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Norwegian Fjord

Fjord Horse

Family: Equidae Norwegian Fjord, Norwegian Fjord Horse photosEquus caballusPhoto © Animal World: Courtesy Ken Childs
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I have a 5-6 yr old Fjord, shy of 15 hands and about 1100lbs. Just moved him to Florida from Nebraska. Everyone that sees him says he is fat. He does not have a... (more)  Kelly Hoffman Patterson

  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.

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Perissodactyla
  • Family: Equidae
  • Genus: Equus
  • Species: caballus
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Horse Breeds

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.

Horse Backgrounds

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.

Horse Care and Feeding

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.

Horse Training and Activities

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.

Common Health Problems

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


Personal knowledge
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

Lastest Animal Stories on Norwegian Fjord

Kelly Hoffman Patterson - 2014-07-14
I have a 5-6 yr old Fjord, shy of 15 hands and about 1100lbs. Just moved him to Florida from Nebraska. Everyone that sees him says he is fat. He does not have a belly and to me, looks good. Only thing I notice, but thought it a Fjord thing, is his crested neck. He is in a large paddock but does need some exercise, which starts this weekend with the round pen. He is only on hay, from Nebraska, right now. Should I be feeding anything else? supplements, etc?

  • Clarice Brough - 2014-07-22
    Sounds like you have a wonderful horse. Hay is very good and should be the main component of a horses diet as it provides roughage. There are also many specialized supplements for coat, joints, and hooves that can be fed for extra nutrition. However, I would talk to an equine veterinarian in the area about his diet before adding supplementation. You can learn more diet in the horse feeding section on the 'Horse Care Page'... here: Feeding
LL - 2012-05-04
Hi, can someone give me some input on feeding of fyord horse, located in florida, how much food does it need .. really....... it gets no grazing and only gets minimal hay, one to two flakes coastal hay, bored to death, only gets 1/4 of scoop twice a day. very depressed horse......

  • Jim Smith - 2013-04-22
    Sounds like he needs a job, put him to work. Horses do not make good lawn ornaments. It is your job as a responsible horse owner to keep him fit, which means exercise, which in turn will stimulate his mind.
  • Dream Giver - 2013-08-21
    I see this all the time running a rescue. People talk about fat unmanageable horses. Horses need jobs and interaction. Don't try to manage weight with feed alone. They need exercise and socialization. Give them direction and love or please people don't get animals!
Synne - 2013-06-19
Im from Norway, and love our fjord horses. I can only tell you about the norvegian type since they are bred differently in other parts of the world, but they are indeed amazing horses. They are strong both in mind and body, have a robust body, good health and are probably one of the worlds best all-round horses. They are up to anything! In Norway, no animal that isnt gentle are taken out of the breeding program, no matter how good it may be, this to ensure that the breed stays gentle. They are just as perfect to beginners as they are to more advanced riders. But it does not give you anything for free, you get exanctly what you are asking for, nothing less, nothing more, so in other words, the fjord is just as good as you. Norway got two other native breeds that are superb! The dole is a bigger horse, wery beautiful, gentle and healty. The northern pony (nordlandshest/lyngshest) is a old horsebreed (some say just as old as the fjord, but it has not been proven)and is realy goodlooking and cute :) I love our norwegian horses :D

  • Clarice Brough - 2013-06-21
    What a fascinating story! I would love to see your Norwegian horses... and please... add pictures:)
athompson - 2012-04-06
I have had my fjord gelding for 10 months now. He is very good natured but does have a will of his own when he wants to ex, Bucking when he can't get his own way and sometimes takes off unexpectedly when riding outside. Does anyone else have this?

  • Charlie Roche - 2012-04-06
    I thought that was just spirit. You wouldn't want a riding companion that doesn't have a little personality and get up and go. Would you? Now, you know sometimes you just have to let the fella think he is the boss - and then learn how to lead. I much prefer a horse with a little personality then a peaceful, always there, blah personality. He is just got a little spirit. This can be true of any breed of horse ---
  • mrs colette perriman - 2012-08-18
    Yes I have a fjord as well and he's the same.  He was great when I first got him but now very strong, and tries it on when out hacking, turns me round to go his way and I try turning him round again he gets a right strop and starts playing up. I'm quite a nervous rider to so he scares me when he does this.  If I  let him he would gallop all the way back to the yard. But so good on the ground,and very loving,just chances when out hacking.
  • Jim Smith - 2013-04-22
    Sounds to me as though the horse is in control not the rider. I have spent my entire life (58 years old)around horse. I trained professionally for 10 year, worked as a blacksmith for another 10, the balance showing and just enjoying horses. Any horse can have the issues you are experiencing with your horse. Sounds as if you would benefit from some round pen work, getting your horse in control, as well as taking the rough edges off before mounting up and heading down the trail.