|Arabo-Friesians are not just simple crosses between Friesians and Arabians.
Around 1900, the Friesians were crossbred in order to be more suitable for agricultural work. Unfortunately, this development reduced the lung and heart volume of the breed. As a result, during the 1960's, Friesian horses disappeared from international driving and dressage arenas. Therefore, some breeders decided to return to the roots of a more original Friesian breed. These experts began to search for the best desert Arabian blood, which was first introduced into the breed 400 years before, to breed to carefully selected Friesian mares. They chose the well-known, elite stallion, "Gharib", a straight Egyptian stallion at Marbach State Stud, in order to improve the following athletic characteristics:
These changes resulted in a horse with a different muscular structure, a quick return to a normal pulse, and a better ability to give off heat through a finer skin, while maintaining the beauty and movement, which was rigorously selected in the original purebred Friesian.
The 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, generations of Arabo-Friesians are horses that have been very successful in a variety of equestrian sports. For example, a team of Arabo-Friesians have won the Belgian four-in-hand championships for eight successive years. At international driving competitions, including World Championships, they have been regularly placed among the TOP TEN for many years. Recently, Arabo-Friesians have been competing successfully in dressage.
Most breeding stallions come from the Ritske and Age lines, which are the old Friesian sire lines known for their athleticism. Since 90% of today's Friesians are descendants of the Mark sire line, which is only rarely found among Arabo-Friesians, all 231 Friesian dam lines can be used for breeding. The breeding goal is -20 % Arabian blood, so that the horses look like Friesians, with their typical way of moving, and have the endurance and toughness of the Arabian.