Becoming a Friesian Owner

Have you always dreamed of owning a Friesian?  A fairy tale horse with flowing mane, tail, and fluffy feet?  The legends of knights and shining armor, queens being paraded in gilded carriages, intricate dressage moves, lumbering along that enchanted trail in the forest, or an exhilarating carriage performance.  A horse that can do anything and does it well.  It’s the Friesian Horse! 

The horse of our dreams is truly within reach due to dedicated Friesian owners who imported this majestic horse to North America in 1974. 

A Brief History

In 1625, Friesian horses were exported to New Amsterdam (the future New York City). In 1664 the Dutch were forced to leave New Amsterdam to the English, and the purebred Friesian horse was quickly lost.  It wasn’t until 1974 when Thomas Hannon, Canton, Ohio, purchased Friesian horses to be transported via ship across the Atlantic.  More Friesian horses were imported in 1975 and 1977.  Frank Leyendekker had the airline, KLM, design and build crates for the horses to travel in, and Laes (278) arrived in this first shipment.  And the stallions kept coming to the United States, and in 1977, Bouwe 242 was sold to Tom Hannon.  This was the start of a new generation of Friesian Horses in the United States. 

Questions You Should Ask Before Becoming a Friesian Owner

Now that you’ve had a short history lesson, it’s time to dig a little deeper.  As a new potential Friesian owner, do you have many questions?  Where do you start to look for your dream horse?  Do I purchase a baby, or should I look for a more seasoned mount?  Do I want a mare, gelding, or stallion?  What are my goals?  What costs are involved in purchasing a Friesian?  Are their groups those mentor new owners?  And the list of questions goes on….

First, you are not alone.  Our club members are always willing to talk with and educate new potential owners.  We have all been in the same position, and it can be daunting.  Feel free to contact any of our board members for assistance, they have the education and experience to help.  Secondly, it is extremely important to do your research.  If a deal is too good to be true, it likely is not a deal.  Again, reach out and ask questions.  We want your first endeavor with your dream horse to be good! 

Some great options for purchasing a horse are club (chapter) classifieds, Great Lakes Friesian Horse Association members who run small quality breeding barns, Friesian Horse Association of North America classifieds, Fenway Foundation for Friesian Horses, and also Friesian groups on social media.  Just remember to do your research before signing the dotted line.  You are welcome to attend one of our chapter member’s meetings to see what we are all about and network with other Friesian owners. 

Consider Your Goals for Owning a Friesian

Goals?  Do you want to learn dressage or purchase a dressage mount that is already trained?  Are my goals to purchase a baby?  Can I do the training, or do I need to hire a trainer?  Do you want to trail ride now but haven’t ridden in 20 years?  Know your goals, what you want to do with your horse and your abilities.  Costs are no different than any other horse.  Seller’s price $5000-50,000+, transfer costs range from $85-285, import authorization (only used if importing into the USA) $150, Pre-purchase Vet exam (optional but highly suggested) range $200-$1000+ based on the extent of exam given.  You will also need to factor in vaccinations, housing expenses (your barn vs. boarding), equipment, trailering options, daily feeding (hay, grain, supplements), and emergencies.  Basically, you need to know your budget!

Final Thoughts

Becoming a Friesian owner means being a servant and not just the owner.  But having a wonderful partnership with your amazing black pearl.  These horses are truly amazing creatures and love their human counterpart!  Any Friesian owner will tell you they would be hard pressed to not have one in their life!