Fjord HorseFamily: EquidaeEquus caballusPhoto © Animal World: Courtesy Ken Childs
The Norwegian Fjord Horse is not only one of the oldest breed of horse, but it is also one of the purest breeds!
The Norwegian Fjord Horse, or Fjord Horse, is a very old Breed and thought to be one of the world's oldest breed of horse. It developed in the inaccessible mountainous regions of Norway where it is known as the Fjording. Selective breeding and isolation has kept the breed extremely pure over the centuries. Archeological records show that these horses were used by the Vikings and accompanied them in their explorations and conquests as early as 2000 years ago.
Though small, the Norwegian Fjord horses are strong and extremely hardy. For hundreds of years they were used for riding and working farms in a harsh environment. The Norwegian Fjord is a versatile and hardy breed whose attractive dun color is complemented by a distinctive two toned mane.
Intelligent and affectionate, Fjords have a kind but sometimes obstinate disposition. Their versatility and hardiness makes them a suitable choice for children and adults alike looking for a pleasure horse or a competitive sport horse in many disciplines. They are known to be durable. long-lived, and relatively easy to maintain.
The National Fjord Horse Registry (NFHR) does not allow outbreeding, therefore registered Fjords are a very pure breed with a detailed ancestry going back many generations. There are many reputable breeders throughout the United States and the Norwegian Fjord horse registry maintains a list of breeders.
The Norwegian Fjord Horse is a light horse breed. Light horse breeds generally weigh under 1,500 pounds. They are typically used as riding horses for leisure and trail riding. Being agile and swift, many are also used on the racetrack, in the show ring, and for work on the ranch.
Light horses are grouped in a couple of different ways, one being the continent or country where they originated from. They are also grouped according to training, classified as either a stock type, hunter type, saddle type, or 'other'. A body type is generally attributed to each class, with the 'other' classification being a bit of an odd ball. It includes those that are color breeds or those that may fit a body type of one of the training classes, but not be used for that type of training. The 'other' types can also include those that may fit into more than one of the type groups.
The Norwegian Fjord Horse fits into the 'other' type class. It is a strong durable horse developed for farm work, and make excellent driving horses. Their grace and power can also make them competitive in dressage, show jumping, and the cross country course.
The Norwegian Fjord Horse is a very old Breed developed in the inaccessible mountainous regions of Norway. It is thought to be one of the world's oldest breed of horse. Selective breeding and isolation has kept the breed extremely pure over the centuries. Archeological records show that these horses were used by the Vikings and accompanied them in their explorations and conquests as early as 2000 years ago.
This breed shares many of the characteristics of the wild Przewalski's horse to whom it was once speculated to be descended from. Used for riding and working the farms in a harsh environment, Fjord horses are extremely hardy and relatively easy to maintain.
This breed ranges from 13 to 14.2 hands high and weighs 900 to 1200 pounds. They are dun in color with a dorsal stripe running along the midline of the back. 90 percent are brown duns, with the other acceptable colors being red, grey, white or yellow dun.
They are known for their distinctive two toned mane which is black in the center, sandwiched between shorter, lighter hair. It is usually cut short enough to stand upright, with the center black hairs left longer to display the black stripe. Fjords are long lived, and it is not unusual for them to live into their late 30's.
Fjords are "easy keepers", with a tendency to become overweight if fed an unrestricted diet and not exercised. Grass hay supplemented by no more than 2 to 4 percent of their body weight with a medium to low protein grain is recommended. Because of their hardy nature do not require excessive grain or supplements.
Their keen intelligence demands that they be kept in a stimulated environment. They do not do well when confined to a stall 24 hours a day. They thrive in pasture or turn out.
Grooming is essential, especially in winter when if left unclipped they will grow a thick and wooly coat. They tend to have excellent, well balanced feet and are often left unshod.
The versatility of the Fjord makes them useful in many disciplines. They are good on the trail and make ideal pleasure horses. If properly trained, their grace and power can also make them competitive in the dressage arena, the show jumping arena, and the cross country course. They make excellent driving horses whose good bone and hardy stature facilitate their great strength and willingness to work.
Fjords are known for their hardy nature and common equine ailments such as colic and laminitis are relatively rare in this breed. If the feet are neglected and the coat is not groomed regularly, skin and coat conditions such as rain rot and thrush may become a problem.
The Norwegian Fjord Horse is available throughout the United States. Prices begin at about $2,000 dollars and up depending on their bloodlines and training
Ms. Ellen Barry of Henderson, TN
Corinne Clark, A Pocket Guide to Horses and Ponies , Parragon Inc., 2007
National Fjord Horse Registry (NFHR), October 2006 Minnesota Equestrian Center, Winona Minnesota Author: Joan Childs