Rules & Regulations



The breeding objective of the FPS is to breed beautiful horses with typical Friesian characteristics, which are competitive as driving horses and under saddle in dressage, and are also suitable for recreational use. This should be accomplished by selection within the breed, while further reducing inbreeding.

2.1.1. Historical Context - The Friesian-type horse, indigenous to Western Europe, was found from Norway to Spain during the middle ages and was used by knights. Heavy, baroque horses are depicted in old paintings, but this image changed in the 18th and 19th century when Friesians were used as racing trotters. By 1917 only three Friesian stallions remained and a difficult period began during which the breed was used primarily in agriculture; horses were bred with relatively short legs and heavy weight. By 1970 the tractor had replaced the horse in agriculture and Friesian horses were once again used primarily for driving and riding.

The breeding objective advocates a "modern" Friesian horse that retains the typical characteristics of the breed. Although the conformation is mentioned first in the breeding objective, the movement of the horse is 60% of the judging evaluation.

2.1.2. The Typical Friesian Characteristics may be found in a horse that is harmoniously built and properly proportioned. The noble head has clear, intelligent eyes and small, alert ears with the tips pointing slightly toward each other. The neck is of adequate length and is lightly arched. A strong back joins a croup of good length which doesn't slope too steeply. The shoulder is strong, long and sloping and the body has good depth and well sprung ribs. The feet and legs are strong with a well developed forearm and proper stance. A height of 1.60 meters (15.3 hands) is considered ideal.

The horse has fluid, elegant and suspended gaits which are emphasized by feathering on the lower legs, a fine mane and beautiful, long tail. Jet black is the preferred color. This is a horse of luxurious and proud appearance, full of personality, honest and eager to work.

2.1.3. Conformation - At a time when many breed registries have experienced a decline in registrations and memberships, the FPS has continued to grow. This is due, in part, to the appearance and charisma of the Friesian horse. The attraction exerted on devotees by the appearance of the Friesian horse cannot be jeopardized when breeding for specific performance qualities. A description of ideal Friesian conformation follows:

The head is relatively short and the width is proportional to the length. The ears are small and alert with the tips pointing slightly toward each other. The eyes are large and shining. The nasal bone is slightly hollow or straight; nostrils are wide. The lips are closed and the teeth meet properly. The jaw bones are not heavy and are spread wide apart to allow the horse to breathe easily while at work. The head is set gracefully on the neck with adequate space for the throat. Overall, the head is dry and expressive and blends smoothly into the neck.

The neck is lightly arched at the crest. It is long enough for the horse to bend properly and is adequately muscled. The neck is set on high and the lower neckline does not bulge between the throat and the chest.

The withers are well developed, prominent and, in particular, blend gradually into the back.

The back is not too long and is well muscled. A slightly low back is allowed.

The loin is wide, strong and well muscled and makes a smooth transition into the croup.

The croup is of good length and slopes slightly downward; it is wide and muscular. It neither forms a point nor is overly rounded. The tail is not set on too low. The gluteal muscle is long and well developed.

The shoulders are long and sloping and are set widely enough apart to form a good chest, which is neither too wide nor too narrow.

The ribs are long and curved, supplying ample space for the heart and lungs, without being rotund. The belly maintains sufficient depth towards the rear.

The legs - The forelegs are properly positioned and when viewed from the front, are set parallel with a hoofwidth of space at the ground. Viewed from the side, they are perpendicular down through the fetlock joint. The cannon bone is not too long; the forearm, however, has good length. The pastern is resilient, of good length and is at a 45 degree angle to the ground. The hoofs are wide and sound.

The hind legs, viewed from the rear, are straight. Viewed from the side, the legs are set directly under the hind quarters and are strong with good, sound hoofs. The hind cannon is a little longer than in front; the gaskin is long, with well developed muscle. The angle at the hock is approximately 150 degrees; the rear pasterns are at a 55 degree angle to the ground.

The joints in the legs are dry, well-developed, and provide a good foundation for the tendons and ligaments.

The overall appearance of the horse's body is more nearly a rectangle than a square. When the shoulder is long and sloping, the back is not too long, and the croup is of adequate length, the ratio of fore-, middle- and hind quarters can be an ideal 1:1:1. The horse is neither too massive nor too light.

The walk is straight, vigorous and springy. There is good length of stride and the hind quarters swing forward with power.

The trot is a reaching and forward movement with power from the hind quarters. It is elevated and light-footed with a moment of suspension. The hock flexes as the horse moves forward and the inside angle of the hind leg closes during each stride.

The canter is well supported and lively with sufficient power from the hind quarters and flexion in the hock.

2.1.4. Breeding for Performance - The Friesian horse is used in various equestrian sports: show driving, combined driving, dressage under saddle and recreation. As driving horses, Friesians perform well, but to become more competitive in all sports, attention should be given to the following points:

  • strong, powerful hind quarters
  • a luxurious horse that is not too heavy, but has ample power
  • a long, sloping shoulder
  • hard, dry legs
  • light-footed movements with a moment of suspension
  • size neither too small nor too large; the ideal range of height is 1.59 - 1.63 meters (15.2½ to 16.0 hands)
  • sufficiently long and well muscled forearm and gaskin
  • strong, smooth transition from loin to croup; long and well developed gluteal muscle
  • good, wide hoofs with proper heels
  • good head/neck connection
  • an honest character, eager to work
  • stamina


The Boards of the Friesian horse associations and the breeders together face the challenge and responsibility of improving the quality of the Friesian horse.

2.2.1. Stallion Selection - Breeders should select a stallion whose conformation, movement, sport performance and pedigree will best complement the specific mare for the particular purpose for which the mare is being bred.

2.2.2. Inbreeding - In selecting a stallion, the mare owner has the responsibility to carefully consider the inbreeding coefficient of the resulting foal. It is not an absolute criterion by itself, but should be considered in conjunction with other factors such as desired conformation, intended use, height, etc. Inbreeding Coefficients are shown on registration certificates of horses born after 1988. A low inbreeding coefficient indicates that a foal has few common ancestors, thus minimizing the chance of genetic defects. In the Friesian breed, retained placentas also may be associated with high inbreeding coefficients. The FPS recommends inbreeding coefficients below 5 percent if possible. A simple rule of thumb is that in a foal's pedigree, no one name should appear more than once within the first three generations (parents, grandparents, great-grandparents). Inbreeding Coefficient Forecasts calculate the percentages of inbreeding for foals resulting from the mating of a particular mare with the North American Studbook Stallions with Approved Breeding Privileges. Members may obtain an inbreeding forecast for their mare(s) from the FHANA secretary upon payment of the appropriate fee(s). Kinship- Kinship percentage is any horses' relationship to the entire Friesian breed.



2.3.1. Approved Breeding Methods - Natural cover, artificial insemination and limited embryo transfer are permitted. Artificial insemination may include breeding with transported cooled semen or frozen semen. Details are in the following sections. For details regarding limited embryo transfer, see Section 2.12.

2.3.2. Breeding Contracts - All breeding contracts and related agreements between mare owners or semen purchasers and stallion owners or semen venders are the responsibility of the parties involved in the transaction. Those involved in breeding transactions are advised to obtain signed agreements which clearly specify all rights and responsibilities of each party. The FHANA assumes no responsibility for any breeding transaction.

2.3.3. Stallion Breeding Limits - Different breeding limits are imposed by the KFPS on stallions not yet approved on offspring versus those stallions that are permanently approved for breeding after completion of their offspring testing. The KFPS may impose further limits on individual stallions who have not completed all their offspring testing within the prescribed time.  These limits may be changed by the KFPS from time to time, and stallion owners/managers are advised to keep abreast of the applicable limits to avoid any penalty that the KFPS may impose for exceeding these limits. Export of North American Approved Stallions Not Yet Approved on Offspring - Stallions approved in North America by virtue of successfully completing the Central Stallion Examination here may not be exported out of North America until they have completed two full breeding seasons. However, they may have semen frozen for use outside of North America, and they may ship cooled semen from North America in order to service mares abroad. Stallions Approved at the North American Central Stallion Examination will have the same rights as stallions approved in the Netherlands

2.3.4. FHANA-Approved Stallion Representative - If the registered owner of an FPS Studbook Stallion with Approved Breeding Privileges is unable to maintain personally the FHANA Stallion Record Book due to geographic or other factors, a stallion representative may be approved by the FHANA at the stallion owner's written request.


2.4.1. Use of Frozen Semen From Deceased Studbook Stallions with Approved Breeding Privileges is authorized except as limited by

2.4.2. Imported Semen - FHANA Policy - The importation of semen into North America is strongly encouraged by the FHANA. This practice will allow a broadening of the gene pool within the Friesian horses in North America. It should be clearly stated that the FHANA is not in the business of importing semen. It is the concern of the FHANA that those members importing semen follow the requirements of the government agencies which have jurisdiction over biologic importation.


2.5.1. Online Recording of Breeding Data- Beginning with the 2011 breeding season, all owners (or their FHANA -approved North American representatives) of Studbook Stallions with Approved Breeding Privileges shall be required to record all breedings and/or semen shipments by utilizing the website.  Breedings and shipments of fresh or frozen semen should be recorded daily, but must  be done at least once per week in any week in which breedings and/or shipments occur.  Failure to comply with this requirement may result in the imposition of a fine and/or revocation of breeding privileges. Continued Use of Stallion Record Books and Paper Breeding Certificates - The continued use of paper breeding certificates is strongly discouraged but is an acceptable alternative for any stallion owner or approved North American representative who does not have the ability to utilize the online system.  If this method is to be used, the stallion owner or representative shall submit the season's Stallion Report and copies (both the mare owner's copy and the FHANA copy) of the paper Breeding Certificates to FHANA prior to December 1 immediately following the breeding season.  Voided certificates must also be submitted; all numbers must be accounted for.  Because of the additional office work required to process the paper reports, a fee of $25.00 must be submitted with each certificate filed in 2012.  Starting with the 2013 breeding season, the fee will be $100.00 per certificate.  Stallion reports filed after the December 1 deadline will be assessed a penalty of $1000.00 per stallion.

2.5.2. Breeding Certificates/Birth Announcements- In accordance with KFPS Registration Rules, Article 15, and beginning with mares bred during the 2012 breeding season, the Breeding Certificates/Birth Announcement forms will be sent directly by FHANA to the mare owners/breeders based upon the breeding data entered by the stallion owners/managers and any paper-based Stallion Reports.  Beginning with foals born in 2013, Stallion owners will no longer have the ability to withhold breeding certificates pending payment of fees and are therefore advised to protect their interests by contract and/or advance payment.  FHANA will NOT delay or deny registration of foals born in 2013 and thereafter due to any financial dispute between stallion and mare owners.

2.5.3. Breeding Certificates for Imported Semen - To enable both the FPS and the FHANA to maintain appropriate breeding records, the following procedure will apply to Breeding Certificates for inseminations with imported semen:

The semen importer must maintain a record of insemination dates, or of semen shipments, if the imported semen was for resale;

When a mare becomes pregnant, the semen importer must obtain a completed "FPS Dekbewijs" form from the stallion owner;

Before December 1 of the breeding year, the importer must submit the "Dekbewijs" form to the FHANA;

A completed Breeding Certificate form will then be issued directly to the mare owner from a Stallion Record Book for Imported Semen, maintained by the FHANA.

2.6. Birth Announcement - Following the foal's birth, the Birth Announcement portion of the Breeding Certificate/Birth Announcement form will be completed by the foal owner. The completed form and the Foal Registration Fee must be submitted to the FHANA within 30 days of the foal's birth. Birth Announcements mailed more than 30 days after the foal's birth must be accompanied by the Penalty for Late Submission of Birth Announcement, as shown on the List of Service Fees.

2.6.1. Naming the Foal - Each calendar year foal names must begin with specific letters designated by the FPS. Names must be relatively simple, ideally consisting of a single word. Abbreviations of farm names or initials are not allowed to precede a name, but may follow the name if approved by the FPS. Names need not be Dutch. Once processed by the FPS, names cannot be changed by the owner.


After processing the Birth Announcement, the FHANA will forward to the foal owner the Birth Acknowledgment form. This document serves as a temporary registration paper and must be presented at the initial judging/ identification marking of the foal. A copy of the document should be retained by the owner.


Unless distance or other constraints make it impossible, all foals must be judged in the year of their birth. Foals are judged by the side of their dams and may receive 1st, 2nd, 3rd or no premiums. The original Birth Acknowledgment document must accompany the foal to the judging. More information about judging may be found in Section 5.

2.8.1. Registration Without Judging - Horses may be registered in the Foal Book and receive a registration certificate without attending an FPS judging if the following conditions are met:

There is a valid reason that the horse cannot attend an FPS judging in the year of its birth;

Parentage must be verified at owner expense;

Simultaneous to obtaining a sample of genetic material for parentage testing, identification coding must be done;

These procedures must be performed and certified by a licensed veterinarian who is not the present or former owner of the horse or its dam, using instructions and materials provided by the FHANA.


Each foal receives a permanent identification code. This is customarily administered to the foal as a part of the registration process, in the year of birth. This code will appear on the horse's permanent registration document. Refer to the Appendix for "Specifications for Permanent Identification for Friesian Horses".


At the time the foal is initially presented for registration, the owner must relinquish the original Birth Acknowledgment document to the FPS judges or the FHANA. It will be replaced with the appropriate FPS Registration Certificate. An explanation of each item on the laminated certificates is in the Appendix. Additional registration information can be found in Section 4.


2.11.1. Parentage Verification Policy - Genetic samples enabling parentage verification will be taken from all foals and their dams. The samples may be used to verify parentage at the discretion of the FHANA and/or the FPS. By requesting registration of a foal, foal owners agree to provide appropriate genetic material from the foal and dam. In addition, parentage verification testing at the owner's expense will be required in all of the following cases:

  1. a. embryo transfer;
  2. b. foals weaned prior to judging;
  3. c. horses registered without being presented at a judging;
  4. d. foals produced by dams who were bred to more than one stallion within a period of three consecutive breeding cycles;
  5. e. other situations in which the parentage and/or identity of the horse cannot be conclusively proved without parentage verification testing.
  6. Parentage verification at the owner's expense is available for any horse at the owner's request.

2.11.2. Stallion Genetic Testing - All stallions used for breeding must have appropriate genetic test results on file with the FHANA and/or the FPS before they can be granted approved breeding privileges or have their offspring registered.

2.11.3. Parentage Verification Requirement for Registration - Genetic material appropriate for parentage verification or actual test results when required (see Parentage Verification Policy, section 2.11.1.) must be on file with the FHANA before the Registration Certificate will be forwarded to the owner.

2.11.4. Obtaining Genetic Material from Dams - It is the responsibility of each foal owner to provide genetic material from the foal's dam for parentage verification. In any case where genetic material from the dam is not already on file with the FHANA, owners are advised to request genetic testing of the dam as soon as a foal is born. This will insure that the foal's parentage can be verified in the event the dam is not available at the time the foal is presented for registration.

2.11.5. Kits for Collecting Genetic Material and instructions shall be sent to owners upon request and payment of the appropriate fee to the FHANA. The owner must specify the particular horses to be tested at the time the kits are requested. Veterinary costs related to parentage verification and mailing costs to the lab are the responsibility of the owner.

2.11.6. Certification of Genetic Material - Members of the FPS jury, officials designated by the FHANA Board of Directors or the horse owner's veterinarian may collect the genetic material for parentage verification. The veterinarian or official of FHANA or the FPS must certify the identification code number of the horse. The owner or former owner may not certify their own horse, even if they are a veterinarian.

2.11.7. Parentage Verification Results and Discrepancies - The test results of parentage verification will be maintained in confidential storage by the Association and will not be available to owners. Random verification of test results will be performed at the discretion of the Board of Directors at the FHANA's expense. Parentage verification discrepancies will be reviewed by the Board. If further testing reveals that a discrepancy does not exist, the owner will be reimbursed the cost of taking samples. However, if further testing confirms a discrepancy, the horse's owner will be responsible for all costs of testing.


The main reason for embryo transfers is to enable high performance mares to have foals without interrupting training/competition schedules. Two further reasons are increasing the number of foals from a mare in her later years after her offspring have been proven, i.e. from a preferential or performance mother, or when an accident has made further pregnancies impossible. Subject to the foregoing and other exceptional circumstances, foals produced by embryo transfer may be registered, provided the following conditions are met:


With the continued growth of transferred embryo and frozen embryo processing, it is incumbent on the Friesian Horse Association of North America to develop a process to register the frozen embryo in order to insure accuracy of the pedigree and minimize potential confusion and conflict. The following are a set of proposed rules to monitor the performance of embryo/oocyte in both frozen and natural methods.
Forms (These forms are available on the FHANA website)
·         Frozen Embryo Transfer Enrollment Form
·         Frozen Embryo Transfer of Ownership
·         Embryo Transfer Enrollment


2.12.2. Embryo/Oocyte Transfer -a horse foaled by a mare that is not its genetic dam but transferred to her by embryo/oocyte transfer technique shall be eligible for registration, provided the following notification procedures have been performed.

        1. Prior to the intended collection of the fertilized egg, the owner or lessee has notified FHANA in writing of its intention to attempt an embryo/oocyte transfer and has paid the appropriate fee. The Embryo Transfer Enrollment form should be used to notify of the planned collection of the fertilized egg. The Embryo Transfer Enrollment form will be signed by both the stallion owner and mare owner. A penalty of $50.00 will be applied if Enrollment is received after collection of the embryo and a penalty of $75.00 will be applied if Enrollment is received after foaling. The fees are non-refundable. Substitutions can be made only in cases of death of the mare of the stallion.
        2. If a mare is enrolled with FHANA for embryo/oocyte transfer but the procedure is not attempted or is unsuccessful, FHANA will be notified in writing prior to Dec. 31st. The enrollment could then be transferred to the following year if so desired.
        3. Embryo Transfer Enrollment forms will be required for each embryo transfer attempted. Multiple breedings or harvesting of multiple embryos will require multiple Enrollments.


2.12.3. Frozen Embryo- A horse foaled by a mare that is not its genetic dam but transferred to her by frozen embryo/oocyte transfer technique shall be eligible for registration, provided the following notification procedures have been performed.

1. Prior to the intended collection and freezing of the fertilized egg, the owner or lessee has notified FHANA in writing of its intention to attempt an embryo/oocyte freezing and has paid the appropriate fee. The Frozen Embryo Transfer Enrollment form should be used to notify of the planned collection and freezing of the fertilized egg. The Frozen Embryo Transfer Enrollment  form will be signed by both the stallion owner and mare owner. A penalty of $50.00 will be applied if Enrollment is received after collection and freezing of the embryo and a penalty of $75.00 will be applied if Enrollment is received after foaling. The fees are non-refundable. Substitutions can be made only in cases of death of the mare or the stallion. 
2. If a mare is enrolled with FHANA for frozen embryo/oocyte transfer but the procedure is not attempted or is unsuccessful, FHANA will be notified in writing prior to Dec. 31st. The Enrollment could then be transferred to the following year if so desired. Frozen embryo’s that have not been stored prior to January 1st, 2008 must be registered and follow all applicable rules and regulations. 
3. A registration number will be issued by FHANA that will reference the enrollment form.
4. Frozen Embryo Transfer Enrollment forms will be required for each embryo transfer attempted. Multiple breedings will require multiple Enrollments.
5. The ownership of the frozen embryo may be transferred. Each transfer of ownership of the embryo will be recorded by the FHANA. The transfer of ownership will be completed by filling out the Frozen Embryo Transfer of Ownership and submitting it to FHANA along with a copy of the Frozen Embryo Transfer Enrollment. A transfer of ownership fee of $50.00 will accompany the Frozen Embryo Transfer of Ownership form.
FHANA, in order to avoid conflict, strongly encourages that the fulfillment of the contract for both Embryo Transfer and Frozen Embryo Transfer be agreed upon by both the mare and stallion owners prior to insemination. Language addressing the execution of the procedure and fulfillment should be contained in the Stallion Owners Breeding Contract. As with every breeding the loss of the stallion’s services must also be addressed in the agreement.