Any friesian owner/breeders here - UPDATE: I am now a friesian owner!!!
Not to jinx myself, but here goes...I am contemplating the purchase of a weanling friesian colt and wanted some input on what to look for in such a young horse. I know they all go through growth spurts that can make them look awkward, but the video I watched and pictures that were e-mailed all look fantastic. He seems to "push" from behind (whereas some of the videos I have watched show them almost "pulling" themselves along) and has a good amount of suspension and forward movement (as opposed to up and down). I am also not too familiar with friesian bloodlines, so are there certain lines that throw more performance type horses than others? The sire is bauke van bourboom if that helps. Thanks in advance!
Last edited by DiscoMom; Jan. 26, 2009 at 02:02 PM.
Are you looking to buy a competative dressage prospect..as in truly competative past second? If so, buying a weanling of this breed is going to be a real hit or miss. If you are really good at recognizing a decent hind leg, a decent canter ( I don't think ANY Friesian has a truly fantastic hind leg or canter), good loin connection, hind leg angles and conformation, then I think you will be ok, however this can be hard in a young horse.
I think it just boils down to the fact that most of them are not blessed with the conformation that allows them to excell in dressage. They are generally weak in the stifles (ie they point outwards), weak in the loins and camped out behind so cantering and collection (canter does require a moment of "sit") comes hard. You have conformation working against you, unless he is abnormal for the breed( it does happen, one of our mares is short backed with a super loin..).
I don't mean to discourage you, I am just speaking from experience. We have four Friesians, and I love them dearly, they are super horses with unique personalities, but they are not easy to train for this sport for the above mentioned reasons. The mare I am riding now is more talented than most ( debuted at training level with a 77 from Axel Steiner and two other O judges, with 8's on gaits) but WOW, it has not been easy....actually getting her to learn to canter took a good 6 months! I cannot imagine someone trying to accomplish this without professional help (no idea if that is or is not your situation).
I think the problem arrises from the fact that (and I am just starting to really come to this conclusion) most Friesian breeders do not understand what breeding dressage horses is about. Despite claims of "breeding for dressage", I am not seeing any evidence of this at keurings....the weak stifles are still there ect ect. So, when shopping for a young Friesian that is talented in this area, you are going to be looking hard. That is not to say they are not out there! We have a yearling filly here that was born cantering...literally. We did not see her trot until inspection day (turns out it was good, because she was 1st premie and site champion). She is balanced and really, honestly has a decent hind leg , good topline ect. But I REALLY strove for this when I bred her dam.
Anyways..you just have to be very critical. Do not settle. Look for something with a good loin connection, a moderate length of back, legs with decent angle and a hind leg that is decently quick and steps UNDER not sideways. AND..importantly, a temperament with some level of sensitivity. Some of them are VERRRY slow to react and this , combined with any conformational issues listed above, is not a good combination for training.
As for the bloodlines, I am not familiar with the sire as he is not Dutch approved for breeding. What is HIS breeding??
ps..do you have a video?? I would be happy to look it over for you
I dabble in the purebreds, although my love is the Friesian crosses. I've done a TON of research on purebred lines that cross well and that throw good gaits (not just a fancy trot). Some of the Friesian lines are known for sporthorse ability, and I have seen some with nice canters - in fact, a friend of mine is showing a youngster right now who is consistently scoring 8s in his canter work. But - you do need to look for good hind end angles, good walk and canter, and a neck that has the ability to stretch down and out, not just set in a lovely "head set". Make sure the horse's back moves with his movement - in the walk, it is quite easy to see, the hips and back should "roll" with the walk, not be rigid. Look for the tail to lift (not flag over the back, but the dock should have a bit of lift in it), not be clamped between the buttocks when he moves.
You can't beat the Friesian temperment and willingness (although there are a few lines to avoid where that has been bred out). I know a few trainers who PREFER to work with these horses in dressage because of their gentle nature and willingness and desire to work with their people.
You might take a look at the horses who are doing well in sport - Iron Springs has several stallions who are showing mid to upper levels of dressage. Proud Meadows has also been quite successful with their horses. Both have trainers who RECOGNIZE what kind of movement works.
Like Donella, I don't know anything about the stallion you referenced - but I'm not as worried about whether a stallion is FHANA approved, because FHANA doesn't focus on sport horse potential (they are fabulous, very selective, but dressage is not their "goal"). FPZV (the German registry) requires stallions to go through a 50 day stallion testing, where they are judged based on their trainability, and the horses have to do a dressage test, a cross country jumping test (kind of fun to watch, small jumps - most Friesians do not excel at jumping - but it does emphasize their boldness and willingness to trust their riders), and a driving test. And some people have lovely purebred stallions that they simply choose to promote and show, and not spend the incredible amount of $ to get them FHANA or FPZV approved.
Anytime you buy a weanling (I don't care WHAT breed it is), you are taking a chance. All you can really do is look at what he is at the moment - three good gaits, seems easy to handle, reasonably priced? What has his father done? What do the parents look like? What do the other offspring of the mare and stallion look like, what have they done?
Never heard of the stallion you mentioned either. Most Friesians will make wonderful lower level dressage horses. Buying a young horse is a shot in the dark. Be sure to check the conformation and gaits of both stallion and dam. I can say that your Friesian will win your heart with their wonderful disposition but they may not get to the FEI levels of dressage. Just a caution as babies most Friesians look sporty but they do become tanks as they mature so be sure to look at their parents.
Something else to consider, especially if buying a weanling, is resale value. Should you choose to sell down the line, a Friesian with an approved sire (FPS/FHANA or FPZV) and dam that has been inspected for studbook as a three year old will be worth more money. FPS/FHANA do have stallion testing. Initially, stallions that are chosen for approval (and only 4 or 5 are chosen every year out of hundreds presented) are given temporary breeding rights pending assessment of their offspring. If the offspring are not up to snuff, the stallion loses his breeding privileges and is no longer "approved".
I second everything that Donella said. And as far as "bloodlines" go, Friesians are all very closely related. They really are pretty much ONE "bloodline". They do have a propensity for weak loins and a short croup. It's probable that, in the Friesian breed, strong loins and well developed hind ends are a recessive trait. So the "good" ones may be homozygous, meaning that they will always pass on to their offspring a strong loin and hind end (depending on what the other parent passes on) This is why it is so important to see the parents (if your serious about a dressage prospect).
Maybe you could post the video or, even better, post video of the parents?
Well, having gone weanling shopping several years ago to help my friend pick out her little studcolt and now seeing them compete successfully at PSG, I'm feeling pretty good about myself. (tongue firmly implanted in cheek) You look for what you always would look for in any breed of horse, they are no different, they just have more hair. Seriously, though, hers was well balanced and had three very good pure gaits and a good mind. The rest is up to you..... Have fun!
Thanks for all the input so far, it is greatly appreciated. Since the only video link I have is the sales video, I don't want to post it on here and break the rules. If anyone wants to have it sent to them, let me know and I will pm it to you for input.
Also, this is a general question, but do friesian mares get "mareish" or are they pretty even tempered when in season. I know there are exceptions to every rule, but just trying to get a general idea on mare vs. gelding with this particular breed.
I have a 5 year old baroque friesian and I intend to practice dressage with him . I am from Spain, where Friesians are very unnusual and quite "bad considered ", so if you say you are doing dressage with a friesian people laugh at you
I find very difficult to lengthen and relax his neck, he uses to be behind the hand , he has a tendency to go downhill because of his conformation, so it is hard to engage his hindquarters through his back . So far we are trying to active his hindquarters riding him forward and being very careful with the hand , and doing a lot of transitions trying to put his balance on the rear . His vertical and short shoulders don't allow him to extend free , we are trying to improve that too.
Though his conformation isn't the best for dressage, his temperamente is superb , so I adore riding him and trying to overcome his natural faults
I would like to receive some advice from people used to ride friesians to improve his gaits
My horse is a kind stallion who lives surrrounded by mares, he doesn't change his behaviour . You can ride him with a mare in season in front of his nose
I just attended a clinic with my Friesian/WB stallion, and there was another Friesian there too. The clinician, an Olympic rider and trainer, was amazed by the two Friesian bred horses. He saw the purebred first, and said the horse has talent for piaffe and passage, and is very supple and powerful. Then, after lunch, my stallion went - I think he used the word IMPRESSIVE at least 10 times, intermixed with powerful, very good movement, a hind end that any top Warmblood would envy, amazing character, etc. He said he has never worked with these horses before, but now he is very interested.
It really depends on your Friesian - some are not bred (or built) for dressage, others are. The trick is to find one with a good hind end - not just conformationally good, but able to move quickly behind, and to step UNDER instead of trail out behind. But honestly, I could make this same comment about Warmbloods, Thoroughbreds, any other horse that you want to take to the upper levels. And of course, look for one that can reach in front - some of them tend to have more knee and elbow action, others are more able to reach from the shoulder.
I think mine hasn't a good conformation, but I liked his canter and his trot when I bought him , but the walk wasn't good , I had thought I could improve that .This is my first friesian so I feel a bit confused about the best way to ride him , and no one I know has ridden a friesian . They are used to ride warmbloods or andalusians .
Could you give me a sincere opinion about my horse please? I won't be offended because I want to know the truth from people who really know about friesians
This is a video of my horse , his sire is Sape 381 :
I really hesitate to do any critique on a short on-line video! Can't tell anything about conformation because there are no still shots of your horse "undressed". I do think he moves a little tight in the back and shoulder - I think if he was a bit free'd up through the back, you'd like his movement more. I am not sure he's ready for all that sitting trot work - post his trot, send him forward, get him reaching for the bit, ride a bit down, forward, and out to get his withers lifting and his back lifting, and get him over some ground poles and I bet you'll like his movement a lot more!
I am having a nice time working with my Melle311 son- he is very "sport-horse-type". I really wasn't shopping for a friesian when I got him- believe it or not, it was kinda a "pseudo-rescue-type situation".
He got ster at both Dutch & German keurings- made his mama preferent! He has lots of push from behind and is so willing- can't wait to start showing him! Not so much trouble with walk & stretching forward over his topline, but allmost too much push at canter- I better learn to sit down...
Last edited by simon63; Jan. 11, 2009 at 11:11 AM.
Reason: try to fix link
Well, the others pretty much covered it. What most people don't realize is there are 3 "styles" of Friesian.
1st: The "Classic" Friesian. Very heavy, almost drafty looking.
2nd: "Baroque" style : This is a lighter version then the classic. This is the version that most people think of for the Medieval Horse. They look as though they could carry an armored knight into war tomorrow. But they do well in the dressage arena too.
3rd: The "Mordern" or "Sport Horse type" Friesian: These are the ones that have the flashy action up front and have the lightest build of the three. In MY experience, they also tend to be the hotest (if you can call any friesian truly hot) of the 3 types. These are also the ones that people do Dressage with the most.
So you'd have to see what the parents of this weanling were, as well as grand parents, etc. to get an idea of what the weanling will be.
Just be warned, Friesians are addictive.... You will never work with a more loving, laid back, easy going, personable horse. My stallion, Darktanion, (a baroque style friesian) is used as a lesson horse. He has a 13 y/o beginner take lessons on him. And I've taken him out on trail rides with mares. That's a Friesian for ya! LOL
As far as getting them to work on their hiney's, HILL WORK! Lots and Lots and LOTS of troting/cantering up hills! The longer and steeper the hill, the better!
Thank you for all the input (several of you provided input off the boards as well, which was greatly appreciated).
Gestalt - Rembrandt does look nice, but I did not see any of his youngsters currently for sale.
I do not want to jinx myself, so I have not said much to anyone at this point, but I am currently working on the purchase of a particular youngster. She is by a local stallion, who I have also had the pleasure of meeting (he was so incredibly beautiful, well behaved, etc). I have gone three times to look at her now (one of which was a pre-purchase) and like her a little more each time I see her. I anticipate she will be home with me in a few weeks, but I suppose only time will tell. When it is finalized, I will let you all know.
I agree that they are SO addictive - we got a friesian stallion (one of the proudmeadows' guys) and I honestly am in love. He's more the modern style (jorrit son) and, while he's laid up for a while following surgery, I cannot wait to work with him again. He's trained up through 2nd level, and I'm thinking that we'll be able to bring him quite a bit higher, as his conformation is quite stunning and his movements (8.5 on canter at his keuring) are beautiful. I haven't been able to ride him much as he went in for surgery about 2 weeks after we got him (bad luck, eh?), but he's been really pleasant to work with in his aftercare.
Well, I am now officially a friesian owner. I brought Bella home on Saturday and so far so good! I started a new thread on Off Course to introduce her, but wanted to update this post and tell all that replied (both on the board and through PMs) that I appreciate the feedback/input/information. Here is a video of Bella from this summer (I have not uploaded my new pictures yet): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4kXFqvXif8
Congratulations Disco! She sure is a cutie! Very nice pedigree too. Her sire is an approved stallion with some rare bloodlines, and her dam is a star mare by Wicher out of a Naen mare. Lovely! Good to hear she's settling in nicely too.