The Fjord horse is a native of Norway. It is small in size usually but is known for its strong muscles. It is bred mostly for its agility and good temperament. These horses are capable of carrying great load, despite being small in size. It has been bred in farms of Norway for over the years. This horse is believed to have been purebred ever since its evolution, hence possessing more pure genetic qualities than other breeds.
- These horses have distinct features such flat and broad foreheads with medium sized heads.
- The small size paired with well built muscles make it stand out among other horses. Fjord horses possess large, round eyes and small ears. The coat is thick, ideal for cold climates.
- This breed of horse grows up to a height of 135 cm to 150 cm. They usually weigh around 400kg to 500 kg.
These breeds come in varied colors of coats.
- The most common breed of this species is the brown dun. The coat is pale yellow in color.
- The breed may also be found in shades of black and brown. The red dun breed wears a golden coat. These breeds are also found in shades of grey from light silver to dark grey.
- The white dun has cream color coat. The yellow dun is one of the rarest breeds and has a faint yellow coat.
This breed of horses is native to Norway and is one of the oldest known breeds of horses. According to records, there has been existence of horses in Norway ever since the end of ice age.
The ancestors of Fjords horses were primitives of Asia who migrated to Norway nearly four thousand years ago.
Ever since they were domesticated and used as farm horses in Norway. They eventually evolved into what we know today as Fjord horses.
Fjord horses were used by the Vikings to fight wars. Excavations at Viking burial sites confirm the breeding of Fjord horses by the Vikings.
They were also used in the WWII to travel and transport things across the steep areas of Denmark, in the cold weather.
By the end of the 1800, the fjord horses were on the verge of extinction. This happened when they were bred with another Norwegian species of horse, dole. This was done to make the already strong horses stronger and bigger. It aimed at increasing the efficiency of the farms. While the cross-bred horses did fine for the first few generations, slowly the flaws began to get noticed.
The good temperament and beautiful coat were missing in the future generations. This crossbreeding was hence stopped.
In 1891, a pure fjord horse, Njål was born. This horse was bred over the years and is considered to be the ancestor of modern-day fjord horses.
Though fjord horses were initially bred to fight wars, their unique characteristics and features, make it fit to serve many purposes.
- Fjord horses, owing to its great strength, is apt for all the farm work such as carrying small loads across the rough land, plowing fields etc.
- They have proved their worth in the ring too and is one of the most popular breeds of horses at the Norwegian rings.
- This breed of horse is also a very good therapeutic animal, given that it has very good temperament.
- Since they have a high emotional quotient and are calm by nature, they have proven to be a good therapy animal.
- They are good with kids too and have often been adopted as pets.
- They are calm and dependable.
Breeding a Fjord Horse
Fjord horses are not difficult to breed, only a few basic criteria must be met.
- This breed of horse is built for cold climatic conditions and it is advised not to breed one in tropical climates. This breed has thick coat to adapt to harsh cold, it can’t survive in hot conditions.
- A small shelter is more than enough for this small breed of horse. One won’t need an elaborate stable for it.
- Fjord horses don’t require grain and does the best when hay is fed to them. These horses have a great appetite but over feeding should be avoided.
- They tend to gain weight very easily and their metabolism is hampered. The horse should be provided with enough physical exercises since they were originally bred to carry heavy loads and fight wars.
- Fjord horses have a high emotional quotient and may turn out to be one’s best friend, if given enough love and care.
- They seek human attention and are always looking out for some affection.
- They require a regular health check up. Regular vaccination and deworming must be done.
Price of a Fjord Horse
A fjord horse costs nearly 8000 dollars and nearly 1200 dollars more needs to be spent yearly, for its care.
Laws for Breeding Fjord Horses
The laws associated with fjord horses are very strict. In Norway, nation fjord association evaluates, registers and monitors all the fjord horses.
As per the European law, Norway sets the standard for breeding of fjord horses. In Europe, only registered fjord horses are allowed to be bred. This is done to maintain a pure bloodline.
The evaluation of the horses is done to keep a track of the improvisation or declination in quality of the horses over the years. The evaluation measures the efficiency of the horse based on its ability to run, carry load and more.
They are scored on a scale of 0 to 100. While a score of 80 to 90 certifies the horse top in quality, an average score 70 to 80 makes for a good horse.
While Fjord horses are adorable and one might wish to get one immediately as soon as they see one, it is important to keep few things in mind. It is advised not to buy a horse without being sure that one can provide the care and emotional support this breed of horse needs. The maintenance of fjord horses cost a lot, one must be able to afford this, if they wish to keep a fjord horse. If one meets these criteria, one can easily get a new furry friend.