Frieze Horse

The Frieze is probably one of the most famous horse breeds and there is hardly a horse girl who doesn’t want a Friesian at some point! The reason for this is its imposing appearance: a high neck, a pretty little head, and long flowing hair – not only the mane but also the hangings on the legs look beautiful. That makes the Friezes unmistakable.

Origin and History

The Frieze comes from the Netherlands, more precisely from the province of Friesland, from which it also takes its name. He is considered to be one of the oldest horse breeds in Europe. The official studbook of the Frieze horses has been kept since 1879. Originally, the Friezes were used in agriculture, they pulled agricultural implements and wagons. For this, they needed a lot of strength, which is why the Friezes also belong to the type of so-called landraces. These are horses that are between warm and cold-blooded types. The Friezes needed their strength as early as the Middle Ages when they wore the heavy knights in their armor, who liked to be seen at their tournaments with the chic Friezes. But like all former workhorses, the Friezes were also used less and less at the beginning of the 20th century and the population of black horses dwindled rapidly. Fortunately, some breeders are committed to the preservation of the breed and for a few years now, Friezes have also been becoming increasingly popular for classic equestrian art. Nevertheless, the population is so small that all Friezes are rather closely related. Today the studbook has around 60,000 horses in over 50 countries. Nonetheless, foreign blood is not crossed with the Friezes: The Arabo-Friezes that emerged in the 1970s are not considered to be Friezes.


The Frisian is considered to be strong and balanced. His strong nerves make him sociable and fearless. The Frisian should be reliable, his owners often call him meek. Most Friezes are very devoted to their owners and therefore like to learn various tricks such as circus lessons.


The most striking trademark of the black pearls of Friesland, as they are often called, is their always black color combined with the thick long hair. In southern Germany and Austria, the Friezes are therefore sometimes referred to as long-haired horses. The body of the friezes is strong, but not too heavy, and is in a rectangular format. So they have long backs and are not square like some pony breeds. The neck is also set on rather long and high, but the head is still fine. White markings on the face are allowed as long as they are no larger than 3 cm.

Friezes are usually smaller than warmblood horses, mares are often between 155 and 165 centimeters tall. However, in recent years larger horses have been bred, which are closer to the size of sport horses.
It used to be unusual for horses to be identified by tattoos on their tongues. Since 1996 Friezes have only been chipped.

Suitability / Use

Friezes are both riding and driving horses. Some Friezes are more suitable for riding due to their physique, others better for driving. The heavier type is often used as a driving horse. In front of the carriage, especially in a multi-horse carriage, the Frisian looks very elegant and at the same time imposing. As a riding horse, Friezes are less suitable for tournament sports, as their movements cannot be compared with those of a sporty warmblood horse. But they often find their profession in classical dressage. They also enjoy circus lessons and of course recreational riding in general. When riding, of course, care must always be taken not to ride the Frisian upright too early and too hard – an incorrectly upright position will damage his back! If properly trained, however, he is a strong dressage horse. The high action of the forehand makes his movements seem to roll, yet it is not always easy to sit down.


Friezes are not particularly demanding when it comes to their keeping: species-appropriate keeping with contact to conspecifics and sufficient roughage must be given in order to maintain good health. Of course, it is important to have competent training that takes the exterior of the Frisian into consideration: he must be worked correctly over the back in order to stay healthy.

Diseases Typical of the Breed

In Friezes, kneecap problems occasionally occur, especially in the growth phase. This patellar dislocation can be treated surgically or alternatively with physiotherapy, leeches, or suitable training. Sometimes it also grows together. In any case, you should consult a veterinarian here. A genetic disposition to patellar luxation is discussed. In addition, thorough care of the dense curtain and regular inspection of the skin underneath is important in order to keep the risk of scumbags low.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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