Thursday, January 5, 2012

More fun with the friesian

Here's the actual horse with his former owner on board. He looks bigger than this in person. Or maybe I'm just short.
I had an awesome lesson on the friesian this week. The trainer tacked up her own friesian, who's schooling grand prix, and brought her out as a lesson aid. Let me tell you, it helps a lot to see how things should be done before trying it yourself!

After warming up, I worked on shoulder-in. She demonstrated first, describing the aids and angle as she went, and then I got to try it. If you don't know already, let me tell you: it's surprisingly easy to ask for too much and get a four-track instead of three. But when you do it right- boy does it feel cool.

We spent most of the lesson working in canter though. I still have issues sometimes with the cue, part of the key is to get him organized and bent into shoulder fore with my inside leg at the girth and then add a "moment of stillness" before I give the aid with my outside leg. If I do it right he strikes off immediately, if I do it wrong I get extended trot. Anyway, after I got him into canter, we started preliminary work on collected vs. extended canter on the right lead. It was SO COOL! I could feel his hindquarters come down and his withers rise, his fore legs tucking in a little tighter. It probably wasn't exactly a collected canter but it felt brilliant anyway.

Then the trainer suggested extending the canter. Well, moving from collected to extended is harder than it looks, you can't just release the aids like I tried to do, that made him fall down to trot, you have to ease him into extension. I don't quite have the hang of it yet but I can't wait to try it again.

Unfortunately the left lead didn't go so well, left is his "bad" side and I spent too much effort just trying to keep him from cutting into the ring to really play with the gait. We'll get there. Still, it was a good ride. I'm happy I made the decision to take lessons at this barn for the winter, I'm learning exactly what I was hoping to learn.

On a slightly different note- I've noticed that my first post about riding the friesian has jumped to the top in my stats. Apparently there's a lot of people out there googling "friesian" and finding that post. I'm not sure how I feel about that, it's good that people are finding my blog, but I wish they hadn't landed on a post about failing and frustration.

So, for those of you who find my blog hoping for info about friesians here's a little I've learned:
  • they are gorgeous
  • they are very comfortable to ride
  • they have sweet, gentle personalities
  • they are terribly inbred and suffer from many health issues because of it
If I were looking to buy a friesian, I would not buy a pure bred. I would go for hybrid vigor and look for a cross instead. That way I'd get a healthier horse for (probably) half the price. At least that's my opinion, for whatever that's worth.


  1. They are beautiful horses! I agree with the Fresian cross, we have a Fresian/Percheron cross, a Fresian/Morgan cross, and a Fresian/something I can't remember cross. All big, black, and beautiful!
    Sounds like your lessons are going great!

  2. Nice, sounds like friesians have dominant genes!

  3. Beautiful horse! "add a "moment of stillness" before I give the aid with my outside leg. If I do it right he strikes off immediately, if I do it wrong I get extended trot." This is exactly how I set it up with Gem. I have to admit that I love that moment of stillness, because I can feel his anticipation. If I cue him correctly, he always "lifts off" to start the lope. I love it. Congratulations on an awesome lesson.

  4. I'm glad to hear you're having so much fun and very informative lessons. It's so nice to have input from a trainer and to have her show you on her own horse is a real plus. Congratulations on all you were able to accomplish.

    I like the Friesians too, they are gorgeous.

  5. Sounds like you had a really great lesson! I always turn into such a dork when I'm on a more knowledgeable horse and learning to really feel, to me, is such a valuable part of riding. Those are the lightbulb moments that stick with me.

    I've met a few great friesian crosses (and seen a few failures) and they are fabulous. Definitely something I would consider for myself if I had a limitless pony budget.

  6. Wolfie you've had a very good teacher. I wished I'd learned that years ago!

    GHM- thanks, and aren't they beautiful. I completely understand why they are dream horses for so many.

    Taterz, I know the feeling, my first ride on this horse didn't go well at all. I've been looking to comment on your blog and I can't see how. Am I blind or have you not enabled comments?

  7. You have made my day! My Friesian is 1/2 Quarter Horse. I know, sounds like a strange mix, but he is so level headed so gentle. And if you flip over to my blog, I think you will see he looks a bit Friesian. The horse you are riding is gorgeous... and I'm glad to hear he is comfortable. I haven't ridden mine yet as he is in training.

  8. I actually thought of your horse when I wrote that, he's a very attractive boy!

  9. I'm jealous! It sounds like you're having a lot of fun taking lessons and learning a lot.

    After I finish up this master's, when I have a bit more time and $$, I'd love to take some lessons with a good dressage instructor.


  10. I have heard about the issue of inbreeding in friesian horses and I thought the registry was trying to add some arabian blood into the mix to boost heat-tolerance. Does anyone know anything about that?

    1. I haven't heard about that, but I could ask around.

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