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23 February 2019   
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Netherlands Breeds of Horse

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One of oldest breeds in Europe taking its name from Friesland in the north of the Netherlands, where a heavy horse existed as far back as 1000 BC. This horse has been a significant influence on several other breeds, in particular Gt Britain's Fell pony and Dales pony and in Germany the Oldenburg.

Andalusian blood was introduced during the Eighty Years War when Spain occupied the Netherlands. During the seventeenth century the Friesian became popular, as it was suited not only to working the land in harness but also as an active weight carrying horse under saddle. The Friesians high stepping action and ability to trot at speed increased its popularity during the nineteenth century when trotting races became the fashion. To further improve the speed of the Friesian for these races, it was crossed with other trotters. This produced a lighter, less useful farm horse and resulted in the breed going into a decline between World War 1 and World War 11. The breed was revived at the beginning of the Second World War with the aid of imported Oldenburg stallions. Farmers once again used the horses for draught work, as there were fuel shortages.

Today the breed is flourishing as a very attractive all rounder. The sweet temperament and active paces make it an extremely successful show horse and carriage horse. It stands at between 15 and 16h.h. and it is always black with no white markings. It has a fine attractive head with alert ears and bright eyes; the neck is arched with a long flowing mane; powerful, sloping shoulders; a short, strong back; compact body; strong muscular hindquarters with a fairly low set, thick, flowing tail; the limbs are short and strong with good bone and some feather on the fetlocks; good, sound, hard feet. The Friesian is an exceptionally attractive little horse, noted for its good conformation and kind disposition.

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