Happy First of October!
Gift Shop Expands!
I've added a section in the gift shop for any Norwegian Fjord Horse lovers out there featuring a photo of our "baby" Fjord (also the biggest) Lars.
The other sections, as noted in the last newsletter offer gifts featuring our ranch logo, a stylized fjord silhouette.
Whatever happened to August anyway?
Well, I missed my deadline for getting the September 1 issue of this newsletter out big time.
I'm looking around to fix the blame but the finger keeps pointing back at me. Actualy, much of the summer has been dedicated to fixing up our unfinished basement - which is now finished - and other things just kinda got away from me.
So if you've been waiting with baited breath (you have, haven't you?) for the Sept 1 issue, my apologies.
Now I suddenly realize that as we're soontaking a brief vacation, if I don't get on the ball I'll miss the Oct 1 deadline as well. So here goes.
Been doing some editing of the home page of Your-Guide-to- ... - I'm trying to make it a more "compact". If a page is too long it better be pretty interesting to the reader or he or she goes elsewhere. It's not quite to my liking yet but I'll keep trying. If you feel I've got it right, let me know!
I've added a banner which one can click on to make a donation to the Red Cross for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Unfortunately scams abound on the internet but this is a legitimate link. I'll leave it up for awhile, at least until hurricane season is over.
Hope New Orleans recovers. It's been ten years since we visited Bourbon Street, heard good music, ate good food, and met friendly folks. It's heartbreaking to know that so many of them lost everything as did people in Alabama and Mississippi as well.
August was hot and dry in western Montana. There were a few forest fires, a large one east of us in the Bob Marshall Wilderness and also several down south by Interstate 90 near Missoula. Nothing like the terrible fires we had a couple of years back where it seemed every day was more smoke-filled than the day before.
September has been cooler but we've had plenty of nice late summer days.
I've seen the reviews of top horse books published in 2004 as selected by American Horse Publications' panel of judges. The top two would certainly make nice gift ideas - not that the others wouldn't.
- 1st place - The Art of the Western Saddle, by Bill Reynolds
The flap copy says, "This is an elegant look at the evolution of saddle design and decoration." The book contains interesting historical facts on saddle making on almost every page. But it's the detailed photos that makes this book a "page turner". This is a coffee table book for any horseman's or horsewoman's library.
- 2nd place - The American Quarter Horse, David Stocklein
The panel commented that this is a beautifully done tribute to the American Quarter Horse. This collection of photographs, background, and historical facts lets the reader learn the importance of this breed that helped change the face of the American West.
I'm of the opinion that most any book featuring Stoecklein photographs is well worth the money, so this one is probably no different in that respect.
As we have a couple of Norwegian Fjord Horses in the family and they have given us so much pleasure I thought I'd devote an article to them. So for this month that's what the main article will be about.
This is not the beginning of a series about the different horse breeds. There are plenty of books on that and I don't believe I should attempt writing articles on breeds I'm not familiar with.
Looking for a Good All-Around Horse? Consider the Norwegian Fjord - a Cool Breed
They've been described as "the golden retrievers of the horse world".
- Do you want a horse with a gentle disposition that loves people, children, and beagles?
- How about a horse that you can ride, hitch up to a cart or buggy, serve as a pack horse, draw oohs and aahs in a parade, or help you log off the north forty?
- Or one that, in spite of it's stocky appearance, competes in dressage and jumping.
I would recommend you take a look at the versatile Norwegian Fjord.
It was inevitable that we would end up with one or two Fjords. When we first drove by a farm where 30 0r more Fjords were out in the pasture, my Scandinavian wife decided that no household should be with out a Scandinavian horse. We paid the owner a visit and the rest as they say is history.
Some Fjord owners bristle when the breed is described as a pony, others don't mind. At up to 15 hands they make rather large ponies but however you categorize them Fjords are unique in many ways. They are generally highly trainable, learning much faster than many other breeds, easy going, and seldom spooked (although we've survived confrontations with flapping tarps and unfriendly looking mailboxes).
The striking features of the Fjords are the coarse mane (traditionally trimmed short and erect), the dorsal stripe, usually black and particulary noticable in the mane, stripes on the legs, dun color (normally a blonde buckskin with black dorsal stripe) , full crested neck, and wide-set gentle eyes.
If the Fjord has any "limitations" it would probably be lack of speed and turning ability. You won't find the Fjord at the racetrack or in calf roping competition - at least I haven't seen them either place yet. But for pleasure riding they're hard to beat.
The Norwegian Fjord has been bred in it's homeland for over 2000 years, serving as the horse of the Vikings and in more recent times gaining a reputaion as one of the best mountain horses in the world.
Living in relative isolation in far northern Europe contributed to the purity of the breed and Fjord Horse organizations, including the Norwegian Fjord Horse Registry in the USA are striving to preserve that purity. While in the US the Fjord is considered an "exotic" breed it's numbers are increasing and breeders are located in most parts of the countryThe Fjord is related to the primitive asian wild horse, the Prezewalski, although the closeness of this relationship is open to some controversy.
If you find yourself among a group of Fjord Horse lovers you'll soon discover the Fjords are often referred to as "weegies". You'll probably see the inevitable Have You Driven a Fjord Lately? t-shirt and might even meet the lady who named one of her horses "Harrison Fjord".
Our Fjord's names are Lars and Nessi, both geldings and both registered. Both are very affectionate with Lars being the most playful and also exhibiting some Norwegian stubborness from time to time. Nessi's claim to fame is transporting groups of people on sleigh rides during the holiday season some years back. Nessi has also been used for riding lessons and is very good around small children.
They are fun to be around. And as with the golden retriever, spend a little time around a Fjord and you'll probably fall in love with it.
You can find out much more about the breed at the Norweigian Fjord Horse Registry at http://www.nfhr.com/.
Have a great Autumn.
Goose Bay Ranch