What are Friesian horses used for? We get this question all of the time. I mean almost any time someone sees our horses. The quick answer is EVERYTHING, but that is not entirely true. While Friesian horses can do most of the disciplines, they are not built for all of them. For example, I’ve never seen a Friesian horse successfully rein… Have you?
Here are some of our favorite ways to use our Friesian horses.
Friesians tend to be very good dressage horses due to their temperaments and conformation. They have very willing personalities and are always trying to please their riders. Dressage training can be very demanding both mentally and physically. Friesian horses seem to embrace this challenge. We’ve had multiple horse trainers tell us they have a lot of “try”. Even if they are getting it wrong, they continue to try to get it right. If you have ever trained a green horse, this is an invaluable quality.
Most Friesians are built more uphill, meaning the neck comes from a high angle out of the shoulder. This creates more lift in the forehand, which helps with the balance and strength demanded in dressage. Friesian breeders also promote power from behind, or the ability to drive forward from the hindquarters. This power is needed for collecting at the walk, trot, and canter, and some of the higher-level moves, such as pirouettes.
Friesians are incredibly popular carriage horses. The uphill build, power from behind, and calm personality make them ideal driving horses. They also have a stunning overall look with their flowing manes, pitch-black coloring, and animated trot. Drivers appreciate all of these traits both in driving competitions and on trail drives.
You may have seen Friesians Sjees in photos. These carriages were specifically designed for Friesian horses and are all unique in design.
Trail riding is one of our favorite things to do! Rio Verde has some amazing trails available for bikers, hikers, and trail riders. We are lucky to have some right outside our front gate.
As we already mentioned, Friesians have a quiet, calm demeanor. With the unexpected commonly happening on trail rides, this chillaxed attitude comes in handy. We’ve had dogs run at us, kids run at us, bicycles, ATVs, UPS trucks, and more come up to us on trail rides. Now, I’m not saying they didn’t bat an eye, but Friesians tend to look, think, and listen to their rider before making a decision about something. They are also intelligent and can figure out if something really is trying to kill them.
Side note – we used to have a friend whose gelding was convinced squirrels could eat horses. This horse wasn’t phased by ANYTHING, except squirrels. The lesson of this story, everyone is afraid of something!
Friesian horses also have very even, comfortable gaits. This means you can actually ride for hours without getting too sore. You still need to do your stretches beforehand though….
Now, for some other uses for Friesian horses.
Crowds love seeing the majestic Friesian perform tricks in the circus tent. The elegant looks and easy trainability make them a common pick among circus acts.
We have several friends who routinely jump their Friesians and have a blast doing it. Friesians are not built for high jumps and their heavier build can make this a bit harder. That doesn’t stop you from jumping some lower jumps if that is what you enjoy!
If you haven’t noticed already, Friesian horses are incredibly photogenic. One flip of that long mane and you have captured the beautiful horse in action. Moviegoers tend to agree… Directors and actors also find Friesian horses easy to work with on busy sets with continually changing shooting requirements.
We are always watching for Friesians in movies. It has become quite a game in our family. Here are some of our favorites if you want to check out a good Friesian movie.
I’ve been around horses my entire life, but my Friesian journey started just over 20 years ago. Our horses have always been a part of our family. They have traveled with us as we relocated from Vermont to New York to Iowa and finally, to Arizona. I can’t wait to share our story with you!
Mar 8, 2021
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