Friesian dressage horses

Last post 09-01-2008 3:48 PM by BridgetsMom. 39 replies.
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  • 08-06-2008 1:54 PM

    Friesian dressage horses

     Well my friendis looking for a horse and is really interested in getting a Friesian. She has of course been showing the horse's to the owner of the barn, but the owner keeps saying that Friesians are not a good choice for a dressage horse, which I disagree with, so I was wondering what your opinoins are on this?

    'In my opinion a horse is the animal to have eleven-hundred pounds of raw muscle,power, grace, and sweat between your legs-its just something you cant get from a pet hamster'

    'If your horse says no, either you asked the wrong question or you asked the question wrong'

    'Flaming enthusiasm, backed up with horse sense and persistence, is always the key to SUCCESS!'
  • 08-06-2008 3:10 PM In reply to

    Re: Friesian dressage horses

    I saw a Friesian on dreamhorse.com that is dressage level 2 trained for about $20K.  I think that means he works it and is worth it.

    Oops that blew up ... go figure!!
  • 08-06-2008 3:36 PM In reply to

    Re: Friesian dressage horses

    Hmm... I have always thought that Friesians can make excellent dressage horses, when trained correctly.  

    I wonder what is the basis of the trainer's opinion on Friesians not making good dressage horses.  I know that their exaggerated movement can sometimes create the "illusion" of a higher level horse than what is actually the case.  Is your friend an experienced dressage rider?  I think that many people buy Friesians with the hope of doing high-level dressage, but can't get past Level 2 because their movement is purely "show" and not actually a result of working from behind, which makes collection and advanced maneuvers difficult.  If your friend can recognize the difference, and her goal is to show high levels, then I don't see why NOT to buy a Friesian if that is what she likes and she has the money. 

    However, not all Friesians are made equally just as not all horses are made equally.  Just because she buys a Friesian doesn't mean it will excel in dressage.  Perhaps the horses she has picked out so far haven't had the correct build for a dressage horse.  If your friend wants a good dressage horse, she should avoid breed bias.  The build and attitude of a horse is what makes them excel at their sport, not their breed.  Any breed can make it to the top with the right attributes.  Therefore, she could save a lot of money and open up her options by expanding her criteria to other breeds.
  • 08-06-2008 5:49 PM In reply to

    Re: Friesian dressage horses

    Friesians make wonderful dressage horses! I've never heard anyone say anything contrary to that. Odd trainer!

    Jessi

    MareStare cam!
    www.marestare.com/cheyaut.php

    www.CheyAutRanch.com

  • 08-06-2008 6:42 PM In reply to

    Re: Friesian dressage horses

     Friesians make excellent dressage horses. That's what they are used for mostly nowadays. 


    Lukey D.
  • 08-06-2008 7:10 PM In reply to

    Re: Friesian dressage horses

     Haha THANK YOU! lol I'm pretty sure she's just try to push this to get my friend to lease one of her horses(which is insane $450 a MONTH to lease, which is the same amount to board)

    'In my opinion a horse is the animal to have eleven-hundred pounds of raw muscle,power, grace, and sweat between your legs-its just something you cant get from a pet hamster'

    'If your horse says no, either you asked the wrong question or you asked the question wrong'

    'Flaming enthusiasm, backed up with horse sense and persistence, is always the key to SUCCESS!'
  • 08-07-2008 9:37 AM In reply to

    Re: Friesian dressage horses

    I think you hit the nail. She probably wants her own horses to be leased because I've seen many Fresians, at stables and shows and they are great. We have one stallion at the barn right now and besides him taking your breath away every time you see him, he goes great. Just imagine Fabio as a horse and you know what he looks like. Who would not want a horse like that, hehe? I would love to own one.

     The only thing I heard is that they can sometimes be a pain because their maintenance is an issue. Handling the long thick mane and hair on the legs can become a lot of work at times, so I was told. However, this has nothing to do with their riding abilities.

    Patricia
  • 08-07-2008 5:47 PM In reply to

    Re: Friesian dressage horses

    Nicole:

    If your friend wants a good dressage horse, she should avoid breed bias.  The build and attitude of a horse is what makes them excel at their sport, not their breed.  Any breed can make it to the top with the right attributes.  Therefore, she could save a lot of money and open up her options by expanding her criteria to other breeds.

     

     This is the truest statement I've heard in a long time about horse buying!!!!!  110% agree!  



    Solaris -- 16 hh Appendix Quarter Horse = MY DREAM COME TRUE!
    We Are Flying Solo
  • 08-07-2008 6:44 PM In reply to

    Re: Friesian dressage horses

    Some trainers and riders do not see the Friesian as a good dressage breed because of their carriage horse build.  I can't remember the exact details of their basic conformation that is concerned at the moment, but a wide hip angle and flat back are often issues mentioned with other draft breeds.  I do believe that how their necks are generally set on is another percieved fault.

     That said, many lovely Friesians have proven that the breed can excel at dressage.  They also tend to have a relaxed and sociable attitude which makes them fun to work with.  If you friend is interested in a Friesian, she might do well to take time to get to know Friesian horse people and ask a lot of questions.  I know I find it harder to recognize the wide range of differences in the conformation from animal to animal, and there are some with a more fearful personality which may not be as suitable.  I think since practically every Friesian has the same color pattern, and black makes lines difficult to see, it takes a bit of a trained eye to see the differences.  Once she is a bit more sure what to look for in Friesian build and personality to suit her discipline, then she will be ready to choose the horse she wants without needing the input or breed prejudice of the BO.


    The meaning of life is to live it.
  • 08-08-2008 9:01 AM In reply to

    Re: Friesian dressage horses

    Faylaricia:

     The only thing I heard is that they can sometimes be a pain because their maintenance is an issue. Handling the long thick mane and hair on the legs can become a lot of work at times, so I was told. However, this has nothing to do with their riding abilities.

    YES YES YES that is SOOOO true! sigh! lol

     

    There are two styles of Friesians. The "old" style, baroque ones are more the "carriage type" but now, the modern Friesian is bred to be more of a sport horse, and they are great at Dressage.

    Jessi

    MareStare cam!
    www.marestare.com/cheyaut.php

    www.CheyAutRanch.com

  • 08-08-2008 10:06 AM In reply to

    Re: Friesian dressage horses

    There are 3 types/builds of Friesians. 1) Classic: Heavy, carriage horses. Look more like what the Medieval knights rode. 2) Baroque: Lighter then classic but still BUILT! This is MY personal preference for Friesians. They look like Fairytale creatures. 3) Modern: Lighter Sporthorse builds. Kinda Warmbloody but not quite.

     It depends on which style of Friesian your friend is looking at. The more Modern built friesians EXCEL in the dressage arena. Baroque style horses can also do extremely well (my Stallion, Darktanion is a Baroque style and currently in Dressage Training). There have been a few Friesians that made it to Grand Prix level. I personally feel they should not be ignored for dressage because people typically see them in front of a carriage. They make wonderful riding horses (once you get use to their gait) and CAN be very atheletic.

     Another option is a Friesian Cross. I know some people will get highly offended at the fact that some people, including me, are crossing Friesians with other breeds. BUT! With the CORRECT cross, you can get some FANTASTIC Atheletes with all the flash and grace of the friesian. There are several REALLY nice ones out there. Just a thought. :)

  • 08-10-2008 12:16 PM In reply to

    Re: Friesian dressage horses

    Heather:


    With the CORRECT cross, you can get some FANTASTIC Atheletes with all the flash and grace of the friesian. There are several REALLY nice ones out there. Just a thought. :)

     

    Thanks for emphazing CORRECT -- this is indeed VERY important.  Unfortunately, Friesians are so bloody trendy that everyone just wants to say they have a "Friesian Sporthorse" (and don't even GET me started on the "sporthorse" thing, sheesh), so anyone and everyone breeds EVERYTHING to a Friesian than marks it up 300% because they then market it as a "sporthorse."  There are some nice FriesianX's out there, but they are definitely the minority of what I have seen, so be careful.  Don't fall for the "oh but it's big and black and HAIRY, look at it's pretty ripply hair" trap!



    Solaris -- 16 hh Appendix Quarter Horse = MY DREAM COME TRUE!
    We Are Flying Solo
  • 08-10-2008 1:14 PM In reply to

    Re: Friesian dressage horses

    Solaris:
    Thanks for emphazing CORRECT -- this is indeed VERY important.  Unfortunately, Friesians are so bloody trendy that everyone just wants to say they have a "Friesian Sporthorse" (and don't even GET me started on the "sporthorse" thing, sheesh), so anyone and everyone breeds EVERYTHING to a Friesian than marks it up 300% because they then market it as a "sporthorse."  There are some nice FriesianX's out there, but they are definitely the minority of what I have seen, so be careful.  Don't fall for the "oh but it's big and black and HAIRY, look at it's pretty ripply hair" trap!

     LOL I understand. Some people scoff at my crosses but I am careful, or as careful as one can be in breeding any animal. I have seen several crosses that have looked photoshopped! And the sad part is I've seen them in person.... BUT! When it's done right, with the right stallion, the right mare, and a little luck, I'd put a Friesian Cross against most any Warmblood out there. I've been lucky in that the foals we've produced are outstanding. Both my boys cross nicely to other breeds. Darktanion has proven it time and again (even before I owned him) and Tanion is just starting out but WOW! His kids are awesome! But I do understand what you're saying... LOL 

  • 08-15-2008 7:13 PM In reply to

    Re: Friesian dressage horses

    Once someone becomes a 'breed fanatic' you can't talk any sense into them.  Every individual in their favorite breed is perfect for anything, and if they don't win the Olympics at dressage, show jumping and reining, the judging is rigged! 

    Friesians don't actually do that well in dressage.  There is quite a small number, 38 of them in the USA, who have HOY placings, and 95% of those placings are at the lower levels.  Only 5 Friesians have HOY placings at FEI levels.  The scores at the lower levels are indeed good, but the scores were gotten by only 32 Friesians in the United States.

    Don't be fooled by the high set neck, thick mane and tail and lifted knees.   It is VERY difficult to get these horses to be correct, to stretch, and to develop their back muscles, and get their hind legs under, instead of out behind themselves, no matter what 'type' of Friesian they are.

    But what is 'doing well'?  What do most riders really need?  A top class dressage horse?  No.  In fact, most people would do far, far better riding something 'appropriate', and 'appropriate' is very often NOT a top class dressage prosect, but a horse with comfortable gaits, a laid back temperament, and not too difficult to ride. 

    There are a great many people who adore them because they are pretty, and I think like most 'breed devotees', they get very, very unrealistic ideas about the breed.  People say the same for just about any breed they love - they're perfect, every single one of them can do anything.

    But in fact there are problems.  They don't move over the back properly, they are very hard to get a good canter out of, and they often have very serious problems with the heat.  The hairy legs require a great deal of extra grooming or they get scratches, and that long thick mane and tail doesn't do well in our hot climate.

    Friesians are a 'fad' now and we hear sellers proclaiming that every single one of them is perfect for the top levels of dressage.  I think they look at them and think, 'Wow, look at those lifted knees, that horse will piaffe!'  But the fact is, it does no good to just lift the knees, the hind quarters and back have to be working correctly.

    So?  To be honest, most people are far, far better off just buying whatever horse they like and they won't ever really be advancing or leaping up the levels in dressage anyway.  They may as well have a horse that they think is pretty and that appeals to them. 

    For a person learning, a horse that is less sensitive, very tolerant of mistakes, and not too sensitive to bouncing legs and hands  while the rider is learning - Friesians have a reputation for being very, very kind and tolerant.

    Additionally, since most Friesians don't move over their back like a warmblood, they are far, far more comfortable to do a sitting trot or canter on (if you can get them to canter, see below).  That's another thing that makes them ideal for someone learning, though not as ideal for excelling at dressage at the more difficult levels. 

    The only real serious problem is usually the canter.  They can be very, very difficult to train to canter properly and I know quite a few professionals who have been completely stumped in their efforts to just simply get a young Friesian to canter at all.  They simply were not developed to canter, or in fact, be ridden.  They were developed to be fancy carriage horses, and carriage horses usually trot.  The type of trot they have doesn't set them up well to pick up a canter, so it takes a lot of work to get the trot corrected and get a good canter out of them.

    One of the most successful dressage riders to use Friesians, Sabine Schute-Kerry, wrote a very good article in one of the horse magazines about selecting a Frieisian for dressage.  She gave some very good advice and while she loves the breed, she is realistic about what they can and can't do - something many people who adore them have a very, very hard time doing. 

    I honestly would not say a word to your friend.  She should buy whatever horse she wants for dressage.  Besides, if you tell her that the horse she adores isn't the best for dressage, you may be looking for a new best friend soon.  People will  do what they will do, it's best to just let 'em do it!

     

  • 08-26-2008 12:13 PM In reply to

    Re: Friesian dressage horses

    875509:

    I honestly would not say a word to your friend.  She should buy whatever horse she wants for dressage.  Besides, if you tell her that the horse she adores isn't the best for dressage, you may be looking for a new best friend soon.  People will  do what they will do, it's best to just let 'em do it!

     

    875509:
    But what is 'doing well'?  What do most riders really need?  A top class dressage horse?  No.  In fact, most people would do far, far better riding something 'appropriate', and 'appropriate' is very often NOT a top class dressage prosect,

     

     

    That's the truest thing I've ever heard!!!! I think that you should be able to ride any horse, not just a FEI schoolmaster!!!! Your friend may not be able to get a Freisian because they are sooooo expensive and rare. I would want to get a good horse- no good horse is a bad breed!


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