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Guideline for buying a Friesian

With the popularity of the Friesian horse growing in South Africa, we have seen a big increase in the sales of Friesian horses and a price increase relative to the quality of horse now available in South Africa.

Buying a Friesian is a big investment and one that should not be taken lightly.  It is very important to find the right horse to suit the needs of the potential buyer and to ensure that the breeder, the back ground of the horse, and the breeding of the horse have been properly investigated.

Although the FPSSA cannot choose a horse for you we can help the buyer ensure that the horse they intend to buy is registered with the society and that the breeder is in good standing with the FPSSA . There are sadly bad breeders in South Africa and many scams selling Friesian Horses.  The FPSSA offices are aware of some of these and should be able to advise buyers.

Below are some guidelines to help in this process.


  • Only buy from a reputable breeder.
  • The breeder must be a member of the FPSSA.  It is important to remember that there are 2 Friesian societies - the FPSSA (the only studbook affiliated with the mother Studbook the KFPS in Holland) and the SA Friesian Breeders or the Telergenootskap. (affiliated with SA Studbook) Each society registers its own horses.  An easy way to see to which society a horse belongs is through its breeding category.
    • FPSSA horse are categorised by :
      Stb – Studbook
      Vb – Veulenbook
      Bb1 -  Bijboek 1
      Bb2 -  Bijboek 2

    • Stb – Studbook
      Vb – Veulenbook
      Bb1 -  Bijboek 1
      Bb2 -  Bijboek 2
  • Know which society you want to be a member of, as some horses are only registered with one  society and not the other.  So the horse might be registered but not with the society you wish to be a member of.  Some horse may not be eligible to be in incorporated into the FPSSA/KFPS studbook as the breeding is incorrect or not known to the KFPS. All parents  must be registered with the KFPS  and offspring will be verified via DNA.
  • It is important to know what direction you wish to follow with your Friesian.  
    1.    Is it to be a pleasure horse
    2.    A competition  horse
    3.    Or a horse for breeding
    This will determine if the breeding, sport ability, temperament, movement and confirmation suit your needs.
  • There are many aspects that will determine the price of a Friesian -  breeding, training and sport ability.  In the past the Friesian was an inexpensive horse to buy.  Many of our bigger breeders have put much time and effort into importing Friesians into South Africa that have improved the breed.  This has seen the breed in South Africa surge ahead and we are now proud that most of the horses bred by our members are of an international standard.  These horses in turn are proving to be good sport horses with good breeding and therefore carry a higher price.


  • Every FPSSA/KFPS  registered horse comes with a laminated registration paper.  All reputable breeders will be able to produce this paper for the buyer .  In some cases the paper might be unavailable due to processing of paper work in Holland.  The FPSSA office will be able to inform the buyer if the horse paper is indeed being processed and confirm that the horse is registered with the FPSSA.
  • Should you wish the FPSSA to confirm registration you will need the horses registration number and name.
  • Understand the FPSSA/KFPS paper  has a lot of information.  See our  website under The Breeding – Understanding KFPS Registration
  • A pre purchase vet check is advisable.  Consider also x-ray of the legs.  If your intention is to use a mare for breeding a breeding vet check would be recommended.
  • It is unadvisable to buy a horse without seeing or riding it.  Know what you are buying.
  • Know and understand the confirmation and movement of the Friesian horse.


  • Make sure you understand the breeding criteria and breed characteristics set out by the KFPS.
  • Always try to choose horses that will improve the breed.  The FPSSA only recommend that approved breeding stallions are use on mares.  See our website under – Stallions (can we make so they can click on this to open page). Your choice of mare should be compatible with this list of stallions.
  • The mare line is very important for breeding.  Look mainly at Studbook mare (Stb) or Bb1 mares.  
  • Have the mare vet checked for breeding along with a pre purchase vet check.
  • Don’t buy a mare that is too old as conception becomes more difficult.
  • Permits for breeding stallions are very difficult to get.  Make sure that should you wish to buy a stallion for breeding that you have followed all the procedure set out by the KFPS to try to obtain a breeding permit for your stallion – see our website Stallions – application for breeding permission.


  • No matter how much you want your horse to be a beautiful pet it is important to remember that this is a horse.  They need to be treated with respect.
  • Friesians are known for their good temperaments so they are ideally suited for this job.
  • n the case of a pleasure horse, breeding as in what is on the paper, is not as important, so Bb2 horse are a good possibility, but not ruling out the horses with better breeding like Studbook and Bb1 horses.  This would apply to mare, stallions and geldings.
  • Have the horse vet checked before purchase.


  • Know what discipline you wish to be involved with so you are able to choose the horse best suited to your needs
  • Look at confirmation.  In the last 10 years  the Friesian breed has moved more to a modern finer, taller sport horse that is better suited to the rigours of competition.
  • The KFPS have instituted performance tests such as the IBOP or ABFP to test the ability of Friesian horses.  A horse with a good IBOP or ABFP are more likely to be better sport horses.
  • The Friesian is known for its beautiful NATURAL movement.  The FPSSA do not condone any artificial or cruel training method.  These artificial training methods impact hugely on the horses movement and sustainability in the sport arena.
  • Generally the better bred horses that have been breed with sport in mind are a better option in other words Studbook or Bb1 but don’t rule out a Bb2 horse that has good confirmation and movement.
  • Make sure these horses are vet checked with x – rays of the legs to avoid disappointment.

The FPSSA are very proud of how the Friesian breed has improved in South Africa in the last 10 years.  It is important of the society to see the Friesian continue to grow in popularity, to educate, and promote the breed to the best of its ability.
The FPSSA office and board members are happy to assist in any way possible to ensure that the potential buyer  finds the right Friesian, a companion for life.