Friesian horse– 7 facts about the “black pearls”

Photo of author

By Arham Mughal

Published on:

They are considered “black pearls”: Friesian horses are very popular nowadays. Their history, on the other hand, is changeable. The horse breed was trendy in the Middle Ages but was threatened with extinction at the beginning of the 20th century. In this article, we explain has 7 exciting facts about the real Black Beauties.

Black from mane to hoof – that’s how they should be, the Friesians. Anyone who loves markings on the horse’s face is in the wrong place because the black fur shouldn’t bother anything. A small star is only allowed for mares. So it’s no wonder that many see them as the true Black Beauties. Friesian horses look very attractive and stunning because of their color and beauty, and that’s the reason people like these horses.

But it’s not their appearance, but rather their character that makes Friesians ideal family horses. They are considered patient, gentle, and reliable. If you want to know more about the black pearls I have written 7 facts about the black pearls in this article. 

Here is a slightly different breed portrait:

1. Julius Caesar already liked Friesians

The history of the Friesian horse is old – and eventful. Julius Caesar (100-44 BC) is said to have been impressed by them after he saw them among the Fristii tribe. The Romans also turned the original Frisian into an export hit – and brought it to England, for example. For example, these Friesians influenced the Dales ponies and Shire horses.

Back then, the Friesians were still cold-blooded animals. The frieze as we know it today only emerged in the 16th and 17th centuries. At that time Spanish troops were attacking Friesland. And while the Spanish ruled in the north, they left their mark. They crossed their Spanish horses with the Frisian farm horses. A new breed emerged that was reminiscent of the cold-blooded past, but from now on was considered a warm-blooded animal.

2. They almost died out twice

In the Middle Ages, they shone as war horses, in the Baroque era they pulled the stately carriages at court, then they showed their talent for the high school – and yet the Friesians were twice on the brink of breeding. The reason: Suddenly they are no more “in”…

And that had consequences. The breeding regulations were strict and it was not possible to adapt to contemporary tastes. Therefore, the breeding of pure Friesian horses was neglected. In 1913 there were just three stallions left: Prins 109, Alva 113, and Friso 117. And with them, the breed would have died out if some breeders had not fought to save it. Because they were not only good workhorses but also a piece of Dutch history. And unique – after all, the Friesian is the only Dutch horse breed.

After the Second World War, agriculture switched to tractors – and the Friesians lost their importance again. But they were lucky again and were rediscovered as leisure horses.

With the “new edition,” there was also a change. In the past, the Friesian horses were often brown, but now they were strictly selected. There should only be black Friesians. The breed began its triumphal march in Germany in 1980: At that time, Friesians were shown here for the first time at the “EuroCheval”. And they took the audience’s hearts by storm.

3. Animal stars in front of the camera

Speaking of spectators: Black Zossen often plays the main role in films. In the US production “Ladyhawke – the Day of the Falcon” a Frisian plays alongside Rutger Hauer, Matthew Broderick, and Michelle Pfeiffer. And a Frisian also fought for justice alongside “Zorro” – twice. In the first film, Toronado was played by a Friesian named Casey, whom Antonio Banderas rode in most scenes as Zorro. Another Frisian who portrayed Toronado in this film was Duke.

In the second part, “The Legend of Zorro”, the Frisian Ariaan was mostly in front of the camera. The Friesian El Lobo jumped just for a “stunt”: it is he who seems to cross his legs drunk…

Friesian horses are in “The Hunger Games – Catching Fire”. At the start of the games, Katniss, played by Jennifer Lawrence, and the other tributes are presented in carriages drawn by Friesians.

Friesian horses are also in “300”. When the villain (Persian Emissary) of this movie is about to meet the hero (Leonidas I), the Persian approaches him on horseback

The famous Friesian horse has also played a role in upcoming movies. You can watch the related footage on the YouTube link below.

4. These celebrities swear by fries

In America, Martha Stewart is the queen of lifestyle. In her private life, she is one thing above all: an animal lover. And so she spends her time in the saddle. Several Friesians live on the TV cook’s farm. Just for Christmas, Martha Stewart gave herself two new Friesians – flown in from the Netherlands.

Politicians also rely on Friesians. Andrea Nahles has been riding since she was a child and owns the Friesian gelding Siebke. “Horses are wonderful animals; they have accompanied us humans for thousands of years. I love a horseback ride in the autumn landscape. “It clears my head,” she said in an interview.

 5. Friesians in harness racing

Okay, it was Hungarian farmers who “invented” harness racing. But the Friesians ensured the triumphal march around the world. In Friesland too, trotting races were often held on the village streets. A custom that Frisian emigrants also took with them to America. There they organized a trotting race on September 28, 1728, as an old Frisian popular entertainment – a first for America. With success! Harness racing quickly increased and the sport spread around the world. And people are still playing this game.

6. Friesian horse in big sport

For a long time they were considered eye-catchers in shows – but not in the dressage arena. But now the Friesians no longer have an exceptional position here either. Her breakthrough came in October 2020 when the Dutch Friesian Horse Stud Book (KFPS) was accepted as a member of the World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses (WBFSH). This meant that the Friesian was officially recognized as a sport horse. That means: Friesian horses are also allowed to take part in the World Championships for young dressage horses.

7. 264 hooves for the Guinness Book of Records

In 2019, the Friesians also made it into the Guinness Book of Records. 132 won the coveted entry. At the “Equitana” in Mannheim, the Friesians, who came together from all over Germany, formed the “ largest quadrille in the world ”. To do this, they moved in a formation for five minutes and showed the required figures at a walk and trot: a circle, a diagonal, and a center line.


In conclusion, Friesians, often referred to as “black pearls,” have a rich and varied history that spans centuries. From being admired by Julius Caesar to facing near extinction twice, these horses have not only survived but have also become iconic in various fields.

The breed’s resilience is evident in its ability to adapt to changing times, from serving as war horses in the Middle Ages to later becoming stars in films such as “Ladyhawke” and “The Legend of Zorro.” Friesian horses have even made appearances in popular events like “The Hunger Games – Catching Fire.”

Beyond their on-screen presence, Friesian horses have found favor with notable individuals like lifestyle queen Martha Stewart and politician Andrea Nahles, showcasing their popularity among celebrities.

Friesian horses have excelled in diverse domains, including harness racing, where they played a pivotal role in the global spread of the sport. Furthermore, their recent acceptance as sport horses by the World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses marks a significant milestone, allowing them to participate in events like the World Championships for young dressage horses.

The breed’s collective strength was also demonstrated in 2019 when 264 Friesians came together to form the “largest quadrille in the world,” earning them a coveted spot in the Guinness Book of Records.

In essence, the Friesians have not only survived the challenges of history but have also flourished in contemporary times, earning their place as beloved and versatile “black pearls” in the world of horses.

"Passionate dog trainer with years of experience. Transforming pups into well-behaved companions through positive reinforcement and love."

1 thought on “Friesian horse– 7 facts about the “black pearls””

Leave a Comment