The Friesian horse is a versatile and willing horse. The purpose of use of the Friesian horse varies from recreational use to participation at the highest levels of competition sport.
They excel in the world of show driving, combined driving and dressage (modern and classic) however, they are also used in a range of other disciplines such as in-hand showing, ridden showing, Le Trec, stunt work, and even the odd Show Jumping and Eventing Friesian is seen. They also make wonderful, recreational/pleasure horses.
The main disciplines in which the Friesian horse is used in Great Britain and Ireland are described below.
The Friesian horse has increasingly developed itself as a sports horse over the past decades, returning it to its origins before the agricultural interlude. The Friesian’s origin is of a luxuriant and aristocratic carriage horse. Today, thanks to its typical functional characteristics, the Friesian horse now competes with other breeds at the highest levels of equestrian sports. The horses that were bred for use in agriculture were more short-legged and compact than their ancestors, with forelegs a bit behind the vertical and a broad chest. With this broad chest, the horse was better able to throw itself ‘into the harness’ and in so doing develop more pulling power. These exterior characteristics are less functional these days in the riding arena or in harness and driving hor
ses. Nonetheless, the heavier and short-legged type is still much in evidence, partly because this type was bred for so many years and multiple generations are needed before it disappears from the breed. For work under the saddle and driving sports a functional build is key. The horse’s body must have an ‘uphill’ slope. With this ‘uphill’ build, the distribution of weight is brought more onto the hindquarters in motion, enabling the horse to ‘carry’ more with its hindquarters. For an uphill build, a relatively long foreleg is important, as well as the stance of the foreleg. The stance of the foreleg is linked to the shoulder, whereby an angled and long shoulder provide the horse space to extend its foreleg far out to the front. The harness horse often has a bit more vertical neckline than the riding and driving horse. For animals of all purposes, the horse must move fluidly through its entire body, with a powerful hindquarters that transmits movements forward, enabling the horse to ‘grow’ in front, a desired trait for both riding under the saddle and for driving in front of the wagon. For harness horses a lot of knee action is desirable (but not this alone, as it must be combined with spaciousness of gaits and a ‘carrying’ hindquarters), while for riding horses and also driving horses, extravagant knee action is not always appreciated. For all purposes, a correct leg stance is a must.
Funerals and the Friesian Horse
The Friesian Horse has always been the accepted horse to the funeral profession mainly because of its temperament, presence and colour. In Victorian times there were reckoned to be at least 700 in the London area alone. In those days they were brought over in barges via Antwerp from Friesland; sometimes 200 at a time and then sold at the Elephant and Castle horse repository in London. T. Cribb & Sons
T. Cribb & Sons were at one time to have 8 stallions in their stables, but, by the Second World War six remained; those six were to go in 1943 by which time cars were taking over and unfortunately no fresh stock were available because of the occupation of Holland. Forty two years later (1985) Cribbs were to bring Horse Drawn Funerals back into their business. It all started with finding a horse drawn hearse in a collection of farm vehicles at Epping. This hearse had been built by Dotteridge Brothers of London, circa 1900 and after inspection was found to be structurally sound and the vehicle was restored to its former glory. To date three more hearses stand alongside the Dotteridge, together with a Mourners Coach, Floral Carriage and a Landau, all maintained in immaculate condition. A visit to Friesland was inevitable and the first two Friesian horses were purchased with four more to follow. Harness was to come next and there was no doubt that it had to be the same as Grandfather Toms (the Founder of T. Cribbs). The harness used today is an exact replica of his; the initials of the Company adorn the harness having been carefully copied from old photographs. Besides their funeral commitments the horses are to be seen (work permitting) at shows where they appear very successfully in Light Trade Classes . Some of the achievements being Champions Bucks County 91-92, Royal Windsor 92-94, Herts County 88-96, Light Trade Champions BDS 91-92 and BHS Championship at Windsor in 1998. 2 purpose built lorries convey the horses, hearses and all necessary equipment to their destinations. To care for all the horses and this equipment Cribbs employ 3 full time coachmen, Messrs. Charles Raymond, Peter Gibson and Phillip Sharp. The Harrods Coach and Horse Team The Harrods Stable used to operate 8 Friesian horses from their Knightsbridge stables situated under the store in part of the Goods Receiving Bay. 4 horses, for a week at a time, are stabled and worked in London and then return to Mr Al Fayed's Surrey estate when the other 4 take over. Deliveries were made daily to local hotels and palaces within an approximate four mile radius of the store working mornings and afternoons up to 5 hours a day driven by the then Head Coachman David West. A team of horses regularly transported celebrities such as Diana Ross, Joan Collins, or Burt Reynolds to the store in one of Mr. Fayeds collection of carriages to enable them to arrive in style on such occasions as the opening of the famous Harrods January Sale or perhaps the launching of their latest book. The most popular carriage for the stars being the open topped landau or an elegant omnibus. The horses attend as many shows as possible throughout the country such as Royal Windsor, The Royal Norfolk, the National Championships, Chatsworth etc. with great success. The stallions and geldings were all purchased from different farms in Friesland; brought over as three year olds and initially broken to harness on the estate before being introduced to London traffic at about four years old.
Friesians are now being accepted as a top class Sports horse and they are seen more frequently in the dressage arena.
Gold members of FHAGBI can gain access to a series of articles specifically about training the Friesian horse in dressage via the KFPS website. To obtain a username and password please email the KFPS directly with your FHAGBI membership number. The articles are located in the Library section of the website.
FHAGBI DRESSAGE LEAGUES - RULES
Eligibility/general rules - both leagues
The leagues will run from 1st January to 31st December each year.
The rider must be a FHAGBI member, either gold, silver or bronze.
The horse must be KFPS registered, it need not be owned by the rider.
Scores are based on horse/rider combinations. The same horse with a different rider, and the same rider with different horses are all scored as separate combinations.
Only scores obtained during the period of a rider's membership will be counted. For example - a person joining FHAGBI in August cannot declare scores they obtained in January to July of that year.
Only scores of 60% and over count, they accrue points on the same scale British Dressage use (however weighting will apply - see each league for further information).
A combination can take part in both leagues, however cannot compete in the unaffiliated league at a level lower than they are competing at BD.
Standard BD scoring scale
60.00 - 61.99% 1
62.00 - 63.99% 2
64.00 - 65.99% 3
66.00 - 67.99% 4
68.00 - 69.99% 5
70.00 - 71.99% 6
72.00 - 73.99% 7
74.00 - 75.99% 8
76.00 - 77.99% 9
78.00 - 79.99% 10
80.00% and above 11
There is a league at every level - Intro upwards. There will be a prize for first place at each level. A combination who wins the Intro league in any given year cannot compete at Intro in subsequent years.
You can enter leagues at two consecutive levels e.g. Intro/Prelim, Prelim/Novice, Novice/ Elementary. If you submit Elementary scores you cannot compete in the Prelim league, likewise Novice/Intro.
Scores 60% and over from unaffiliated dressage competitions will count in the league. There will be no weighting of points except for Dressage Anywhere (video) competitions where points at all levels will be given a weight of half.
Submission of scores
Competitors need to email/message photos of their unaffiliated score sheets to Helen Sinclair. The sheet needs to show the date/name of horse and rider/score. Please do not hoard them and send them all in at once at the end of the year.
There is one prize/trophy for the overall winner of the league. The winner is the combination with most points.
Only scores posted on the BD website will count, a weighting will be applied to these to reflect the difficulty of the test.
Prelim - half weight
Novice and elementary - standard weight
Medium and above - double weight
Team Quest and all music tests (irrespective of level of test) will also be scored at half weight as these tests are not given grading points by BD.
Submission of scores
There is no need to send test sheets in, your scores will be accessed direct from the BD database.
Declaration of Result
It can take weeks for the BD website to be updated with all scores. Those taking part in the affiliated league should email Helen Sinclair at the end of the league year, when they have assessed that all their scores are showing on the BD website and are ready for the final count.
For more information about taking your Friesian affiliated or to tell us about your dressage experiences, please contact us.
FHAGBI committee members have worked hard in recent years to encourage show organisers to put on classes suitable for KFPS Registered Friesian horses. An exciting development in 2012 was the first ever official Friesian 'Showing Show' which was held in August as part of the Festival of Champions show at the Yorkshire Showground. There was also the first Friesian classes at a County show, the Royal Berkshire. The Royal Berkshire will continue to offer classes to Registered Friesians. It has taken some time but there are more opportunities to show off your beauties than ever before.
FHAGBI SHOWING RULES AND REGULATIONS
1. INTRODUCTION AND GENERAL OBLIGATIONS
The Rules set out in this book apply to all Members of The Friesian Horse Association of Great Britain & Ireland Ltd. (FHAGBI) including those who own horses registered with the Association. In particular, the Rules are made so that Members may compete fairly against each other in Friesian classes.
The Directors of FHAGBI have the power to discipline members in shows run by or affiliated to FHAGBI in the event of failure to observe any provisions of the Rules and any other regulations. Every member of FHAGBI, by becoming a member, agrees to be bound by all rules and regulations of the Association of FHAGBI.
Members are responsible for the actions of any non-members employed by them or assisting or representing them or otherwise acting on their behalf and any action or conduct of such non-member which would be a breach of the Rules were he/she a member shall constitute a breach of the Rules by the Member responsible for him/her.
All horses exhibited in Friesian Horse classes run in accordance with these Rules must be duly registered with The KFPS unless the show rules state otherwise.
Owners, Riders and Producers of horses competing in specified Friesian classes run in accordance with these Rules must be Members of the Association.
Members of FHAGBI, whether acting as officials or Judges of the Society or otherwise, must not act in any way derogatory to the character and reputation of FHAGBI or prejudicial to the interests of the Association.
No exhibitor may enter and show a horse under a Judge whom they know, or should have known, to have bred, sold, produced or received financial gain from that horse.
At no time should an exhibitor attempt to influence a judge by offering any information regarding their exhibit.
It is the responsibility of exhibitors to ensure that both the information given on show entry forms is accurate and that horses compete in the correct class.
Horses registered with The KFPS must be shown with their registered name, age and description, a change of horses name is not allowed.
The person in whose name the horse is entered at an affiliated show will be held responsible for abiding by the both these General Rules and Regulations of the Show.
All ages date from 1st January, e.g. a foal becomes a yearling on the first day of January following the date of its birth.
The Association discourages the showing of overweight horses and Judges will take this into consideration when making their awards.
The Rules & Regulation will be updated periodically and new updates will be available on the FHAGBI website.
FHAGBI, its officials and judges:
Accept no liability in respect of damage to a horse or its exhibitor or other person responsible for it at or en route to a show or other event held by the Association.
Accept no liability in respect of damage arising from a horse at or en route to a show or other event held by the Association.
Accept no liability for financial loss for their decisions at, or in respect of, a show or other event held by the Association.
Owners and those otherwise responsible for horses must ensure that they, and those in any way involved with their horses.
Are aware of these General Rules and, in particular, the Association's exclusion of liability above.
Have adequate third party insurance cover.
Participate at their own risk.
Once a judge has commenced judging a class, a horse or rider may not leave the ring without the permission of the Judge and Ring Steward, nor shall there be any change of rider or leader, except in a Championship Class, when a competitor finds he/she has more than one exhibit eligible to compete. In the event of a judge being injured from a horse it is at that judges discretion as to whether they feel fit to continue judging. In the event of the judge not being fit to continue riding, a replacement judge may be found. Competitors will not be allowed to enter the ring after the horses have commenced trotting as a class. In ridden classes horses will enter the ring as a class and be seen in walk, trot and canter before being called in and asked to do an individual show. The Judge will NOT ride the horse but horses may be stripped of their saddles for judges to see the conformation.
3.2. Breed Characteristics
Racial Type: A jet-black colour with no white markings (only a small star is permitted), a noble head with small attentive ears. Slightly inclining towards one another, a vertical swan neck, a luxurious long flowing mane and tail, and a proud bearing.
Frame: Harmoniously built and well proportioned. A strong back joining a croup of good length, which should not slope too much. A sloping shoulder and good depth of girth with well sprung ribs. An uphill built horse with an ideal height at the withers of 160 cm at 3 years old. There is no upper height limit.
Legs and Feet: Strong, clean, correct legs and feet with a well developed forearm.
Walk: Straight, with sufficient length and power, elegant and smooth.
Trot: Characterised by a high knee action, powerful, long, balanced and supple.
3.3. Judging a Ridden Class
Friesian Horses to be judged 50% conformation and breed characteristics and 50% ride, manners and presentation in ring. When judging ridden classes, judges should expect to see a Friesian walk, trot, canter and sometimes extend. In the ridden show it should be remembered the Friesian has its own way of going. An active, ground-covering walk is required and a good suspension in the trot. The latter is generally regarded as the Friesian horses "true" pace and as such should demonstrate good hock action. At the canter, whilst many Friesian horses are well balanced and collected, they should not be heavier on the forehand than some lighter breeds. Judges must not handle or attempt to pick up the feet of a Friesian whilst it is mounted.
If, in the opinion of the Judge, a horse is unsound, the exhibitor shall be given the option of withdrawing the horse from the class, or being placed at the bottom of the line. If this option is not accepted a Veterinary Surgeon may be called but if not immediately available, then the Judge's decision is final.
5. FALL OF HORSE OR RIDER
In the event of a fall of either horse or rider in any ridden class, that exhibit will be asked to retire and must not be remounted in the ring.
6. MANNERS - IN HAND & RIDDEN CLASSES
A Judge may ask an exhibitor to remove this horse from the ring, if in his/her opinion the horse or the exhibitor is ill-mannered. If in the opinion of the judge the behaviour of a horse is deemed unacceptable, it will be reported to FHAGBI and will be reassessed at it's next show by a person appointed by the Association.
7. USE OF THE WHIP - IN HAND & RIDDEN CLASSES
The use of a whip must be:
For good reason - the whip must only be used either as an aid to encourage the horse forward or as a reprimand. Thus it must never be used to vent a rider's temper. Any use for such a reason is automatically excessive and therefore a breach of rules.
With appropriate severity - as a reprimand only and a horse should never be hit more than three times for any one incident and if a horse is injured by a whip, e.g. if the skin is broken or there is a weal, it's use is excessive and therefore a breach of rules.
8. DRESS, TACK AND TURNOUT IN HAND & RIDDEN CLASSES
The appropriate dress codes are set out below but may be varied by Affiliated Shows with the Society's permission.
8.1. Dress - Ridden
Tweed coat or plain blue or black coat.
Plain fawn, cream or buff coloured breeches, not white.
Plain black or brown boots. Plain black or brown gaiters may be worn with same colour short boots
Exhibitors may wear spurs. Spurs at all times must be of smooth metal. There must be a shank, pointing only towards the rear, which must be no more than 3.5cm long and without rowels. The end must be blunt and incapable of wounding a horse. If the shank is curved, the spurs must be worn only with the shank directed downwards.
Brown or black gloves.
Plain Malacca or leather cane/whip NO schooling/dressage whips allowed.
Collared shirt and ordinary tie. Tie must be pinned down.
A skull cap or hat and safety harness according to the current approved BSI or European Standard must be worn by ALL competitors, Skull caps must have a navy blue or black cover.
No earrings or visible jewellery should be worn.
Anyone on a horse at a Show must wear a hard hat. A skull cap or hat and safety harness according to the current approved BSI or European Standard must be worn by ALL mounted competitors. Skull caps must have a navy blue or black cover.
8.2. Dress - In hand
It is strongly recommended that protective headgear should be worn.
Plain brown or black gloves.
Plain Malacca or leather cane/whip - NOschooling/dressage whips allowed.
Men should wear a suit or coat/jacket and trousers, collar and tie.
Women may wear a coat/jacket, skirt or trousers with a collar and tie.
No earrings or visible jewellery should be worn.
Competitors may also wear ridden attire if competing in the ridden section
It is the responsibility of exhibitors to ensure that grooms entering the Show Ring are smartly and professionally turned out. Grooms must wear a hat when in the ring.
No tack may be worn which in any way conceals an animal's conformation.
No boots or bandages of any description are allowed in the ring.
No rugs, clothing or item of tack that reveals the identity of a horse or owner may be worn in the show ring or promotes a sponsorship or business.
NO WHITE INSPECTION/KEURING BRIDLES ALLOWED IN ANY SHOWING CLASSES.
Plain black or brown leather bridles must be worn.
Bitless bridles and Wilkie snafflesare not allowed.
NO martingales or breastplates are allowed but neck straps are permitted.
Simple Snaffle bridles must be worn as per rules for British Eventing Dressage.
No Western Saddles in any classes.
Plain discreet saddle shaped pad, cloth or numnah.
8.4. Turnout - Horse
Horses should be presented for judging in a natural state.
Trimming is allowed around the face (ears, beard and small bridle strip).
Guard hairs may be neatened but must be left on around the eyes and muzzle.
A small white star is allowed but any other white markings are prohibited.
Horses may be judged shod or unshod but the use of weighted shoes is not permitted.
Horse make up is not permitted.
9. INSTRUCTIONS TO SHOWS
The show rules should clearly state that the show is affiliated to FHAGBI and subject to its rules and that copies of FHAGBI'S Showing Rules can be obtained from the Association on request.
A minimum of two classes, i.e. In-Hand & Ridden, should always be scheduled at Affiliated Shows, but Secretaries may use their discretion in combining classes if insufficient entries are forward on the day.
Affiliated Shows are required to ensure that they have adequate insurance cover for Judges. The following General Regulation should be included in Prize Schedules and Show Catalogues: "The Organisers of Shows have taken reasonable precautions to ensure the health and safety of everyone present. For these measures to be effective, everyone must take all reasonable precautions to avoid and prevent accidents occurring and must obey the instructions of the Organisers and all the Officials and Stewards."
9.3. Objections at shows
Any objection or complaint relating to the rules of a particular Show Executive should be made to that show's Executive in accordance with the procedure set out in that show's Rules.
Warning to Members, Owners and Producers of Horses Competing under the Associations Show Regulations.
In common with other similar bodies, FHAGBI takes a very serious view of doping, whether intentional or unintentional. Members, owners and producers should be aware that many proprietary feeds and preparations contain Prohibited Substances, as do many foods such as chocolate. The presence in any form, in a horse being shown, of a substance, which could, by its nature, affect its performance, is forbidden. The specific rules with regard to doping are set out below and any breach thereof constitutes a breach of the General Rules.
FHAGBI does not specify threshold levels for any Prohibited Substances but will have regard to those published by the F.E.I. (www.fei.org) or any subsequent regulatory board from time to time without being bound by them. Feeds and preparations are available which are guaranteed to comply with F.E.I. doping rules. Prohibited Substances can be absorbed through the skin and they are also contained in some homeopathic and herbal remedies. It is the responsibility of the person having custody of a horse, to ensure that nothing is fed, administered or applied to a horse that contains a Prohibited Substance.
10.1. Prohibited Substances
"Prohibited Substance" means any quantity of any substance originating externally (whether or not indigenous to the horse) which could influence the horse's performance or bearing including without limitation stimulants, depressants, tranquillizers, local anaesthetics, anti-inflammatory agents (including phenylbutazone), antihistamines, muscle relaxants, diuretics and metabolite of any such substance or masking agents and such other substance as may be declared a "Prohibited Substance" in these rules or by the F.E.I.
10.2. List of Prohibited Substances
Substances capable at any time of acting on one or more of the following mammalian body systems:
The nervous system
The cardiovascular system
The respiratory system
The digestive system
The urinary system
The reproductive system
The musculoskeletal system
The blood system
The immune system except for licensed vaccines against infectious agents
The endocrine system
Endocrine secretions and their synthetic counterparts
For the purposes of clarity Prohibited Substances include:
Anti-pyretics, analgesics, and anti-inflammatory substances
Sex hormones, anabolic agents and corticosteroids
Substances affecting blood coagulation
Such other substances as may be declared a Prohibited Substance by the F.E.I.
Any objection or complaint relating to the rules of a particular Show Executive should be made to that show's Executive in accordance with the procedure set out in that show's Rules.
Permitted Snaffles are the ordinary/plain snaffle with a straight bar or joint in the centre. If a snaffle has two joints, all parts must be rounded and smooth. Only the bits mentioned below are permitted and they may be used with any of the cheeks or rings mentioned.
Ordinary snaffle with double-jointed mouthpiece
Ordinary snaffle with double-jointed mouthpiece (French Link)
Ordinary snaffle with double-jointed mouthpiece with Lozenge
Ordinary snaffle with jointed mouthpiece
Racing snaffle (D ring)
Egg-butt snaffle: a) without cheeks b) with cheeks
Other type of snaffle with cheeks
Snaffle with upper cheeks only
Rubber, leather, plastic or steel snaffle jointed or unjointed snaffle
Hanging cheek snaffle
Unjointed wavy snaffle (plastic or rubber only) a) without cheeks b) with cheeks
Ordinary snaffle with rotating mouthpiece
Permitted bridoon and curb bits
Ordinary bridoon bit
Bridoon bit with two joints
Egg-butt bridoon bit
Bridoon bit with hanging cheeks
Half moon curb bit
Curb bit with curved cheeks and port
Curb bit with loops for lipstrap on the cheeks and with port
Curb bit with port and sliding mouthpiece (Weymouth)
Rubber cover for curb chain
Leather cover for curb chain
Note: All bridoon bits mentioned above are permitted either as a snaffle or as part of a double bridle. A double bridle should always consist of a broken (simple or double) and a straight bit. Any of the rings or cheeks mentioned is permitted with any of the bits.
(Wording taken from British Eventing)
Although many Friesian horses are competing at the highest levels of competitive sport, with their kind, friendly and willing nature, they can also make wonderful family and recreational horses. If you are searching for a horse to enjoy a non-competitive 'quieter' life with, there really is nothing quite like a Friesian to enjoy it with. They are renowned to thrive on human company, often developing deep bonds with their owner/family due to their wonderfully amicable and loyal nature.
Companionship, happy hacking, cantering through the woods, fun rides, beach rides, clinics and outings to local shows, Friesian's tick every box.
Wherever they go, be it out on a local hack or in an international dressage or driving arena, Friesian's are sure to turn heads and soften hearts.