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FPSSA Goals & Breed Characteristics of a Friesian Horse

FPSSA Breeding Goals

The breeding objective of the FPS is to breed fine horses with excellent conformation capable of performing in the various equestrian sports (show driving, driving, dressage under saddle, mixed disciplines) and also suitable for recreational use, while preserving the typical breed characteristics and further reducing inbreeding through Selective and careful breeding

Breed Characteristics

A harmoniously built, properly proportioned horse. A noble head with clear intelligent eyes and small, alert ears slightly pointing towards each other. A slightly arched neck of adequate length; a strong back joining a croup of good length, which should not slope too much.
A strong sloping shoulder of good length. A body with good depth and well sprung rigs. The legs and feet are strong, with a well-developed forearm and proper stance.
Fluid, square, elegant and elevated gaits, emphasized by good feathering on the lower legs, a find mane and a beautiful, long tail. In short, a luxuriant, honest horse with much presence and eager to work. When three years old, it should have the ideal height at withers of 1.60m. The preferred color is jet black.

Conformation

The head
Relatively short and of good width. Small, alert ears, with the tips slightly pointing towards each other. The eyes are large and shining. Preferably, the nasal bone is somewhat hollow or straight. The nostrils are wide, the lips are closed and the teeth meet properly. Jawbones not too heavy spread wide apart. The head should especially be dry and expressive, blending smoothly with the neck. The neck is of good length, allowing the horse to move its head sideward easily. The neck is set well on the neck, especially leaving adequate space for the throat.

The neck
Slightly arched with a crest. The neck should be of proper length and adequately muscled. It is set high and there should be no bulging lower neckline.

The withers
Well developed and in particular blending gradually into the back. The withers should not be too flat.

The back
The back is not too long and is well muscled. A slightly low back is allowed.

The loins
Wide, strong and well muscled, smoothly blending into the croup.

The croup
The croup is of good length, slightly sloping downward, wide and muscled, not overly rounded or pointed (narrow pin bones). The tail should not be set on too low. Especially the gluteal muscle should be long and well developed.

The ribs
The ribs are of good length and curved, providing space for heart and lungs. The belly is not round and has sufficient depth towards the rear.

The legs
The forelegs are properly positioned. Viewed from the front, they are perpendicular with a hoof’s width at the ground. Viewed from the side, they are perpendicular down through the fetlock joint; the pastern is at a 45-degree angle to the ground. The canon bone of the foreleg should not be too long; the forearm, however, should have good length. The pastern is of good length and is resilient. The hooves are wide and sound. Viewed from the rear, the hind legs are straight. Viewed from the side they are properly positioned, strong, with good strong hooves. The hind cannon is slightly longer than in front, while the gaskin is of sufficient length and well muscled. The joints, of the forelegs as well as of the hind legs, are well developed, cry, providing a good foundation. At the hock, the angle should be about 150 degrees, while at the hind legs the pastern is at an angle of about 55 degrees to the ground.

The walk
The walk should be straight, powerful and springy, with good length of stride, coming from the shoulder with adequate thrust from the hindquarters. The hind legs should be brought well under the body.

The trot
The trot is reaching and elevated, with power from the hindquarters. The trot is light footed with a moment of suspension and sufficient flexion at the hock.

Canter
The canter is lively and sustained, with sufficient power from the hindquarters and flexion at the hock.

Use
The Friesian horse is used in various disciplines, being:

  • Show driving,
  • Driving
  • Mixed competitions,
  • Endurance,
  • Dressage under saddle
  • Recreation


Breeding Performance Horses

With the increased popularity of the Friesian breed over the last 10 years in South Africa it has been very important for breeders to provide a more modern, athletic horse for the market. These horses are what the International Judges are looking for, a performance horse.

These performance horses are used in various equestrian sports: show driving, combined driving, dressage under saddle and recreation. To become more competitive in all sports, attention should be given to the following breed characteristics;

  • strong, powerful hind quarters
  • a luxurious horse that is not too heavy, but has ample power
  • a long, sloping shoulder
  • hard, dry legs
  • light-footed movements with a moment of suspension
  • size neither too small nor too large; the ideal range of height is 1.59 - 1.63 meters (15.2½ to 16.0 hands)
  • sufficiently long and well muscled forearm and gaskin
  • strong, smooth transition from loin to croup; long and well developed gluteal muscle
  • good, wide hoofs with proper heels
  • good head/neck connection
  • an honest character, eager to work
  • stamina