Friesians are one of the most ancient European breeds of horse and modern Friesians are direct descendants of the horses that medieval knights used to ride into battle.
Friesian horses come from the same area of the Netherlands as do the more familiar Friesian (Holstein) dairy cattle.
Friesians are a rare breed. There are fewer than 1000 Friesian Horses in the U.S. and Canada.
The Friesian Registry, which is still based in the Netherlands, maintains very strict standards for stallions. To become approved stallions are judged on conformation, way of going and quality of progeny. There are fewer than 50 approved Friesian stallions in the entire world.
Friesian horses now only come in black but they originally came in chestnut and grey as well.
When the Friesian Registry was founded in 1879 there was only one purebred stallion remaining. All of today's Friesians can trace their ancestry back to that one stallion.
My family raises Friesian Horses. We currently own seven Friesians, five of which are mares plus several foals. These beautiful black horses, descended from Medieval chargers, are prized in the carriage driving and dressage arenas for their elegant appearance and brilliant action. They are solid black with long flowing manes and tails and feathers. One of these magnificent horses was featured in the movie LadyHawke.