The Friesian horse: a "black pearl"

RNW archive

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Without a doubt, the Netherlands' most celebrated breed of horse is the pitch-black Friesian, with its flowing mane and distinctive proud demeanour. When Hollywood star Antonio Banderas took on the role of the legendary Zorro, his trusty steed was a Friesian stallion. Now the Friends of the Friesian Horse are about to celebrate the 130th anniversary of the Royal Association of the Friesian Horse Studbook (KFPS) by staging a spectacular equestrian show.

Visitors to the anniversary show on 24 October in Leeuwarden joined the Friesian horse on a global journey to all the countries where this impressive creature with its distinctive mane is to be found. It goes without saying that the odyssey begins in Friesland itself. The show's motto is "The Friesian Horse: famed throughout the world". Dancers performed a specially created dance alongside the true stars of the show, the horses themselves.

The Friesian horse is a major Dutch export product. Thanks to the efforts of the KFPS, it has been successfully exported to no less than 25 countries. In the Netherlands, these are the horses which have the privilege of pulling Queen Beatrix's Golden Coach on state occasions. Indeed, the Queen is the patron of the association, which boasts approximately 1500 members and around 40,000 registered horses, 13,000 of which are located outside of the Netherlands.