Things To Consider When Buying

1. Is the Friesian KFPS registered?

All KFPS registered Friesians will have either a tongue tattoo (pre1999) or a microchip (There is some cross over so if an older Friesian check for both). The tattoo or chip number should match that given on the horses passport (green and yellow stripes prior to and including 2003 / aubergine coloured after 2003) and on its papers. Check this prior to purchase and also once you receive your horse in the UK, no matter where it is from or who transported it.

Some dealers and breeders in the Netherlands and UK may claim they are awaiting the passport or papers. No horse should be transported without its own passport so do not accept a horse without its own passport. It is also common for dealers and breeders to claim that they will send papers on to you. Only accept this if the foal is less than 1 year and they are awaiting issue from the KFPS. Even then scan the chip number of the horse and telephone or FAX the KFPS to confirm where the papers are before purchasing the horse.

A KFPS studbook or foal book paper will be green and yellow striped with the KFPS seal on it. For an example of a KFPS paper please see below or view the FHAGBI website Bi-boek horses will have the same laminated papers but these will be either brown and pink striped (bi-boek I) or blue and red striped depending upon registry (Bi-boek II)

2. Is the horse a good Friesian?

Any horse in the main studbook is usually of an acceptable standard, however those attaining a first or second premie and ster status, or third premie studbook are of the best quality in terms of conformation and movement. If the horse has completed an AFBP or IBOP test you will have an idea of its suitability as a riding or driving horse. Try to attend an inspection or inspection training day prior to purchasing your Friesian, then at least you will have an idea of breed standards. Again the FHAGBI website or KFPS website has details of what to look for in a Friesian. If a horse is advertised as premie graded, it is important to check if this was as a foal or as an adult, A first Premie foal often does not develop into a first premie ster adult! It is also worth remembering that horses with FULL PAPERS, that where the females for 3 generations in the dam line all have Ster, Ster-Preferent, Krown, Model or Prestige grading command a higher value.

3. Health of the horse

In the Netherlands, horses are essentially classed as farm animals, so their individual health may not always be a priority. Do insist on an independent full vetting prior to purchase, be the horse for sale in the Netherlands or the UK. Like any Pedigree animal, there are certain conditions that may sometimes arise in the breed.

Things to be aware of:

1. Unless the horse is working, it is unlikely that its hooves will have received much attention so they may be overgrown and badly cracked.

2. Worms. Again not all Friesian breeders and dealers worm their horses. Redworm colic is not unknown and can be fatal. Check if a worming programme has been in place, and give your horse a wormer such as Equest on arrival that will kill all forms of the redworm cycle.

3. Osteochondrosis dissecans this is a developmental defect of the cartilage ends of the bone and can be common in young Friesians. If in the fore- feet, as can be found in some young Friesians, it is usually incurable and the horse must be shot. Have pre-purchase x-rays taken.

4. Aortal Rupture Some Friesians are genetically predisposed to the vessels leading from the heart rupturing leading to instant death. Have at least the horses heart and lungs vet checked before purchase.

5. Castration Most male horses are left entire until three, if they are gelded at all ( stallions are more accepted as leisure animals on the continent). Friesian stallions are usually just as kind natured as the mares and geldings and have a sensible attitude and most yards in the Netherlands will be willing to have the horse gelded prior to exporting it. Please be aware of the strict rulings of the KFPS before thinking of breeding from your stallion.

6. Mares in Foal. Most mares are sold in foal in the Netherlands, the reason being that it is thought that if not in foal then there is a fertility problem. If you wish to buy a mare not in foal then choose younger animals not yet started their life as a brood mare or visit in May when most of the foals are born so you can select your mare before she is put in foal or if already served, the pregnancy can be easily terminated. If buying a mare in foal be sure to get the confirmation of service certificate/foal registration form.

7. Placental retention. If you do buy a mare in foal, do be aware that Friesians have a problem with placental retention ( ie they do not pass the placenta after giving birth due to a lack of oxytocin) and have your vet on standby.

8. Vaccinations the Dutch do not tend to vaccinate their horses unless they are regularly competing, so ask for the vaccinations to be started when the horse receives the pre-purchase vetting.

9. Sweet Itch Some Friesians are prone to sweet itch, keeping horses stabled at Dawn and Dusk (away from biting insects) Boett Blankets , various sweet itch lotions, feed such as St Hippolyt Hestamix, and supplements such as WSH Hippo ex -cema can all help to reduce the symptoms of sweet itch. Vaccine trials are currently being run by the National Sweet Itch Helpline. Do seek the advice of your veterinary surgeon.

10. Mud Fever, heel mites, greasy and other skin conditions. As with other feathered breeds, Friesians can suffer from various skin conditions. Do have to take your veterinary surgeons advice on these as they can present in the same manner but need very different treatment.

Regular updates on health issues are posted on the FPS and FHANA websites.

Three Other factors to consider

1. Many 3 year old horses are advertised as trained to saddle or harness. Whilst many are sensible and willing, they are still babies and can be prone to bouts of exuberance. Also they will have been backed by professionals but will only have a very basic education. if you buy a three or four year old you will have a lot of brining on to do!

2. Many Dutch horses or horses recently imported into the UK or Eire will only have been ridden in a manege. Do check whether the horse has been hacked or driven out and if it has seen traffic.

3. When Driven as a single turnout in the Netherlands, the horse will not have worn breeching and will need time to get accustomed to English harness.

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