|Your goals with your horse
Purchasing the right Friesian horse for YOU is the first important issue! We would like to strongly point out the emphasis being on YOUR goals, not your trainers, not the sellers but YOURS! Keeping goals in realistic perspective to your riding skills and athletic abilities will help to make your purchase experience targeted and reasonably/proportionally priced. This section is especially important to us since we receive calls on a regular basis from riding friends who had great performance ambitions which were unfortunately stopped in their tracks by misguided advice. Friesian Horses were purchased that the owners are afraid to ride or that have hurt them already! Often times those equine partners are indeed great performers yet way too strong for an amateur rider or novice. It clearly defeats the purpose, doesn’t it? You wanted to have fun riding, right? YOU should be the one able to enjoy YOUR perfect horse. Riding should never be an uncomfortable, intimidating experience for you! And yes, a successful, high level Friesian dressage show-performer might be a great horse from an athletic point of view, yet it might simply not be the best horse for YOU! The same counts for example for a high strung Friesian Saddle seat horse. You should always own a sane, well trained, well behaved horse that allows you to peacefully learn on, and to progress on the route to achieving your goals. A Friesian horse that you can enjoy at any time , your trainer being present or not. If you purchased a horse with lower level training, it should be the task of your trainer to move your horse’s training level always slightly ahead of your own, so you can comfortably catch up, without ever losing a joyful feeling when you think of your horse and/or your next riding lesson. In most cases it requires a Friesian horse under saddle that has at least solid basic training. A horse that has numerous securely functioning buttons to push yet with a disposition forgiving enough to not explode if you push the wrong one. Yet: if you push the buttons correctly, you reliably get the desired performance. These horses are hard to find, yet exist in many different price classes anywhere from a gentle Trail Friesian or Pleasure Friesian horse all the way to an experienced, calm Fresian dressage schoolmaster horse. Again: YOUR goals will determine which horse is the best horse for YOU!
Friesians versus German Warmbloods as dressage partners
If your goal is riding competitive dressage, the decision between a Friesian horse or a German Warmblood horse might come up. In general it is easier to ride competitive dressage, especially at higher levels, with a German Warmblood. Those horses are lighter build with more stamina and therefore specifically suited/bred for this discipline.The lighter build modern Sporthorse Friesian is however catching up and more and more impressive Friesian dressage performers are seen in the show ring around the country. Most Friesian horses have an easy going, forgiving personality and are easy to handle. Their beauty and personable nature makes them a joy to be around inside the show ring and out. (There are exceptions to this described gentle disposition, referred to later on.)
As a ballpark statement: if you want to seriously win at upper level dressage your easier choice is a German Warmblood horse. As shown on our website WindermereFarms-Sporthorses.com
If your goal is to show for fun and simply achieve the best you can with a horse of exceptional presence and beauty: the Friesian breed will never disappoint you. Another positive feature: you will be widely admired at any show even if you make last place, when riding a Friesian horse!
The gender of your perfect horse
The choice of a Friesian mare over a Friesian gelding is merely dependent on your personal preference and the potential option to also breed with a mare.
A Friesian stallion purchase needs to be a very conscious choice! Friesian stallions tend to be easier and quieter than stallions of other breeds, yet a stallion always remains a stallion. You will need to be aware of his gender at all times: regarding his living accommodations, his surroundings when turned out, other horses/riders around you in the arena and on show grounds. If you have never owned a stallion yet find one that has the attitude of a gelding you might never have a problem, yet always be aware: it is his nature to be interested in ‘girls’ and you need to learn to handle any situation confidently to always remain in control of your stallion.
Regarding the Friesian breed you might also want to consider the very different price ranges of mares, geldings and stallions from an investment point of view:
The differences between sellers and what to look for
There are countless Friesian websites on the internet offering ‘import/sale services.’ A distinction can be made first of all between brokers and Friesian sellers. Friesian Brokers often have the same virtual appearance in form of a nice big website yet no horses physically on site anywhere in the U.S.! They merely present photos of Friesian horses for sale, available in Europe and they will receive a commission when you purchase one of those animals over photos/videos. The legal situation for you is very different in those cases: brokers function not legally as the seller of the horse here in the U.S. Short: if anything is wrong with the animal you purchased, you will need to seek legal remedy with the seller in Europe. A major difference when it comes to a dispute! Brokers also typically do not know the horses they present to you. They are merely passing on info of the seller and will supply you with visual material.
Check if your Friesian seller is specializing in the discipline of your choice. Watch out for horses that have been trained previously in a barn specializing in a discipline other than the one you are intending to ride with your horse. The same counts for barns ‘specializing’ in many different riding/driving disciplines. There are also riding disciplines which are conflicting regarding the necessary muscular structure of the horse. An example are the disciplines Dressage and Saddleseat. Purchasing a horse for the purpose of dressage riding that has previously been trained in Saddleseat, means inevitably that you are looking at a time consuming, costly and most likely frustrating procedure to re-train this horse.
Short: it is safest to purchase your show horse from a barn indeed specializing in the discipline of your choice. Less specialized pleasure/trail Friesian horses for sale with lower performance levels are exceptions .
Check for the reputation of your Friesian seller. Happy customers talk not quite as much as unhappy ones but it is surely beneficial to also listen to unhappy comments in order to win insight into how conflicts were solved by certain importers. It can be recommendable to do a background check of individuals and Friesian import businesses operating in the horse importing industry. The increasing internet market has invited many ‘black sheep’ into this business. If you find that certain importers/sellers are frequently sued by their clientele while others are not, there is most likely a reason! The better business bureau is also an easy choice to check on a seller’s reputation.
Safe purchase procedures ( IMPORTANT!)
Check your Friesian horse thoroughly before you commit to a purchase. If you have the option meet the horse in person. There is however nothing wrong with purchasing a horse straight over a video from an honest, reputable Friesian seller. (Consider the above advice on checking on your Friesian sellers reputation. )If you purchase over a video it is recommendable that you:
Ask for a demonstration of the horse’s stated performance level on a video. Do not believe any performance level that is not demonstrated on a recent video. If a Friesian horse has basic dressage training it should be shown on a video walking, trotting and cantering with a rider in both directions. It should be clearly visible the horse is responding to a specific canter cue. Regarding a Friesian horse that supposedly goes 2nd level dressage, you want to see a counter canter demonstrated on your video plus other 2nd level movements. A 4th level Friesian horse characteristically should show flying changes etc. etc. A Friesian broodmare that is sold as ‘broke to ride’ should also always been shown with a saddle and a rider on top! Again: do not believe anything that the seller can not show on your video if you want to be safe from costly and unpleasant surprises after the arrival of your Friesian horse.
Specify what YOU want to see on the video. If the seller knows the horse he/she can always accommodate your wishes.( Most brokers sending mass-videos of x- number of horses that they do not know, can typically not!)
Perform a thorough vet check! A clinical vet check should never be older than 30 days. Insurance requirements alone will suggest this general rule. If possible find/send your own unbiased veterinarian. A complete set of x-rays if taken, should always (no exceptions!!), be available for review with your veterinarian here in the U.S. before your purchase! Make very sure your Friesian horse is clearly identified on every single picture of the x-ray films! It is an old story that black sheep in the Friesian market circle clean sets of x-rays which do not belong to the horse offered for sale! Be very careful! If the horse is not clearly identified on the x-rays and the x-rays do not carry a date and the name of the veterinarian, do not accept those x-rays! We recommend you stipulate in your contract that it will be contingent based on a new set of x-rays taken in the U.S. after the horse’s arrival. Make sure if you have put a deposit down it is stipulated in writing that all deposits are fully refundable if you can not accept the results of the vet check. Again: do not believe anything your own veterinarian has not confirmed! (Mares in foal present an exception regarding x-rays)
If your seller/importer claims own training abilities ask and make sure if there is any reason why your purchased horse could not come back for further training or corrective training with your Friesian seller / importer if training problems arise after your purchase. The answer here can be very important!
If the Friesian seller has a problem with those basic safety procedures upon the purchase of a valuable quality Friesian horse, or appears impatient upon your many questions: safely assume he/she has a reason for her objections. Sellers of Friesian horses who have nothing to hide have no reason to object. It is your money. Make a safe purchase for a happy future with your new equine partner!
What makes Windermere Farms Friesian horses for sale different from others?
First of all that all the above recommendations would be standard procedure at Windermere Farms. The very reason why we proclaim them so loudly.
Another fact unknown to most visitors of our website is that some of our ‘outside’ horses are horses either directly owned by other Friesian importers and brought to Windermere Farms for additional or corrective training. Or: buyers of other Friesian importers who were disappointed in their purchase for different reasons and did not find help from the original importer after their purchase, asked us to train/sell their current Friesian horse in order to resell this horse and find the right one for their individual needs. Again it is crucial that your Friesian horse matches YOUR needs and that it actually has the training level and the disposition it was advertised for sale with.
This section is dedicated to the fact that regarding the purchase of any product it is recommendable to carefully compare the price/quality ratio of the product. The purchase of your horse is no exception! As in any other industry; compare the seller claiming the largest selection at the lowest prices carefully with the one selling consistently a small selection of exceptional quality products and who offers proven and continued service beyond your purchase date!
Windermere Farms high standards combined with our training ability are your safety when searching for your perfect equine partner!