Friesians are large, well-bred, all-around horses with a gentle temperament and a willingness to please. They are used for show in arenas and leisure riding. The versatile Friesian is a lightweight, active and energetic breed.
Friesians are well-suited for trail riding and have the ability to easily clear small jumps. The Friesian has a striking appearance and a docile temperament and is often featured in movies, circuses and the entertainment industry.
Friesian horses have characteristic shining black coats devoid of many markings. They also have thick, long manes and tails that require adequate grooming. They are powerful, with muscular bodies, sloping shoulders and long, arched necks. Friesians are ideal farming, ranch and harness horses because of their elegant, high-stepping gait. They are also traditionally used in funerals in England that require the use of horse-drawn carriages.
The Friesian is one of Europe's oldest horse breeds. It originated in Friesland, an island off the coast of the Netherlands, and dates back to the 13th century. Friesians nearly became extinct in the 20th century, when fewer working horses were used in agriculture. The breed became more prevalent during World War II because farmers relied more heavily on horses due to a shortage of fuel.