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The Friesian is a breed of horse that originated in the Friesland province of the northern Netherlands. Their ancestors were war horses that could carry men in full suits of armor, but as the centuries went by and the need for heavy armor went away, they lightened in weight and took on uses in agriculture and harness work.

They nearly went extinct a handful of times, as the needs of the people dictated the types of horses needed. This meant that Friesians were crossbred with other breeds, diminishing the pure-blooded genepool. In 1913 an official registry was founded to promote and continue the bloodline, and today all Friesians can trace their ancestry back to a single foundation sire who was born in 1885.

Today, the Friesian is an interesting step between a heavy draft horse and a light riding horse. They are powerful horses, but are remarkably agile and swift on their feet. They are becoming popular in Dressage due to their exceptional movement and easy to train demeanor. Friesians are also incredibly popular in the film industry. Seen a large black horse in a movie recently? It was probably a Friesian!

Friesians stand anywhere from 15 to 17 hands at the shoulder. They should be totally black in color-- only a very small white forehead marking is permitted. Sometimes they are seen in brown, but it is a penalized color in competitions. They have thick, long, wavy manes and tails, and "feathers" at their hooves.

Status : Domesticated
Location : Originated in the Netherlands
Size : Height up to 17 hands (1.7m)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Perissodactyla
Family : Equidae -- Genus : Equus -- Species : E. ferus -- Subspecies : E. f. caballus
Image : Daisyree Bakker, Just Chaos


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