Friesian draft breed is rooted in Friesland, Northwestern
Europe, which is now a part of the Netherlands. The original
stock was descended from the order of Equus robustus (the
big horse). In the 16th and 17th centuries, Andalusian lineage
was introduced to the bloodline in the form of Spanish stallions
which were abandoned on the battlefield during the war between
the Spanish and the Dutch. This new blood endowed the Friesian
line with higher knee action, smaller heads, and arching necks.
Description and Characteristics
The Friesian is one of the smaller draft horses, in stature
and weight. In order for Friesians to be deemed purebred,
and allowed to be used for breeding stock for a purebred line,
they must be at least 14. 3 hands (57. 2 in. , or 145. 3 cm.
) at the shoulder. And the subject must be solid black with
no white markings on the legs or body. The typical height
is 15. 3 to 16. 1 hands (155. 4 to 163. 6 cm. , or 61. 2 to
64. 4 in. ). The Friesian is heavily boned, and the adult
averages about 1300 pounds (92. 3 stones). This breed appears
to be short and stocky. The thick manes and tails, and abundant
fetlock hair are traditionally allowed to remain full and
natural. The Friesian has a good temperament and is sensible
but lively. The breed can be used for pulling, or for saddle
riding. And while Friesians have the normal gaits - walk,
trot, and canter - long tradition has emphasized the "big"
trot which is typical of the breed.
Gypsy Cob - This small draft horse traces its roots
to the Romanys, who had no need for the larger drafts. For
almost 100 years the Romany people, or Gypsies, have bred
the cob to pull their traditional carts and "mobile homes"
throughout the country lanes of Ireland and England. And although
many of the "Travelers" - as the ones who move about the country
are called - have changed to more modern conveyances, there
are still those who cling to the traditional mode of travel.
Even though many people of the Romany heritage no longer
travel, they continue to breed these colorful horses as a
way of keeping tradition alive. As long ago the modern Gypsy's
wealth is still, in a large part, measured by the size and
quality of his horse herd.
Description and Conformation
The Gypsy Cob has no one specific color. The most common
are pinto patterned, piebald, and skewbald. They are small,
in that they traditionally stand 13 to 15. 2 hands (52 to
60. 8 in. , or 132 to 154 cm. ) at the shoulder. They are
compact, yet sturdy and durable. Their stamina allows them
to pull a loaded "living wagon", at a steady trot, all day
In order to be classified as a traditional Gypsy horse,
they must have an abundance of hair and feathering. The feathering
starts at the knee and grows all over the bottom half of the
leg to the hoof.
The Gypsy Cob has been bred for a particular type for years,
but can trace their ancestral roots back to Clydesdales, Shires,
Friesians, and Irish Drafts as well a Connemara, Dales, and
Fell ponies. This horse is typically known to be very sound
and sane, a faithful companion, and to possess incredible
About the Author
Tristan Andrews is a freelance author who writes articles