What Does it Cost to Buy a Friesian Horse?
The Friesian Horse Breed makes up only around .075% of the world’s horse population, but if you do an internet search for “beautiful horse,” Friesians will make up about half of the results. These horses are known for their jet-black coat, long and wavy manes, and full tails and feathering, giving them the appearance of having pranced right out of a fairytale. If you love Friesians, you may wonder how much it would cost to buy one.
How much does a Friesian horse cost in 2023? To purchase a purebred Friesian horse will typically cost between $20,000 and $50,000. Friesians are somewhat of a rare breed, and breeding approval within the registry is extremely restricted. Friesian crosses tend to be more plentiful and more widely available; these horses can be purchased for between $4,000 and $12,000.
In this article, I’ll share everything you need to know about how to buy a Friesian horse, where to find them, and how to potentially purchase them on a budget.
How Much Does A Purebred Friesian Horse Cost?
Purebred Friesian horses can be difficult to come by, and they are fairly expensive when compared with the typical price of many other breeds. If you would like a purebred FHANA (Friesian Horse Association of North America)-registered horse, you should expect to pay between $20,000 and $50,000. If that seems steep, consider that a well-trained Friesian of this standard can cost even more.
There is a Friesian “supplier” in my neck of the woods. Though not a breeder, this ranch regularly travels to the Netherlands to purchase Friesians to bring back to the United States and re-sell. She ships her acquired horses all over the country, and is somewhat of an expert on the breed.
Here is a small sample of her available horses:
- A 7-year-old gelding who is available for $50,000 – he is considered a 2nd-level dressage horse and is just starting 3rd-level training.
- A 12-year-old gelding who is a Grand Prix-level horse – this stunning boy is available for $70,000.
Buying A Friesian Horse On A Budget
If $50,000 is outside of your budget, there are a few ways that you can save money and still buy a Friesian.
Buying a Friesian Foal
Foals almost always sell for a lower price than mature horses, since they will require more time and training. There is a breeder a couple hundred miles from me who produces quality, Baroque-style Friesians. This particular breeder currently has a young, freshly-weaned filly available for $11,000. This filly will grow into an exceptional horse that is purebred and papered, though it will be several years before she can start training under saddle.
Adopting a Rescue Friesian
There are several organizations throughout the United States that focus on rescuing both purebred Friesians and Friesian crosses. Horses end up in these rescue facilities for all sorts of reasons. Some are surrendered because of genetic health problems, some are surrendered because of behavior problems, and some are removed from a ranch by the authorities due to neglect or abuse.
Most reputable rescue organizations will evaluate and treat the horses that need medical attention and will work to rehabilitate the horses with behavioral problems. If you can find a Friesian through a rescue that meets your needs, you may pay as little as $1,500 to $5,000. All that said, these horses rarely end up in rescues, so I wouldn’t make this your primary avenue of finding a Friesian to buy.
Buying A Friesian Cross Horse
If you have trouble finding a purebred Friesian in your area, you may have success finding a Friesian cross. Friesian crosses are fairly popular and can even be registered, though not by FHANA. The largest registry for Friesians that are either crossed with other breeds or otherwise ineligible for FHANA’s strict registration guidelines is the Friesian Sport Horse Registry.
The FSHR registers horses that have a minimum of 25% Friesian blood. While documentation of the Friesian line is required, documentation of the breed that the horse is crossed with is not requested. The FSHR makes it relatively easy to register a Friesian horse. I have a friend with a Friesian cross; no one knows what other breed this mare is crossed with, but she is tall, jet black, has abundant feathering, and a thick mane and tail. In other words, she looks almost exactly like a Friesian, though with a slightly more spirited personality.
Friesians can be crossed with any horse breed, depending on what attributes the breeder is seeking. One common combination is the Friesian and the Andalusian. This combination is so common that there is even a name for them: the Warlander. Both Friesians and Andalusions are beautiful, flashy, and fearless breeds, and their resulting offspring are well-suited for dressage and a number of other disciplines. I frequently see Friesian/Andalusian horses for sale; they are typically in the $10,000-$30,000 range.
Breeding Purebred Friesian Horses
Under the KFPS, Friesian breeding is strictly controlled, especially on the part of the stallion. Says FHANA, which is the sole representative of the KFPS in North America, on its own website: “If you are considering buying a Friesian colt for eventual use as a stallion you should be aware that the chances of getting him approved for breeding are very small. There are very stringent requirements placed on Approved Stallions.”
There are currently only between 20 and 25 approved stallions available for live cover or artificial insemination in North America, though many more reside in The Netherlands. There are currently about 160 Friesian breeders listed with the FHANA; because there are so few approved stallions, most of these breeders use artificial insemination from stallions either in North America or The Netherlands.
The Dutch have always taken pride in the purity of this very old breed, and the degree of care they take in preserving their bloodlines is the reason behind the strict breeding controls. The limited number of breeding stock is certainly a factor in the rarity of the breed, and therefore the high price.
There are currently around 45,000 purebred Friesians globally, 8,000 of which reside in North America. The countries that have the highest number of Friesians are The Netherlands, the United States, and Germany.
What Colors Can Friesian Horses Be?
Purebred Friesians can come in black or chestnut, though a horse registered with FHANA or KFPS will be fully black with either a small white star or no markings at all. The reason you will only find a FHANA Friesian in black is that the registry requires a DNA test verifying that every registered Friesian is homozygous black, meaning that they will not have the ability to produce a foal in any color other than black.
That said, there are a handful of purebred Friesian bloodlines that carry the red gene. These horses have the potential to throw a chestnut foal. Chestnut foals cannot be registered with FHANA/KFPS, but they can be registered with the FSHR. These chestnut beauties are often called “Fire Friesians” or “Fox Friesians”.
Other than black, and rarely chestnut, there are no other colors in which a purebred Friesian can be found. Though you may find a white horse touted as the “first white Friesian,” this famous horse, named Nero, is in fact a Friesian/Arabian cross.
What Disciplines Do Friesians Excel In?
With their athletic builds, flashy movements, willingness to train, and unique courage, Friesians excel in a number of disciplines. The sport they are most widely represented in is dressage. The breed made its first appearance at the World Equestrian Games in 2014, with a 14-year-old stallion from South Africa.
In addition to dressage, Friesians excel in hunter, saddle seat, and driving. They are commonly seen pulling carriages, and they are highly represented in television and movies. Friesians have a long and fascinating history and are most well-known for their military might during the Medieval era.
Purchasing A Friesian In 2023
If you’re looking for a horse, there certainly are breeds that are friendlier on the wallet than the Friesian. But then again, there really is no other breed like the Friesian. Friesians are friendly, docile, and trainable. They are also courageous, determined, and spirited. Friesians are known to be solid horses for beginners because they don’t spook easily and are relatively calm; this cannot be said for many of the high-level sport horses.
Friesians are a wonderful do-it-all breed and are stunningly beautiful to boot. When considering all of the Friesian’s attributes, $20,000 – $50,000 may start looking like a bargain (well, maybe not a bargain, but at least a somewhat reasonable price).
To learn more about horse prices in 2023, check out the articles below:
- How Much Does a Quarter Horse Cost? 2023 Pricing Guide
- How Much Does an Arabian Horse Cost? 2023 Pricing Guide
- How Much Does a Morgan Horse Cost? 2023 Pricing Guide