General Studbook information Print E-mail

The Koninklijke Vereniging ‘Het Friesch Paarden-Stamboek’ (KFPS) has been registering Friesian horses since 1879. Today, more than 60,000 horses are registered and the studbook has 15,000 members. Outside of the Netherlands, these members are organized into their own national associations that maintain close ties with the KFPS. Most of the Dutch members are affiliated with breeding associations that organize many activities every year, including their own regional breeders’ events and various 'study evenings'.

The Friesch Paarden-Stamboek serves as an organization for registering and inspecting Friesian horses and also provides answers to general breeding questions such as those concerning breeding objectives. Much of this information is published in the colorful and informative monthly magazine, Phryso, which all Dutch members receive after subscribing, and at the website This site can also provide a wealth of information about the member’s own horse or any other horses or studbook stallions.

The Friesian horse
Powerful beauty
The Friesian horse is the only breed of horse native to the Netherlands; even during the 13th century, horses of the Friesian type were being described. By applying a consistent policy of breeding, Friesian horses as we know them today still share the specific breed characteristics and therefore similarities with their ancient ancestors.

Typical of these “black pearls” are their beautiful front, thick hair on mane, tail and fetlocks, black color and their extended powerful lofty gaits. The well-proportioned structure of the noble head placed on a slightly arched neck is a perfect expression of this breed’s elegant appearance and proud bearing. Its friendly character is the key to a fine horse that can be used for many purposes.

A horse for many uses
Its beautiful self-carriage, willingness to work and eagerness to learn make today’s Friesian a highly favored dressage horse; in days gone by, these horses were used as war horses, trotters, coach horses and on farms as draft horses.

The Friesian horse is still driven with the traditional Frisian gig. Driven alone, as a pair, in tandem or in a klavertje-drie (a team of three with one horse in front followed by two side by side), these horses compete against each other in their own sports events. Friesians are also measuring up well when competing against other breeds in combined driving events and other disciplines.

Purchasing a Friesian horse
When you want to buy a Friesian horse, the KFPS can provide you with a list of addresses of all the stallion managers from which you can make a choice. The KFPS does not play an intermediary role in these purchases.

In buying a horse, there are several important factors. The most important is the purpose for which you are buying the horse. After all, the criteria for a broodmare are not the same as those for a horse to be used in competitive equine sports.

Always make sure that a horse has a valid passport and studbook document. The chip number on both documents must agree with the number of the microchip inserted into the surface on the left side of the neck around 4 inches below the mane.

Depending on the horse’s pedigree, it will be registered in one of the classes of the main section (see table of registration procedures). The studbook documents for the main class (the KFPS book) are printed on paper in tints of yellow, yellow-green and light gray. The paper used in making the registration document in the KFPS D book are tinted yellow, pinkish red and light gray. The papers for Bijboek I are tinted orange, reddish brown and light gray. The colors for Bijboek II are red, blue and light gray.

The proof of registration is laminated and is certified by means of a palpable relief stamp of the Koninklijke Vereniging “Het Friesch Paarden-Stamboek”.

When you have bought a Friesian horse, the person who sold it to you will send the proof of registration to the KFPS with your name and address (the name and address of the new owner) on the reverse side. At the studbook office in Drachten, the horse will be transferred to the name of the new owner who will automatically become a member of the KFPS.

After paying membership dues and administration costs, the new owner will get the valid proof of registration sent to his/her home address.

Registration process

Stallion —> KFPS studbook Approved stallions of KFPS daughter studbook Foalbook with breeding permit Foalbook/ Bb I/ Bb II
Mare (see below)
KFPS book KFPS book KFPS-D/ BBII*** Bb I Bb II
Bb I Bb I* Bb I/ BBII*** Bb I Bb II
Bb II** Bb I Bb I**/ BBII*** Bb II/ BBI** Bb II

Table of registration procedures (the KFPS registration regulations provide a detailed explanation and the rules for promotion)

Registration of foals
Every breeding of a Friesian mare with a Friesian stallion has to be registered with the KFPS. The KFPS will then provide the stallion manager with a birth notification that he will send on to the owner of the mare.

The birth notification has to be sent to the KFPS within two weeks after the birth of the foal. The owner then gets a confirmation of the birth sent to his/her home address. Later, when the foal gets its microchip implanted, this birth confirmation, accompanied by the barcode on the chip, can be sent to the KFPS. Once this information is processed, the owner gets the accompanying proof of registration and a horse passport sent to his/her home address.

The fees applied to these processes can be found at the KFPS website.

Within six months of birth and being accompanied by its dam, the foal can be implanted with a microchip at one of the KFPS inspections by a special team. This can also be done at home by the veterinarian or microchip consultant.

The inspection
The KFPS holds inspections throughout the Netherlands during the summer season (Inspections held in foreign countries are organized by the local breeding associations). At these studbook inspections, foals as well as mares and geldings three years of age and older can be presented for inclusion in the studbook or promotion to a higher level of quality.

For stallions three years of age and older, separate inspections are held: the foalbook stallion inspections and the studbook inspection.

At the regional breeders’ events held by the breeding associations, it is also possible to present yearling, two-year-old and older star mares for inspection.

Mares and geldings three years of age and older can be distinguished as follows:

Average scores for 5 main characteristics Result Title
> 7.5 Included with 1st premium Studbook Star (stb star)
~ 7 Included with 2nd premium Studbook Star (stb star)
~ 6 – 7 Included with 3rd premium Studbook (stb)
~ 6 Included without premium Studbook (stb)
< 6 Not included Remains in foalbook

Note: In considering the awarding of premiums, the criteria relating to trueness to breed, the walk and the trot carry the most weight. In addition, a horse with a score of 4 or less for one or more criteria will not be registered, and a horse with a score of unsatisfactory (5 or less) for one or more of the main criteria cannot be entered into the star register.

After being inspected at a foalbook stallion inspection, stallions three years of age or older can either remain a foalbook stallion (Vb) or be declared star (Vb star).

At the regional breeders’ events, foals, yearling mares and two-year-old mares are eligible for a 1st, 2nd or 3rd premium but may also receive 'no premium'.
Star and crown mares and star geldings inspected at regional breeders’ events are eligible for a 1st or 2nd premium but may also receive 'no premium'.

Stallion selection
Stallions whose owners want them to be eligible for admission to stud service can present them for inspection by the studbook starting at three years of age. These young stallions will undergo three rounds of judging:

  • the first round of judging in November: assessment of conformation and movement both in hand (on a hard surface) and in free movement;
  • the second round of judging in January on the Friday of the Stallion Inspection: assessment of conformation and free movement;
  • the third round of judging on the Saturday of the Stallion Inspection: conformation and movement in hand.

The stallions must satisfy strict veterinary requirements including a clinical examination, X-ray testing and semen testing. When selecting stallions for stud service, other factors such as the quality of their lineage and their degree of relationship to the entire Friesian horse population play a role.

Once they have passed this strict selection process, stallions are eligible to prove themselves in the Central Examination. This is a ten-week testing period in which the stallion is tested for his aptitude for dressage, show driving and harness competition. Upon satisfactorily completing this testing, the stallion is entered in the studbook register.

A young stallion receives a breeding permit for 180 mares a year. Once his oldest offspring reach maturity, 20 of them are tested in the offspring judging. When the offspring are shown to have a sufficient level of quality in areas such as health, uses, conformation and movement, the stallion is “approved on the basis of his offspring”. From that time onward, the stallion may be bred with an unlimited number of mares every year.

KFPS events
Central Inspection
Except for foals, the horses awarded a 1st premium during the inspection season will be invited to participate in the studbook’s annual Central Inspection. This conclusion to the inspection season is held in October. At the Central Inspection, mares three years of age and older are eligible to receive the provisional crown title or even the provisional model title (the model title being the highest title for conformation available to mares). At an inspection in a foreign country, mares can also receive the provisional crown of model title after a second round of inspection.

TThese provisional titles can be made definite titles when the mare accumulates at least 77 points with an average score of 7 for the basic gates in an IBOP or ABFP test, or if she is awarded the sports title.

Stallion Inspection
In addition to the Central Inspection, the KFPS also holds the annual Stallion Inspection. This is held in January in Leeuwarden and is intended primarily for selecting young stallions and for conducting the annual inspection of approved KFPS studbook stallions. The event is held on a Friday and Saturday, the Friday evening also being devoted to shows. On the Thursday afternoon previous to the Stallion Inspection, a clinic open to the public is held. For many lovers of Friesian horses, the Stallion Inspection that attracts more than 10,000 visitors is the event of the year.

KFPS competitions
Young dressage horses can participate in the Competition for Young Friesian Horses with Dressage Aptitude. This competition is open to mares, stallions and geldings 4, 5 and 6 years of age. In the pre-selections that are held throughout the country, these horses can qualify to participate in the finale held at the Central Inspection in October.

Young show driving horses can participate in the Competition for Young Friesian Horses with Aptitude for the Sport of Show Driving that is open to mares, stallions and geldings 3, 4 and 5 years of age. The pre-selections are held at the Dutch regional breeders’ events, and the finale is held at the Central Inspection.

Tests and the sport title
In the Netherlands, the KFPS offers two tests in which Friesian horses can participate: the IBOP and the ABFP tests. The IBOP test is intended to establish, in the most objective way possible, the suitability of the horse for a certain use. The ABFP test is intended to establish, in the most objective way possible, the horse’s aptitude as a dressage and/or harness and/or show driving horse.

Friesian horses are also eligible for the sports title.
The minimum requirements for being awarded the sports title are:

  • Dressage: Z1 +5.
  • Show driving: cat. I & II honorary class and cat. III open class, in a single season placed 6 times as prize winner in the "green season" (15 April to 1 October).
  • Dressage in harness: Z +10.
  • Combined driving: class 3 +10.

For either the KFPS or the KNHS, it is necessary to indicate in advance with which Friesian horse(s) one wants to participate. The horse needs to have acquired at least 10 winning points in class 3 from the time at which an application for the horse has been made to the KFPS and the KNHS. These requirements apply to points for sports achievements awarded in the Netherlands. Points for sports achievements awarded outside of the Netherlands will be subject to comparable requirements as assessed by the KFPS inspection team.

Other titles
When a stallion has an excellent record of siring offspring that have inherited his positive characteristics, he can be given the preferent status. Mares, too, can be awarded the preferent status when four of a mare’s offspring have received the star title. Having given birth to a studbook stallion also counts toward a mare’s preferent status. The title of performance dam is awarded a mare when three of her offspring have earned the sports title.

How can I find a stallion for my mare?
Looking for the right stallion to breed with your mare is a major decision to be made with great care. You have to consider how the foal is to be used in the future: for dressage, show driving or perhaps a horse with an aptitude for various uses. In selecting a stallion, you have to determine which weaker points of your mare you wish to improve and which strong points you wish to accentuate. Good tools to use in determining the strong and weak points of the horse are the linear scoring forms that are created during the inspection of the mare for inclusion in the studbook. The next step is to look at what characteristics a stallion’s offspring have inherited. This data can be accessed at the KFPS website and is also published every year in Phryso. Based on this information, you can select the stallion that will provide the greatest improvement.

Yet another important factor to consider is that since the population of Friesian horses is a closed population and was still very small not so long ago, you will have to deal very carefully with the aspect of inbreeding. The KFPS advises a combination with no more than 5% inbreeding. It is also important not to have the same stallion appearing in the foal’s first three generations.


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