Yes, it is a Breed!
A touch of desert Arabian blood makes them specially tuned Friesians: Arabo-Friesians find
The Arabo Friesian is 6 to 20% Egyptian Arabian blood, so the horse looks like a refined Friesian with an improved way of moving AND now significantly added Arabian endurance and toughness. This new breed is bred specifically for improved performance. Arabo-Friesians should be able to compete against the best warmblood horses. The foals receive full papers and equine passports.
The Arabo Friesian has a separate breed stud book, The European Arabo Friesian Stud Book. Arabo Friesians may breed to full blood Friesians or Arabo Friesians only.
Some 400 years ago, during the time of the Spanish occupation from 1568 to 1648, the local Friesian farmers were forced to use Spanish stallions with Arabian blood on their mares. The result was an immensely athletic breed of horse which is found in the ancestry of the Orlov trotter and the Morgan, among others.
Breed needed to change
During the early1900s, to save the Friesian from extinction, these horses had to be made suitable for agricultural work. Unfortunately, this development cost the breed its lung and heart volume. This breeding focus dramatically weakened the Friesian’s performance.
By the 1960s, european breeders determined to rekindle and improve their beloved Friesian horses’ blood lines and performance because this breed had almost disappeared from competitive international driving and dressage arenas. To succeed, these experts searched for the best desert Arabian blood to use on carefully selected Friesian mares.
Add the best Arabian blood back into the breed!
The well-known elite stallion Gharib, a straight Egyptian stallion at Marbach State Stud, Germany, was selected to improve the following key characteristics: endurance, toughness, lung and heart volume. This means a quicker return to a normal pulse, better ability to give off warmth through a finer skin, and a sleeker, different athletic muscular structure. The terrific result? By the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th generations Arabo Friesians became very successful in sports, again.
The second great advantage of Arabo-Friesian is the historical breeding focus on pure Friesian beauty and movement. This rigorous attention enabled the main emphasis of the Arab-Friesian breed development to be placed on athletic ability. The result – this new breed brings together the best of the Friesian and modern advantages of improved athleticism, movement, and endurance.
Most breeding stallions now come from the Ritske and Age lines, the old Friesian sire lines known for their athleticism. Since 90% of today’s Friesians are descended from the new Mark sire line, which is only rarely found among Arab-Friesians, all 231 Friesian dam lines may be used for breeding to Arabo-Friesian stallions
For the past decade, a team of Arabo-Friesians (with only 6%-25% Arab blood and all the rest pure Friesian blood) have won the Belgian four-in-hand championships and placed in the Top Ten in international driving competitions, including world championships. More recently, Arabo-Friesians are now competing successfully in dressage.