Article: The Norwegian Fjord Horse
A Cool Breed
Sleigh Riding in NW Montana - Photo Courtesy of BUSHWHACKER FJORDS.
Are you looking for a Good All-Around Horse? The Norwegian Fjord Horse has been described as "the golden retriever 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.
Take another 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 without 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.
It's probably no surprise that the Norwegians chose to depict a pair of Fjords on a postage stamp.
Norwegian fjord horses 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 Norwegian 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 Horse 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 country
The 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
, both geldings and both registered. They 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 Christmas season some years back.
Nessi has also been used for riding lessons and is very good around small children.
They're 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
Norwegian Fjord Horse Registery
and I suggest you also pay a visit to the Willow's Edge Farm web site.
The Fjord is superb when it comes to the sport of driving. We've driven both singles and doubles with our Fjords. Nessi is an old hand at it and a hard worker (in fact Lars will let Nessi do the lion's share of the workload if we're not paying attention. As far as learning to pull a carriage or cart the FJord is a quick learner.
If you're not aquainted with the world af carriages and driving there are some excellent books on driving we can recommend.
Discover Horse Carriage Driving
The Info Port for Recreational Horse Carriage Driving, is an excellent and informative web site about driving and carriages (and the Fjord). Well worth a visit.
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