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A Rare Breed of European Origin
A very recent arrival in New Zealand is the Friesian horse, which originated in Friesland, in the north of Holland.
It is one of the oldest breeds in the world and was originally bred as a working horse. During the Middle Ages its strength and stamina proved most suitable for carrying knights in battle. Later it was used on the land and as a coach horse. It played a significant role in the development of the » Shire Horse.
In recent times it has been used mostly for harness work but also for riding, showing, and dressage.
The Friesian is always jet black in colour and around 16 hands (160-165 centimetres) in height. It is generally strong and compact with a fine head carried high on an elegantly arched neck. It is considered to be extremely placid and willing but requires intelligent handling.
In New Zealand, the Friesian horse population is steadily growing, through both importation and local breeding. In early 2004 there were thirteen Friesians in New Zealand – and more expected.The Rare Breeds Website compilers thank New Zealand Friesian owners for assistance in the preparation of this page.
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