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Sheepishly asking about Friesians.....

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  • Sheepishly asking about Friesians.....

    Because---being the WB lover that I am (European, that is), I never thought I'd even consider any Friesian, let alone a part bred of such.....

    I keep replaying a video of a Friesian/Shire/Paint cross filly that's for sale over and over and over, trying to find something wrong with her why she wouldn't make a REALLY nice dressage horse. But I just can't, except that her head and feet are proportionally too big for the rest of her right now, but she's only 2 and perhaps she'll fill out into them. She's very refined, too (except for the feet, and maybe once I shave off those feathers they aren't so big!). But man, can she MOVE!! And has a GREAT walk, so it's not all about that fancy trot.

    So, my question is, what are weaknesses/training issues that Friesians can have? Do they tend to have poor/weak canters like draft horses? This girl seems pretty engaged in all gaits, to me. But maybe I'm blinded by all that freedom and reach in her gaits...

    PLEASE, talk me out of this.....

  • #2
    I would not consider a full Friesian, but I have seen some might fine Friesian crosses. Sorry, I won't be talking you out of this one based solely on the fact that she's a Friesian cross.
    Donald Trump - proven liar, cheat, traitor and sexual predator! Hillary Clinton won in 2016, but we have all lost.


    • #3
      Well, I'm not going to talk you out of it, but I won't talk you INTO it either (unless you really want me to) lol....

      I have a 4 year old purebred Friesian (now gelded) that looks like he is going to make a FANTASTIC dressage horse. He has 3 pure gaits, and his canter is fabulous. He does have some knee action at the trot, but he reaches out and extends and has quite a bit of suspension and rhythm. He's not a big fellow, only 15.1H, but I think that may be an advantage as he won't be too large and heavy. I have always loved warmbloods, and owned many, mine actually reminds me a lot of a good warmblood. I know many dressage folks don't take Friesians seriously, but I always think you have to look at the individual horse, not a stereotype. There are many talented horses in every breed, you just have to find them. The usual problems in the Friesians are too long of a back/too small of a hindquarter, and a weak canter. However, there are Friesians that have great length of back, big, powerful hindquarter, and lovely canters. You have to train them a bit differently, getting them to stretch down and round first, as they tend to give you a false sense of collection too early on. Oh, they sometimes have a little problem with endurance and take longer to condition, but perhaps a cross-bred would have less difficulty with that.

      I'd love to see this filly you are looking at. She sounds like she could be quite lovely. I would say to go with your gut feeling, but perhaps have a few people you trust look at her, or the video too. I don't think you could lose out, if you did buy her, and she wasn't exactly what you wanted. Grow her up a bit, start her under saddle, and I'm sure she would be very saleable. Hey, life is an adventure, and it's fun to step outside of the box every now and then...


      • #4
        I have a custom foal on my farm right now, she'll be 3 months in a couple of weeks. She is 1/4 Friesian, 1/4 Dutch, out of my NSH mare.

        She is simply amazing. She is better built and a better mover than my Sempatico colt out of my Trak mare--and he was nothing to sneeze at, attaining a very high 7.8 Silver at his inpsections!

        I am so impressed that I am looking to breed this mare back to a similarly bred Friesian X next year. STill not 100%, as I'm worried about the rideability of those big gaits (read: can *I* sit them without pain?) But temperament, movement and conformation-wise, I am blown away.
        InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs

        Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)


        • #5
          Sorry, won't talk you out of her either. Friesians can have issues that make them not as good at dressage - some of them. Schute-Kery had an article in a recent DT about Friesians and training them for dressage. Mostly, it's a matter of neck set and strength of loin and hind end. They can have problems with canter and must be trained to reach out and come over their back - they can easily get a "fake" canter which isn't really through but looks good because of neck set. Oh, and some can have issues with heat during the summer, the pure ones, haven't found it in the mixed.

          That said, I have two crosses and they don't have those issues at all. They are lovely movers withgreat canters. My older one took his first canter without a hitch and kept it till I brought him down. He reaches forward and uses his back well and naturally. Sitting his trot is a pleasure! He's still young, and a kind of lazy, so am not sure how he'll advance but so far I have great hopes. Have also talked with others who own crosses and they love them - seriously, it all depends on the individuals used for the cross.

          Beware of one thing, that refined two year old with the big feet may catch up with the feet. My older boy at two looked like a three year old - was mistaken for an older horse at an inspection. He was lovely. Still is but now is more the moose than the refined. My younger one is more refined, at two, and I'm waiting to see how he fills out - looks like an immature two year old after his moose like brother. Look at a pic of the filly at around 3 months if you can. That may give you some idea of how she'll finish.


          • Original Poster

            Thanks so much for the input so far....I'm afraid to post her link but I will. First of all because she may be so nice someone else will snatch her up, and second because if she's really not all that I don't want her to be picked apart when the owner may post here and didn't want her blasted all over a forum.

            So if you do critique and find fault, please be constructive about it but let me know. And if you do like her, please let me have first dibs!!


            The link to the video is in the body of the ad. It's a long one, though. At the end it shows the lady riding her bareback with no bridle (she's a lightweight lady so I'm not worried that she's sitting on her already) and shows her really nice walk and nice temperament.


            • #7
              Oh, I like her a lot! (not to worry though, I'm not in the market for another horse)


              • #8
                She's awful purty but she could get BIG. Are you okay with that?
                Shut up! You look fine! --Judybigredpony
                Ms. Brazil


                • #9
                  She looks awefully straight thru her hind end, perhaps because of her age. I like her movement too.... but she's awefully pricey for a mixed breed.
                  chaque pas est fait ensemble


                  • Original Poster

                    Big, as in tall, I can handle, but I don't want CHUNKY or HEAVY big. I had an old-style Hanoverian mare that was a tank, but was only 16.1H. She was very difficult to get my leg around and put her together.

                    I did see the straight hind legs, but honestly I don't usually fault horses for that. There's so many WB's out there with straight hocks that have lots of flexibility in the hocks and stay sound for years. My old style Han mare I mentioned above had VERY straight hocks, but she had 100% clean hock x-rays at 11 years old, and very good hock action.

                    What I fault more is the straighter more open hip angle, which this mare does have and I am taking into account.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by SillyHorse View Post
                      I would not consider a full Friesian, but I have seen some might fine Friesian crosses. Sorry, I won't be talking you out of this one based solely on the fact that she's a Friesian cross.
                      I agree with her.

                      I have seen some very nice Friesian crosses, a lot of people like them better than purebreds. If they are well bred, the crosses are usually better suited for dressage than the purebreds.

                      This is a nice mare, and fairly priced. I had seen her before. She is one of the few horses which was on that silly fugly horse blog, whom everyone LIKED. (She was on there because the blogger was poking fun at the owner and the photo of her sitting on her barefoot and backwards and with no bridle.)

                      If you visit the Sporthorse Breeder's forum you may be able to find some of the threads discussing Friesian crosses. Two farms which people speak very highly of are www.nicopintostallion.com and www.riveroaksfarm.net . You may be able to learn more about Friesian crosses by visiting those sites also.

                      That mare was getting a lot of attention. I'm surprised nobody has bought her yet.
                      "No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible." George Burns


                      • #12
                        First of all, let it be known that I am a big wb fan. I got into Hanoverians a few years ago, and just recently purchased two new hano mares for my program. I am highly attracted to the breeds overall success as dressage horses and the stringent and selective process of it all.

                        That being said, we have also had friesians for a number of years. Just got home from the Keuring yesterday actually. Interestingly there was a highly rated dressage judge that had contacted the fps and had asked to be in the ring with the dutch judges just to better learn about the breed she is seeing more and more of in the dressage ring. I thought that was intereting.

                        The friesian can be a competative dressage horse, they are proving it more and more in competition. They need a different approach due to the fact that their conformation is different than horses specifically bred for a hundred years to do sport. But look around, find me one other non traditional breed that is winning HOY open awards at fei, winning huge dressage classes in wellington and other super competative CDI events like Goffert did ( His Grand Prix scores in the same level of competation are higher in some cases than those averaged by our canadian team members). Then look at this years FEI young horse championships. The number 5 horse in the 6 yr old class was a purebred friesian. Everything else , in all the other classes, were warmbloods, mostly euro bred, euro lines. Look at the USDF open year end awards, there are an unproportionate amount of friesians in there over the last couple of year. They are still a very rare breed. Someone show me this many arabs, qh's, saddlebreds or non wb doing this well and then take into account the differences in population size.

                        In addition, a disproportionate amount are doing well when they are put into correct training. More and more top trainers are riding them and doing well: we all know Sabine Schut Kery and her multiple medals and HOY open FEI awards on numerous friesians. Chris Hickey has won alot on a freisian that is in his barn, Imke Bartels has numerous friesians in her barn that she competes and most of us know of Jane Savoie, whos personal dressage mount is a purebred friesian. Then there is Iron Spring Farms, probably the biggest , most successful wb breeding farm for dutch horses in NA. They saw the potential, and now they stand and compete 4 friesian stallions.

                        I do not mean to say that all friesians are natural dressage horses. I would guess it would be around the 20 percent of the breed mark, and much less in terms of FEI talent. The chances are much more slim than if I were to go out into a feild of super hanoverians and randomly pick one, obviously. But in terms of going with a non wb, I personally don't think there is a better choice( in my unbiased opinion lol). The friesians are just SO suited to being an amateur riders mount. The try and heart these horses have is unparralled. I kid you not, that when I go out to feed my friesians, I can feed them and then stand on the other side of the paddock and call and they leave the food and come running, usually with a nicker. They are SO personable. There is not another breed of horse with their temperments and I think that makes them an excellent choice for the amateur rider looking to find something fun and beautiful with the possibility of being fairly competative if it is so desired (assuming they are selective in their choice).

                        So, from one wb breeder and lover to another, I highly recommend the friesian horse. I do not have experience with the crossbreds, but in regards to the purebreds, those are my feelings.

                        edited to ad that in terms of partbreds being more suited..I don't buy it. Show me evidence of this. Last time I checked there were about ten times the amount of partbreds for sale, and I have not seen one that is winning in the league that some friesians are..unless I have missed a bunch of them.
                        Last edited by Donella; Sep. 25, 2007, 03:59 PM. Reason: e

                        "Simple: Breeding,Training, Riding". Wolfram Wittig.


                        • #13
                          If you are concerned about barrel width, I would be a tad worried. Some Friesians are heavier and most are pretty wide barrelled. She also has draft blood which tends to come through. The filly has lots of bone for a two year old so will be filling out quite a bit.

                          One thing I did notice is that she is close behind which is very common in Friesians. She'll probably need bell boots.

                          Have to say, she is nice, but I didn't love her canter. It was springy in the wrong way, almost two footed.


                          • #14
                            [QUOTE=Donella;2703229]But in terms of going with a non wb, I personally don't think there is a better choice( in my unbiased opinion lol). The friesians are just SO suited to being an amateur riders mount.[QUOTE]

                            I disagree with this statement. I know several amateurs mounted on friesians who are very frustrated riders. Yes, they have fantastic temperments and can be easy to handle, but to ride them, unless you have TONS of money to spend on getting the very top dressage specimens of the breed, you can end up with the typical friesian riding problems: lack of forward engine, noodle neck, plank-like body, disconnect between hind and front end, and trailing hind legs. Yes, they require a training approach that is different from warmbloods, but not all people riding them have access to trainers who specialize in this breed.

                            So I personally do not think friesians, as popular as they are, are the best choice for an amateur ride, unless you can buy a well trained, dressage bred one.

                            And as for buying a mixed breed horse, you can get lucky, but for the most part, it's a huge gamble as to what you might end up with. Even when you are buying tried and true breeding (for example, a Donnerhall x Rubenstein oldenburg), it's a gamble to buy a young horse. I wouldn't buy this horse myself, unless it was almost completely mature and I could ride it.


                            • #15
                              I suspect she'll be a tank.

                              I don't think the numbers are up there as yet for crossbreds, because it's really only quite recently the crossbreeding has been done at all (well, at least openly.) The one registry will revoke registration if a purebred is crossed. As recently as five years ago the number of stallions available for crossing were less than a handful, and not usually teh ones you'd *want* to cross, especially for dressage.

                              I think you'll see more getting there as they age into the levels.
                              InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs

                              Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)


                              • #16
                                She's lovely! I wish they wouldn't have her advertised as a Warmblood though because Friesan/Shire/Paint does not equal warmblood. But she's a beautiful girl, and I too bet she'll be big. Good luck with whatever you decide!


                                • Original Poster

                                  Well, based on the fact that she probably will be a tank (I DON'T want another one of those) and that there may be training difficulties along the way, I think I'm going to pass. I really want an EASY one this time, and the best way to ensure that is to get one that's bred and built for the job.

                                  Not to say that buying a Euro WB guarantees that either, of course....


                                  • #18
                                    If that's how you feel, definitely buy older, trained horse. Those are the easiest


                                    • #19
                                      Good decision, I think she is sweet, however, she has a really lateral canter and the draft influence usually matures late and = tank...


                                      • #20
                                        I would think you need to define what dressage is for you. If you watch, study and believe dressage is currently what europeans and americans think dressage is, than no, the friesian is not the breed of choice nor is a cross a good choice.
                                        If you truly know what dressage is than there realy is no better breed. A war horse is the friesian. A master, a noble steed that is taken into battle. A horse with courage, stamina, strength, agility and kindness.
                                        This is where dressage comes from. Anyone who thinks otherwise, has no clue.
                                        Not these artificial warmbloods that are created to look "pretty". And riders who just sit there and create crap.
                                        Redefine what dressage is to you and do what you would like. If the horse pleases you than go for it.