I’m going to buy a friesian horse when i have the money. I’ve noticed that the feathers can promote different kinds of bacterias and so on and make wounds, eczemia and so on because the dirt and water are hard to cleanse out. I’m curious, has anyone cut off the feathers of a friesian to prevent this from happening? I’ve seen a couple photos on the internet and i think the friesians still look great without their feathers.
There is a Friesian at our barn; the owners have had do that for the reasons you describe. He looks fine. Another friend of mine never had to do it. Not sure where you are geographically but they will struggle some in hot southern climates.
Unless you intend to show in breed shows, treat him like you would any other horse.
I routinely trimmed the feathers of a TWH I had who grew them & also cut short the feathering on my Hackney pony.
Both of these were in Winter when I wanted to avoid mud/ice balling up in the feathers.
Both grew feathers back the next year.
Just something to consider: Friesians have bone, A LOT of bone. Some of them have clean tight legs with a lot of bone but others seem to have “softer” legs. If they don’t have super tight legs taking away the feathers can reveal a less shapely lower leg. Of course the horse won’t care one bit but just thought I’d throw it out there from an aesthetics point of view.
My Friesian cross has little feathering - a funny curl dead center front & a bit in back. Really it looks just like a regular horse leg that is a bit shaggy. I was actually thinking today that if I show her I might clean it up & remove the rudiments that she has.
for breed shows, it is a big no-no. You might get stoned.
I have seen vids of ones with full feathers being cleaned up - clipped in the front & left a bit in the back. However I think this was for open shows.
Funny, but my Clyde x mare has lots of feathers… we never clip and never have any problems with mud fever, etc. It seems that the feathers do keep the dirt and moisture away from the skin. However, other horses at the barn (Belgians/ASB x Clyde crosses) have constant problems… and the ASB/Clydes do not have feathers like my mare… but they all have white feet.
I’ve known a LOT of Friesians, and none have ever had an issue with their feathers. The only one to have an issue with it is the farrier!
My friend has a Fresian cross mare that has Clyde somewhere a couple of generations back (hence the color). We live in Va and she found that her mare was getting scratches very frequently until she started keeping her legs clipped. https://www.flickr.com/photos/simbalism/10082089604/
Clyde owner, feathers are a pain, but I would never consider fully clipping them. I have, at times, if dealing with scratches clipped an area, but never the whole leg. They do tend to protect the leg, the top layer can be dirty as sin and you lift the feathers up and underneath is clean! But in summer when it gets really humid or Spring really wet, you have to take extra care. I would imagine you can oil a Fresians feathers (mineral oil and sulfur) just like a Clyde this helps kill bacteria as well as conditions the feathers. Just found Keratex makes a Mud Shield Powder to help with moisture against the legs, going to give that a shot see if it works, have heard of using Gold Bond powder for the same thing. Seems to be a very individual thing if the horse has problems or not, but given that a Fresian is black you probably won’t have as many issues as the white legged Clyde. My Clyde as one black leg and that one doesn’t get a many issues as the whites.
IIRC doesn’t the breed standard call for NO cutting of hair? I guess that won’t matter unless you are showing breed shows. In the end, your horse you proceed as you see fit. Enjoy!
We now have a 1/2 Percheron (1/2 KWPN) in our “herd”. He has 4 white socks and will grow feathers. Flashy yes-- but his former owner told us that he gets really bad scratches in the warm months. The vet who did the PPE on him told us that cutting off his feathers will help prevent that. So far, so good–we have kept his feathers clipped and no scratches as of June. We got through our spring mud with no issues. So we are going to continue to keep them clipped. I have also heard that white legs are much more likely to have these types of issues.
Yes, to all of the above. The friesian that I am in training with get awful infections in her feathers and she is at a top-of-line facility. You can tell she gets uncomfortable and that they itch. We’ve had to keep them trimmed for months because the fungal infections thrive when the hair is long. It stays damp closer to the skin and it’s hidden. I’m in Southern California and even with the dry heat the fungi finds a way. Be very careful around water and moisture. We’ve started using M-T-G and seems to be getting better.
Friesians are very high maintenance! Her hooves have also developed an infection. The issue with the feathers also affects her performance because she’s uncomfortable and the infections can become sore and develop into open sores. Maybe your horse will be lucky and not have any issues, but be prepared just incase.
Recently saw a photo of a Friesian in GB with clean, clipped legs. Looked great – but that’s not the breed standard. Yes, you’d get drummed out of the Friesian corps for touching those dang feathers.
Too much hair to maintain, if you ask me. (And of course you didn’t!)
We had a pair of old Gelderlanders who had the heavier feathering on their legs. I just kept them clipped off for all the health reasons you mentioned. They never had any leg issues, scratches, etc., while living with us. Each had three white legs and one black leg, so I had white and color to deal with. They had tremendous hooves, thick walled, large, always sound. Great old pair of horses to enjoy.
Fresians are cute, but I am not into hair so anything I owned would have a short mane, legs clipped tight for easy care, preventing leg problems. Way too much work to keep all that flying hair clean and flowing. We use our horses, they get sweaty, dirty in our various weather conditions. Keeping them short maned, roached, with clean legs, keeps them healthy, easily cared for.
Some of these features we breed into horses and dogs, wouldn’t help them survive in the wild. Just ornamental for human interest. So when they cause problems to the horse, often the best health solution with the hair is removal with frequent clipping. I just could not feature having to deal with constant infections, fungi problems on my horses so they look “breedy”. Once a year would be too much trouble!
Depends on the horse and where you are, if its hot, humid and wet? You’ll probably clip. Had a Clyde cross come into the barn for training with feathers and request for extra turn out. Unfortunately the hair picked up debris and some stickers from the taller pasture grasses and it would work down to the skin, miserable to try to pick it out. So it got clipped.
Know those feathers were selected for back when to protect the lower legs but whether it was high heather along the a Firth of Clyde or whatever grows on the other side of the channel? It was not what we have over here, particularly further south.
I clip my Friesian mare’s legs, and jaw, and bridle path every two weeks - the hair grows very quickly. I did it so that I could see and reasonably palpate her legs, and so that she’d cool more efficiently in hot weather. She looks fabulous clipped, and now her tail is trimmed top and bottom. I braid her mane tight along her crest for competitions, and I’ve left her mane long because a running braid takes so much less time to put in every day at shows. Even her owner, who’s a die-hard Friesian fan loves how she looks clipped and trimmed.
Why would you buy a Friesian and then clip it, what’s the point?
Personally if anything drafty ever comes into my barn it gets its legs clipped pronto. Even horses that fox hunt. To my eye, horses invariably look better and also I find it easier to keep their legs clean and in good shape. If there is a small patch of dew poisoning or scratches, I can see it right away and get the medication down to the affected area with ease. If a horse has a lot of leg hair, it is difficult to see the problem before it becomes significant.
FWIW my opinion could be biased, I really have no patience for long manes or tails that drag the ground either.
I was just looking at this article on scratches in terms of dealing with white legs (no feathers) but since it was written for Gypsies I think it might be relevant. I’m not associated with the company but I do use the Lucky Braids shampoo and it’s better than anything else I’ve tried (like an enzyme wash it cleans the hair without stripping oils, so no drying and I can not bathe the paint mare as often).
Interesting question as I was just wondering about this for my Welsh Cob filly. I trim her feet myself and her feathers get in the way and I was thinking about trimming them. We’re just starting training and won’t be going to any shows for a year or so so I guess I could trim them and then see where we are when they grow back…
I struggle with the mane. It is thick and long. I like short manes. But a longer mane is easier to do a running braid with than a shorter mane is to do button braids.
First world problems, indeed!
I don’t understand all the feathering. It’s like Brittany Spaniels. The breed standard states very little feathering, and yet the “show” type have all kinds of long hair. Now he field/sport type, don’t have longer hair at all. I don’t even like my hair to get too long, I definitely couldn’t deal with it on my horse, or my dogs.
But I am not a freisian person. I believe the breed has some exceptional attributes, but that HAIR! Makes me hot just thinking about it.