Friesian Characteristics

Friesian horses have powerful bodies, an abundance of hair, and high knee action. “Knee action” is a term that equestrians use to describe the degree to which a horse raises its knees when trotting. Friesians are renowned for their high-stepping trot, making them well-suited for dressage.

There are two different varieties of Friesians: Baroque and Modern. Baroque Friesians appear similar to how the horse has looked for centuries. Modern Friesians have been refined to be lighter and taller, like a sport horse. The Modern Friesians excel in dressage, driving events, and show jumping, while dressage is their most common talent.

Friesians are warmbloods, meaning they are middle-weight. “Warmblood” is a classification that distinguishes a breed from heavier draft horses (“cold bloods”), and lighter, saddle horses (“hot bloods”). Draft horses generally do physical labor, while saddle horses often race. When breeders developed horses that could both work or ride, they called them warmblooded.

Friesian Horse Size

The Friesian, male or female, stands 15 to 17 hands (60 to 68 inches) tall from hooves to withers. If you’re unsure about where the horse’s withers are, it is the ridge between the animal’s shoulder blades. Modern Friesians are slightly taller than Baroques, though not by much. These are muscular creatures, and they tend to weigh roughly 1,200-1,400lbs. The lifespan of a Friesian is about 23 years, which is average for equines.