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Friesans in dressage?
So, some of you may have read my thread about selling my pony so I can move on in my riding career. First and foremost I have been warmblood shopping but today I was thinking...
I've always had a soft spot for Friesans. It seems they aren't too common in general, much less in dressage compared to the warmbloods that take the scene by storm. However, I was wondering what people's opinions on Friesans are? I'm looking for something that will go FEI, so I may be barking up completely the wrong tree (as I know next to nothing about them and their breeding; I'm a warmblood enthusiast) and I know my coach would choke if I asked about one haha.
I'll put it out there at the risk of having my head bitten off by the friesian lovers.
They are cart horses. Not many make great dressage horses, especially at FEI. Sure, they look flashy and can bend their joints. But unless you get a REALLY special one, their hocks are out behind and they have no extension to speak of. Instead of lengthening the stride, they just come higher.
They are naturally leg movers, not back movers. So again, flashy legs, but their back stays stuck like riding an ironing board.
Nice horses if you want to play in the lower levels and get good scores for having a fancy horse (have to love judges who can be blown away by black, hairy and fancy), but FEI they tend to fizzle out. As I said, you can get the odd one, just like the you the off arab, thoroughbred, quarterhors, morgan etc etc etc that will climb up the ranks. There's a couple of FEI friesian stallions here in Australia, but they are very VERY rarely in even the top 10 placings of a small field. And if they are, it's not usually in a big competition.
I'd take a good look at what you REALLY want. Do you want to be competitive in the FEI levels, or would you prefer to have a really lovely looking horse to have some fun on but not be immensely competitive? If you want to be competive.... find a black warmblood - best of both worlds :P
I absolutely love Freisans and they are a blast to ride but I have to agree with alot of what Kayty said. At one point there were six of them at the barn where I board but most of them stayed @ 2nd level and below. My coach has one that does PSG but even she would tell you that you will face prejudice from the judges as well as you will have to find that exceptional horse that can do the upper level movements. I'm not saying that they aren't out there because they are but they are hard to find at the upper levels.
As an FEI prospect? Your money is better spent on a quality Warmblood. Really. For the amount you'd have to spend to get a decent Friesian that would take you to FEI, you can get a fabulous Warmblood that's for sure going to get you there.
... and I'm a Friesian lover :)
JDI, yep they do have the more sporthorse 'types', but even these are still not doing brilliantly. It will take a lot more refining to get them competitive as a breed in dressage. I've seen some quite nice friesian x wbs, but again they are quite cart horsey, with hocks out behind and quite gooserumped.
My 2 yr old hanoverian is agisted with a rising 3 yr old friesian gelding. It's interesting watching the differences in them when they move around the paddock together. My youngster seems to 'float' over the ground, while the friesian looks pretty flash with its joint action but tends to 'clomp' around the paddock, hocks out behind and no movement in its back whatsoever. And it's a 'sporthorse type'.
Of the three Fresian crosses I know, only one is past 2nd level. I don't know any purebreds. The FresianxQH cross is stunningly beautiful. Superb trail horse. Has been on Dressage training 5 days a week and shows only at first level, occasionally second. Always wins ribbons at first, generally places just out of the ribbons at second. The FresianXMorgan I know...same thing except he loves jumping - his owner doesn't, LOL so he jumps when he wants on the trail. 5 days a week of Dressage training and is solidly first level but no more. Now the third one is a gem. She is a FresianxArab cross. Amazingly beautiful. Somehow came out with a smallish but vey stock Arab body with a defInitely mixed set of features. She is solidly showing second level, schooling third and should be moving on to showing third sometime this year.
I think the Fresians are lovely but not really made for the higher levels of Dressage. You'd surely see more of them if they were.
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I'm with Kayty... For the money Friesian costs around here you better look into WB (or Andi - I love Andis).
BTW, I believe Julio Mendoza (my local) trains and shows Friesians (or crosses) quite successfully: News
P.S. Although I'm biased, I don't like Friesians... :)
You mean to tell me I shouldn't go buy one just 'cause it's purdy?! :wink: lol kidding of course...
I figured that it would be the general consensus that friesans aren't typically an upper level horse but that there are exceptions to everything. I'm not wanting to get another mediocre horse to putz around on in hopes that it might make 4th level if I'm lucky. Got two of those already :lol: . I'm looking for another powerhouse horse to be close to on par with my other moose of a warmblood...something that will (almost) for sure go FEI (again...not everything goes as planned). I'm looking to advance my riding with another horse like my other boy, not stay where I am just cause I want a pretty, hairy, shiny black horse lol.
I like Andis, but I'd be worried it would finish too small for me, as I am about 6' tall and need something for sure over 16 hands. The baroque breeds are usually smaller and more compact, yes? (maybe I'm wrong..I don't know anything about them either other than they are beautiful!)
Maybe one day they'll be more of a sport horse type. But it would also be sad to see them lose their classical look which is what so many people love. I think it will be interesting to see where the breed goes in dressage.
Andalusians, and other baroque breeds, can be on the shorter side (not always, my andi mix's PRE father was 16.1hh), but there's also fairly tall ones. But more importantly, they tend to be really wide around the barrel, so there's plenty of space for your leg to go!
I always like to think of the Lipizzaners who are on average, what, 15hh? and their riders (tall men from the looks of it usually during their shows!) look right at home-- they have really wide barrels!
I don't understand why advocates of certain breeds (like the friesian) feel the need to alter the once pure breed, to create a more sport horse type animal. If it aint broke, don't fix it!! Want a jumping horse? Buy a jumping bred horse. Want a dressage horse? Buy a dressage bred horse.
The Baroque breeds are great for the collected work, not so much for the extensions. They don't tell to do so well in modern competition now against the warmbloods who can both collect AND extend for a 9 or 10.
Again, there's the exceptions. Obviously Fueugo did very well at WEG, but look at the number of horses up at the top, compare the breeds. At least 95% are warmblood (real warmbloods, not the draftx's that folks to to palm off as WB's). Also note, that the odd horse of a different breed that acheives success at those levels, tends to be a 'freak' of the breed, coupled with an extremely talented rider who has been able to 'create' that horse.
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