I love the luxuriant hair and feathers of a Friesian, but the look must still be neat. Excess hair under the jaw and chin gives your Friesian a coarse look. Clipping this hair is easy and will instantly add to the beauty of your horse's head.
Heavy feathers on your Friesian's lower legs can make him look heavy boned and give the impression that he is heavy moving. I sculpt my horse's legs by clipping excess feathering from the backs of their knees and the front and sides of the cannon bones.
I like to bang the bottom of my Friesians' tails, but I leave the tops alone. Warmbloods and similar types often have their tails sculpted at the top for a clean look when they are moving. Friesians do not lift their tails when they move, so I allow the top sections of my horses' tails to grow naturally.
A braided mane enhances the neat, formal look expected of a horse and rider. The braided mane also reveals the shape and carriage of the horse's neck. However, the typical Friesian's abundant mane will look like a row of sausages if crammed into normal braids for dressage. For an elegant appearance, I like a French braid woven tightly along the top line of the neck. Unfortunately French braids are not very durable. I braid just before going into the warm up ring, and I expect to rebraid often. Once you get the hang of it, you will find that you can braid very quickly. I finish the braid with black tape because it gives a neat appearance and prevents flyaways. If your horse has an extra thick mane, you may need to make a French braid on both sides of the neck.
Sabine Schut-Kery earned her Bereiter license in Germany after a three-year apprenticeship with Jan Bemelmans. Her love of baroque horses and dressage has culminated in a unique career that combines competition and exhibition riding. In 1998, she moved to the United States to work as head trainer for Proud Meadows of Waxahachie, Texas. She has trained two of Proud Meadows Friesian breeding stallions to Grand Prix, earning five USDF Horse of the Year awards and bronze, silver and gold medals. She lives in Thousand Oaks, Calif.