The Friesian horse originated in Friesland, one of 12 provinces of the Netherlands (Holland), situated in the northwest of Europe. Friesland is an old country dating from 500 B.C, when the Friesians settled along the coast of the North Sea.
During the 16th & 17th centuries, but probably also earlier, Arabian blood was introduced, especially through Andalusian horses from Spain. This has given them the high knee-action, the small head and the craning neck. The Friesian horse has been kept free from the influence of the English Thoroughbred and is noted for its kind temperament. It is considered a warm blood. During the last two centuries it has been bred pure, and FPS Registration does not recognise part- breeds or have a secondary stud book for this purpose.
Through the centuries the Friesian government has made many regulations in order to safeguard good breeding. Now all recognized Friesians have to be registered with The Friesch Paarden Stamboek (the Friesian studbook). Since 1986 it has been compulsory for FPS registered horses to have a number tattooed on their tongues as foals. Foals registered since 1997 have been given a unique microchip instead of a tongue tattoo. The tongue tattoo or microchip should always match the data recorded on the FPS registration papers.
Friesian horses are always black. White markings are not allowed. They have a long, thick, flowing mane and tail,and pronounced fetlock hair. Under no circumstances is it permissible to dock the tail of a Friesian and, in fact, trimming of any hair from mane, tail or legs is frowned upon.
The Friesian Horse holds its head high and proudly with an arching neck, the body being strong and deep with a sloping shoulder. The rear quarters are sloping with a somewhat low set tail. Registered Friesian stallions must be 160cm by age 4 & mares 150cm, although anywhere between 158cm & 165cm is considered ideal. Currently there are less than 300 known registered Friesians in the UK.