Friesian Horse

Last Updated on May 31, 2020 by Allison Price

The Friesian is a breed of horses from Friesland, The Netherlands. While the conformation resembles a light draught horse, Friesians are agile and nimble. 

The Friesian is an ancient, medieval breed of horses. Before World War I the breed almost died out and has since been revived as a fine carriage horse. In recent years the breed has attracted a great deal of acclaim and its future seems assured. 

Friesian Horse’s Physique 

Theoretically, there are three basic Friesian horse variations.
  1. The Lightweight 
  2. The Mediumweight
  3. The Heavyweight
Although they aren’t distinguishable, most Friesians are considered a medium weight horse. Most judges strive to keep all Friesian alive, regardless of its kind. 
  • Height. 15.2 hands to 16.0 hands-on average (1 hand = 4 inches) although some reach 17.hands. Most Dutch judges prefer the average range for them.
  • Color. Friesians are mostly black. Its white markings are undesirable. Few white hairs or very small stars on the forehand are allowed. In some rare cases, you may find chestnut Friesians. Chestnut is not a favored color for the official Friesian studbook. They do not allow chestnut stallions to be registered.
  • Head. The Friesian head may differ between fine, long, and baroque, to short and delicate. Dished faces aren’t likable.
  • Ears. The ears are small and alert.
  • Neck. The head of the Friesian is carried quite high and the face is expressive. The neck is carried rather vertically and is low-set.
  • Shoulder. Broad, sloping shoulder and set deep into the back. The withers is well-formed.
  • Body. The body is compact and strong.
  • Hindquarters. The hindquarters are strong, with the croups marked down word slope. The tail is set low.
  • Legs. The legs are small, thick and heavy, with large clean joints
  • Hoofs. The hoofs are firm.
  • Hair. The mane tail and forelock are made of thick, dark, often curly hair. One of the main characteristics of the breed is thick hair or feathering on the fetlock area of the lower legs.
  • Movement: 

The Friesians trot the joints with tremendous strength and movement. Their hinds normally bend so easily and profoundly. Steps are long and high with plenty of “air time”. The walk is smooth, quick, and springy. The powerful hindquarters driving force a thrusting, leaping canter.

Is Friesian A Draft Horse Or Warmblood Horse? 

The Friesian breed itself has been kept free from “blood” distinction. This is due to the confusion wherein some breeders placed Friesian to the cold-blood category (Draft Horse). However, Friesians are genetically distinctive members of the “warmblood” group of horse breeds. The Friesian was a good warhorse due to its smooth trot and spirit: neither too hot nor too cold. This makes the Friesian a warmblood, rather than a draft (or cold blood) horse breed.

Friesian horses are quite versatile. You can use them for leisure riding and sport, and even for light farm work. Friesians were not bred as jumpers, though some owners enjoy jumping on their horses.

Is Friesian Horse Good For Beginners? 

Friesians have a great temperament and would make a lovely first horse as long as they are train well. Generally, though, they have a nice quiet temperament and are very willing to learn.

What Are Friesians Used For? 

The characteristics of the Friesian allow the horse to use for various applications such as: 

  1. Competitive and pleasure driving
  2. Rode and driven dressage
  3. Halter
  4. Saddle seat
  5. Hunter and over fences
  6. Western pleasure and track
  7. Costume exhibition 
  8. Recreational use 
  • The Friesian, used for light agricultural work. It is also used in harness to quaint Friesian gigs. The Friesian is also found in circuses. They’re also popular in film making, especially historic and fantasy films. This is primarily because of their striking appearance and calm demeanor.

What Is The Temperament Of A Friesian Horse? 

The Friesian horse’s personality is obedient, determined, placid, and cheerful. Friesians are very people-oriented and extremely intelligent with an extraordinary information retention capacity. Friesian have a natural curiosity and willingness to learn. This led to their being well suited to a variety of pursuits. 

Friesian’s Birth Defect Conditions:


One of the best-known disorders in the Friesian breed is dwarfism. The condition manifests with growth retardation mainly in the limbs. These are 25 percent shorter than normal.


Hydrocephalus is a relatively uncommon disorder in horses. In Friesians, there is a rate estimation of 2.5 foals per 1,000 births.


One of the serious clinical problems seen in the Friesian breed is megaesophagus. This problem’s related to the suspected collagen abnormality seen in this breed. Megaesophagus is a chronic dilation of the esophagus. It is accompanied by a lack of normal muscle tone and contractile ability in the esophageal wall.

  • Compromised immunity

Friesian horses are thought to have weakened immune systems. Many problems that affect other horse breeds only marginally tend to be worse in this breed. 

  • Verrucous pastern dermatopathy

This condition is also overrepresented in the Friesian breed. This chronic dermatitis develops ulcerated skin on the caudal side of the pasterns. 

  • Aortic artery rupture

Aortic rupture is an important and unique problem in the Friesian horse. This again relates to a disorder in collagen tissue.

Life Expectancy Of A Friesian Horse

The average lifespan is 16 years, compared to 25 – 30 years for other horse breeds. Friesian breeders never advertise this trait, because it makes buyers think twice.

How Much Are Friesian Horses? 

Friesian horses have relatively high prices due to their scarcity and demand. These beautiful horses have a lot of charisma, are incredibly versatile. 

If you’re looking to purchase one day, then the median price to expect in the United States is about $25,000 per horse. Certain factors and personality traits may also affect the pricing of this breed. 

These are:

Training Directly Affects the Price of Friesian Horses.

You can train Friesians in a number of different tasks. Riding and driving tend to be the two most popular demands that are seen. Sporting horses likewise tend to add the same amount to the final price within this breed. Registered sport horses for this breed tend not to train in double or triple. Once you properly train Friesian horses, this may add 10-20 percent more to the horse’s quality.

Weanlings and Untrained Colts or Fillies Offer the Best Deals

Colts or fillies that are not trained, is found below the median price for this breed. Occasionally you’ll find untrained colts or fillies for less than $10,000. A verified breeding history for a weanling may let you find a Friesian horse for as little as $7,000.

Rare Stallions 

Stallions in Friesian breed are also extremely rare. In the early 1990s, there were just 800 Friesians in the United States. This made them rare and an endangered breed.

Breed standard qualifications for a stallion will cause the price of the horse to be at least $150,000. Depending on how well the stallion meets the breed standard, the price may rise to over $500,000. 

Stallions that can produce eligible offspring from stud work will increase its value. The minimum pricing for this type of Friesian horse is $300,000. This could easily exceed $750,000 if the number of offspring meet qualifications. 

What Is the Cost for Friesian Mares?

If the mare meets some breed standards, the price may rise up to the average price point of $25,000 for this breed.

Star mares achieve more standard of the breed than a normal mare. This means their starting price will start at $25,000. Top mares in this category may fetch more than $40,000, depending on the current horses that are for sale.

Model mares offer the best value purchase for those who are searching to breed Friesians. You will find model mares with good lineage at $100,000 or more.

Allison Price
Allison Price

I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!