Q. Where did Friesians come from?
A. Internationally Friesians are one of Europe’s oldest breeds and originated in a province of The Netherlands called Friesland. Friesians are not an indigenous breed like the ‘Boerperd’ and the first Friesians were exported to South Africa in the early 1900’s via Flaandre resulting in the breed first called Flemish horses in South Africa.
The first Studbook Stallions were imported since the 1950’s by Doorndraai Friesian Stud when we imported our first studbook Stallion Ritse 322 followed by Tjalf 443 ‘Sport’ a few years later.
Q. What can I use a Friesian for?
A. Recently the popularity of the Friesian has skyrocketed in the dressage arena because of their beautiful natural movement and aptitude in this field. They have been used for light farm work over the years and their pleasant temperaments make them ideal horses for pleasure and competition. Of course the Friesians are also well known for their driving prowess. Because of their slightly heavier build they’re not ideal for jumping.
Q. How many Friesians are there?
A. In South Africa there are currently around 1200 Friesians registered with the FPSSA and World Wide there are close to 50 000 Friesians registered with the KFPS in the Netherlands.
Q. How tall are Friesian horses?
A. To enter the Adult Studbook Stallions have to be at least 1.60m (16 hands) by the age of four and mares and geldings have to be at least 1.54m (15.2 hands). The average height of Friesians vary greatly with some horses being bigger and other shorter but the average stands at between 15.2 and 16.2 hands.
Q. What colors do Friesians come in?
A. The Studbook only accepts pure black Friesians. This may however range between True black, to black bay to very dark brown. It is important to pay close attention with breeding as selective and careful breeding minimizes white marks. The only white mark allowed by the Studbook is a small white star on the head. Any white markings on the rest of the body is unacceptable.
Q. Is cross breeding allowed?
A. No cross breeds will be accepted by the FPSSA or the KFPS.
Q. What is a judging or inspection?
A. Once a year the KFPS sends 2 qualified official judges from the Netherlands to evaluate the horses/foals in South Africa that belong to members of the FPSSA. The judging is a thorough evaluation process where the horse is presented in hand and 60% of the evaluation is based on movement quality and 40% on comformation.
The first inspection takes place when the horse is a foal for entry into the Foal book, it is presented with it’s mother and can receive a premium, 1st Premium being the best followed by 2nd Premium, 3rd Premium or no Premium. Only horses with the most desirable characteristics will receive a 1st Premium, these achievements will be noted on their registration papers.
The second inspection takes place around the age of 3 where the goal is to achieve Star Status. During this inspection it is judged using a ‘linear scoring’ sheet where positive or negative points are scored to individual aspects of conformation, breed characteristics and movement as observed during the inspection. The score sheet for each individual horse is given to the owner.
Q. What is a “star”?
A. Only 25 to 30% of all adult horses entering the studbook will achieve “Star” status. This designation appears on the horse’s registration certificate. If a mare receives a first premie Star, she is awarded ‘Voorlopig Kroon’ and needs to complete an Ibop Test and score more than 77 points to be awarded ‘Kroon’. When a mare has four or more offspring that has achieved Star Status she is awarded ‘Preferent’ Status.