Thursday, December 31, 2009

Encounter With a Friesian in Oppède Le Vieux

This just may be my favourite vignette of the entire trip.

We were just about to head out of Oppède Le Vieux when I noticed that my son and a few other people were looking at this man and his horse.

He had stopped to give his horse some water. I still have some interest in horses so I tried to determine what breed this might be. Maybe he was a young Percheron, the smallest of the draft breeds?
Feeling very drawn to this horse, I went up to his handler and said "Percheron?"  He replied with "Friesian". I had not heard of such a breed but I was determined to remember the name and look into it further when I got home.

As they proceeded on their walk the animal decided to check out the local cafe, no doubt looking to see if any of his buddies were in there. His owner was ahead of him and didn't immediately realize that the horse had walked over to the window. That's right, this horse was, other than for these couple of minutes, simply following his handler. No rope connected the two and it was the horses choice to go to the window. The small crowd of about 6 people was delighted!

Then off they went, like a dog following his owner, but with the Friesian still checking out the windows.

The gentleness and obvious character of this horse left me in awe. I think I want one.

A few interesting details about Friesians from Wikipedia:
"The Friesian is most often recognized by its black coat color, though color alone is not their only distinguishing characteristic. Friesian horses also have a long, thick mane and tail, often wavy, and "feathers"--long, silky hair on the lower legs, deliberately left untrimmed."

"The breed is known for a brisk, high-stepping trot. The Friesian is considered a willing, active, and energetic horse that is also gentle and docile. A Friesian tends to have great presence and to carry itself with elegance."

Ancestors of the modern Friesians were used in medieval times to carry knights to battle, but lighter breeds have been introduced into the bloodlines to produce a smaller lighter horse. The Friesian's average height is about 15.3 hands.

"Friesian horses are popular in both Europe and the United States, and are often used today for Dressage competition, pleasure riding, and driving. Friesian horses can do well in dressage competition due to the breed's movement, trainability, appearance, power, and body control."

1 comment:

  1. oh, you've got a shiny, new blog!

    these images are priceless, the horse a true beauty.

    well, i stopped by to wish you a (belated) Grand and Glittering new year :-)