the use of farm machinery and cars, the number of Friesians dipped dangerously low.
Prior to World War I, there was a time where only three stallions were left. However, thanks to some caring Friesian enthusiasts, the breed was saved. Oldenburgs horses helped to bring their numbers back. Though still rare today, they can be found throughout the world.
Trotting Races Are Part of Their History
In the 18th and 19th century Friesian trotting races became a popular event in the Netherlands. Horses would compete against one another at a trot over a distance of 325 meters.
During these well-loved races, Friesians were often ridden in just an orange blanket. They would race for a treasured silver or golden whip prize. Though they started as riding races, they later included harness races as well. Some trotting competitions are even still held today.
The Morgan horse is one of the earliest horse breeds developed in the United States. Tracing back to the foundation sire Figure, later named Justin Morgan after his best-known owner, Morgans served many roles in 19th-century American history, being used as coach horses and for harness racing, as general riding animals, and as cavalry horses during the American Civil War. Morgans are a strong powerful horse. The United States Equestrian Federation states, "a Morgan is distinctive for its stamina and vigor, personality and eagerness and strong natural way of moving. The breed has a reputation for intelligence, courage and a good disposition! The Morgan breed is known for its versatility, and is used for a number of English and Western events. They have been successfully shown in many disciplines, including dressage, show jumping, Western pleasure, cutting and endurance riding. They are also used as stock horses and for pleasure riding and driving. They are frequently seen in driving competitions, including combined driving and carriage driving. Morgans were the first American breed to compete in the World Pairs Driving competition, representing the U.S. They can be seen as mounts for 4-H and Pony Club participants and therapeutic riding programs, due to their gentle disposition and steady movement.
The Moriesian Coming from two breeds that are known for their train-ability, mild manners and friendly dispositions. The Moriesian makes a perfect performance competitor, plus a quality family horse. Their common sense makes people think they are more mature at an early age. They continue to mature until age six and it is not unusual for them to have a final change of height at that age.
The Moriesian horse is the result of a breeding program initiated in the United States to produce horses with the versatility of the Morgan and elegance and charisma of the Friesian, two breeds from which it takes it’s name.
Moriesians, a combination of Friesians (from the dark ages of Europe) and Morgans (from Colonial America). They display an up-headed stature, expressive face, compact body and long thick mane and tail. Their slope of shoulder and movement tends to be more Friesian-like which gives them a regal appearance. The Moriesian is a horse of immense presence, with a full upright, sloping neck set into an open shoulder with the capability of huge movement. The Moriesian is an excelent trail and pleasure horse. They are easy to train and because of their gentle nature they are great for novice people and youth. The Moriesian is rare breed and certainly unique.