Monday, January 19, 2009

Friesian breeding: Some perspectives

The Legacy Friesians Web site has a great article, Friesians as Dressage Prospects , by Swedish Friesian trainer Sylvia Lindstrom. In charmingly broken English, the author writes about Friesians as dressage mounts. She says that they are naturally active in the back, hock, and stifle, especially compared to some warmbloods who are "all hock action" but do not use their backs. As a result of the Friesian's natural rear motor, they tend to collect more easily than many warmbloods.

Friesian breeders have come along way in developing their horses for sport, maintains the author. Years ago, when Friesians were primarily bred for carriage/driving use, they did not offer impressive extended gaits or a good canter. This is still true of some older bloodlines, but the modern type Friesians do possess gaits suitable for dressage.

Lindstrom clearly admires Friesians, and she concludes with a few remarks about their temperament. Friesians, she advises, are "not so tough in the soul" as warmbloods, and they thrive on praise. She notes physical differences in maturation and development as well. Friesians develop muscle and stamina at a slower rate than many horses; conditioning work should proceed slowly.

I'm all a-tingle!
Eager to share Lindstrom's insights with y'all, I started looking for suitable photos to include with the blog entry. I ran across a treasure trove of gorgeous Friesian photos at, and I contacted the photographer Cally Matherly to ask permission to use them. Cally returned my email in a few hours, with several pictures attached. It turns out she is a Friesian owner with stong ties to the Friesian world, and we had a lengthy email exchange about her experiences. Next time I'll share her perspective.


  1. Awesome Blog, and It Must!!!

    Today i have post about "Pet ownership contributed to their overall health..?" can you give your comment (your experiences)in my blog. thank you so much

  2. They are fascinating horses, aren't they? They look all warm and fuzzy, but I know from things on the UDBB that they aren't necessarily a piece of cake. One of my fond memories is Sabine Schulte doing a demo at a dressage show, riding a Freisan and "driving" one in front. I love the feeling of "whump-whump!" power that Freisans have.

  3. I am a breeder of KFPS (Dutch registered) Friesian horses. It is absolutely true that the KFPS is revising their breeding standards so the Friesian horse will be more and more suitable to sport (i.e., dressage). But they also want to be sure the breed does not lose what we love most about them - work ethic, temperament, and affinity for humans. Good choice to use Calley's pics. She is a great photographer and good friend.

  4. Stacey is doing a happy dance that a KFPS breeder has glanced at her article and found it to at least be vaguely correct :-)

    Thanks for the comment -- Cally's photos are just amazing, they bring out the natural beauty of the animal without over-romanticizing them.


Hi Guys, Your comments are valued and appreciated -- until recently I never rejected a post. Please note that I reserve the right to reject an anonymous post.