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Where Did Friesians Originate?


The Friesian (also Frisian) is a horse breed originating in Friesland, Netherlands. Although the breed’s conformation resembles that of a light draft horse, Friesians are graceful and nimble for their size. It is believed that during the Middle Ages, ancestors of Friesian horses were in great demand as war horses throughout continental Europe. Through the Early Middle Ages and High Middle Ages, their size enabled them to carry a knight in armor. In the Late Middle Ages, heavier, draft type animals were needed. Though the breed nearly became extinct on more than one occasion, the modern-day Friesian horse is growing in numbers and popularity, used both in harness and under saddle. Most recently, the breed is being introduced to the field of dressage.

A Dream Became Reality

After purchasing and training her very own quarter horse “Dallas”, Justine dreamt of a day here she could breed, sell and show horses of her own and that is when the idea of Imperial Reign Friesians was born.

In 2010, IRF became a reality with the purchase of her first Friesian mare, Danali, a 7 month old filly who opened Justine’s eyes to the amazing breed. After learning, reading, and spending time with Danali, she decided to get more involved in the breed. Not only was Danali smart and extremely caring, she was the easiest horse Justine had ever trained.

In 2012, Justine decided to breed Danali to a Friesian Stallion (name) which produced a beautiful, intelligent filly Rhea. Rhea was Justine’s first filly to be sold and currently resides overseas. She was involved in several events and decided in 2013 that she needed to add to her herd. IRF purchased a Friesian mare (Zoey) and a Friesian stallion (Tiresias), both Danali and Zoey were bred to Tiresias, adding to the IRF family.

IRF is proud and privileged to have such fine horses with unique personalities and wonderful temperaments. They have enjoyed showing at the Iowa Horse Fair and Minnesota Horse Expo. Their Friesians are not only at ease in the show ring but are just as well-mannered to spend a day on the trail or pulling a cart. They perform magnificently regardless of the setting and look great doing so. We hope to produce many generations of Friesians and Friesian crosses for years to come.