Premiums, or premies, are essentially a rating or classification. Premiums are awarded at Friesian inspections and classify a particular horse into categories of excellence. Each horse is judged individually against the Friesian standard, not against each other, and premies are awarded to those who show exceptional qualities. A Friesian normally receives two premium ratings in their lives, one when they are foals, at their first inspection, and and another when they are presented for Studbook at age three or older. There are three premium classes. The third, awarded with a white ribbon, indicates a good Friesian horse of average quality and is the most commonly awarded, at 50%. The second premie, awarded with a red ribbon, is a very good quality Friesian and makes up about 35% of the population. First premium horses are awarded with an orange ribbon (update: now awarded with a blue ribbon in the USA), are of exceptional quality, and only the top 5% of the Friesian population will receive this rating. When inspected as adults, horses that receive a first or second premie may also be evaluated for and receive the exceptional ‘Star’ rating.
Friesians may also be accepted into the Foalbook with no premie if the horse qualifies based on lineage but displays illegal white markings, unsoundness or general poor physical condition. About 10% of inspected Friesians fall into this category.