Saturday, June 26, 2010

Friesian/arab crosses, what do you think?

NO, I did not forget to write an article for Friday. I forgot to post it. Sorry.
First time in over a year I've missed a post, by misdating a scheduled post.

You read a lot lately about people crossing Friesians with other breeds. Generally I'm skeptical of this practice, although there are some lovely individuals out there. Apparently the Arabo-Friesian is not just a cross but a breed or registry with fairly specific goals -- basically they are Friesians with 5-20% Arabian blood that meet particular criteria.

Arab-Friesian cross learning piaffe/passage



  1. Arabs are the foundation stock of a lot of the newer breeds so it makes sense that this is a good cross. It makes a lighter, smaller horse than the draft Friesian, with nice leg action, classical lines, and the desirable black color. What more could one ask for?

  2. Greater endurance! I hear that is not a particular strength in Friesians, and of course Arabs have endless energy...

  3. I loved the trot work from the 6 year old but the canter wasn't as strong. I wonder if more training will improve that, or are Friesans weak in canter? They are certainly gorgeous - love the look.

  4. My mom's driving horse is a Friesian/Shire, and she's a great mare! Not bad at dressage either, although she's happier being driven.

    The Arab/Friesian cross wouldn't make sense for anyone in our family (at 5'10" I am the short one) but for petite people, it sounds like it could make a very nice horse.

  5. I can attest to Friesian crosses. Not everybody can afford a purebred, but with the right cross (yes, I mean, well thought out ... not some Frisawalkaloosapasobred) it can be a very nice horse ...

    I happen to be 5'2" and my horse is a Friesian x Welsh Cob. He stands at 15.2hh but has a lot of breadth. In my opinion, the Friesian temperament is super for ammie owners. The Welsh Cob complements the Friesian conformation, so I think it is a good cross.

    I'm not yet sold on outcrosses to TBs, appaloosas, QHs, Haflingers, or gaited breeds. Friesians tend to have stifle issues, so if you don't breed with careful consideration of hind end stability, you can wind up with some very expensive soundness issues in the future.

  6. To answer your question, Carol, Friesians are stronger at the trot due to their history as a driving horse. However, some of the lighter, more modern Friesians are being bred to excel at upper level dressage. Just don't expect the canter to be the strong gait, however.

    It took me 3 years before I got a decent canter out of my boy.

    Also, Friesians do tend to have weak hind ends and a lot of stifle issues over time. Very hard to keep them sound. This is why I think outcrossing is not necessarily a bad thing. Friesians tend toward long backs, weak stifles and low endurance, so as Stacey said, careful crossing to something that will counter-balance these issues is a smart decision.

  7. Its true that the Friesian endurance factor has been a problem: its why you rarely see pure Friesians in high-level combined driving competitions, they poop out in the cross country.

    There were 4 arabos in training at Dragstra Stables last year. These horses had a very low percentage of arab blood. Looked very much like Friesians, but tended towards a bit more fineness in the legs, with less or no feathers. Wiebe told us they definitely had MUCH more endurance than the pure Friesians he trains:P

    There are a few videos of them on the Dragstra Stables youtube page:

  8. Interesting on that first one how you see whiffs of Arabian in it, in the movement, in the tail. It is like a Friesian that isn't quite Friesian and an Arabian that isn't quite Arabian. The second one I couldn't get to work, the 3rd look very Frieisan, and the last I could see the Arabian. I'm thinking I like the first one the best.

  9. Interesting. I am not a big fan of either breed...nothing against them, just not a fan. If the right qualities of each come out in the breeding, it should make for a nice horse.

  10. I showed with a girl who did her young rider on an Arab / FReisan cross - FA Patriot (a grey, not black) has shown through I-1. He has wonderful tempis as well as just a big ole puppy dog temperment.

    He was also VERY big.

  11. I have a 3/4 Friesian 1/4 Morab (Morgan x Arab) 4 year old mare and she's amazing. She is 16.1 right now and has the looks of a Friesian, but has a little bit of that arab brilliance and energy. I'm not a fan of morgans or arabs, but she makes a beautiful cross.

  12. I have one on my farm! My friend keeps her gelding, MacGyver, here with us. His sire, Nick-something-or-other, was a large Fresian. I was pretty impressed with the pics of Mac's sire, and I'm not a Fresian person. His dam was a little Arab mare that wasn't particularly impressive, except that she apparently had a great personality and was very sweet.
    Mac? Well, he's up here with me, because Jen's (Mac's owner) mom deemed him a "failure" at dressage. I don't think he was a failure, but he isn't an easy ride. He's about 14h3 and built like a Fresian (think- tiny steam engine). I think he's going to be an awesome eventer (which is what his mom would like to do with him).
    Mac is smart and sweet, but... whew! He is one very naughty boy sometimes! He's got the Arab "naughty/smart streak," but in a little Fresian body.
    He's always been dominant in every pasture situation he's ever been in. Until now... He's apparently never met a track-washout-turned-broodmare-turned-hunter-queen-who-is-grumpy-and-used-to-getting-her-way! I generally don't have to worry about his naughtiness, Bella takes care of it for me!
    As far as dressage potential? He's slightly steep in the shoulder, which makes for the draft gait in the front and hard to get extension. When he's fit, that guy can go for DAYS though, you just have to convince him that it's a good idea! :)
    p.s. Sorry for the book, this is a subject I actually know something about!

  13. I'm very excited to read all of these positive comments. My 14.2 Morab mare with excellent conformation, gaits and temperment has been confirmed in foal to a Friesian stud (his dam was an uber beginner mount and driving horse, sire competes in high level dressage). I cannot wait until April 2017!! He has a 4 yo colt out of a welsh cob mare that is proving himself at endurance. I imagine mine will look a lot like this cross.


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