Many horse shows have a period costume class, and this is the one for Friesians. It’s cool because the Friesian is believed to be descended from the medieval warhorses that carried knights into battle. It is a beautiful animal, very showy, but also a heavily built animal–a heavy war horse.
So the costumes are all medieval! Very fun for fantasy readers/writers.
I have never ridden a Friesian, but judging by this video they appear to be temperamental animals compared to the mild-mannered Arabians I used to ride. One lady even gets thrown from her horse during this video! No worries–she knows what she’s doing and lands on her feet.
In fact, it’s a good example of what to do if you’re ever on a horse that does such a thing! If you want to see the incident, it’s at around the 3:10 mark in the video. There are three ways a horse can shed its rider (that I know of). One is by bucking, one is by spinning, and the other is by rearing. In ten years of riding, I was only thrown once. It’s not something that happens often with well-trained horses–mostly it is something they do when they are frightened.
Bucking is the least dangerous because a horse can’t buck without lowering its head as a counterweight. Keep the horse well in hand and keep its head up, and it won’t be able to buck.
Spinning is bad because the physics involved make the rider very likely to come off. But this is the way I was thrown, and it wasn’t so bad. You tend to get thrown low to the ground with a spin, and I landed on my butt, completely unhurt.
Rearing is the worst, because there is nothing the rider can do to stop the horse from doing it, and if the horse goes over backwards on top of the rider, the rider can be very seriously injured. We were taught to bail out if a horse reared–just jump off and get clear. A rearing horse is a panicked horse. Its behavior is unpredictable and you just want to get out of harm’s way. In ten years, it never once happened to me. But it happens to the rider in this video, and it’s no little tentative, half-hearted rear. The horse goes all the way up.
Lovely, lovely animals though. And costumes.