Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Norwegian Fjord

 Norway is a mountainous country with fjords---narrow inlets of see surrounded by steep mountains---stretching inwards for miles. During the time when Vikings travelled the seas, conquering many parts of Scandinavia, there were no roads in Norway. The only form of transportation was by sailing on boats through the fjords. As the farmers settled the hills, they domesticated the small dun horses native to the area, using them as draft horses to perform farm work.

 The breed, named after the fjords in the area's landscape, is thought have existed in wild herds after the after the last ice age, up until it was domesticated by Vikings 4,000 years ago. Archeological excavations have shown that the breed had been selectively bred by Vikings for approximately 2,000 years after they had been domesticated.

  Fjords have developed powerful hindquarters, strength enough to transport a 200 pound man, or even  a cart, up steep, sinuous mountains, and sure-footedness from spending several millennia wandering about steep, precarious mountains. They have smooth gaits high knee action.

Some Fjords, mainly the heavier ones, are used to pull carts.
Others make better eventing horses. credit
 One unique characteristic is that 90% of Fjords are brown dun, while the other 10% are either a red dun, whitish dun, grey dun(grulla), or yellow dun, a rare variation.  Some Fjords even have primitive markings, which may include zebra stripes on the legs or a dorsal strip down the spine.

 However, the breeds's most distinctive feature is their mane---black in the center, white on the outside. Fjord aficionados cut the breed's coarse manes into to crescent shapes, trimming the outer white part half an inch shorter than the inner part, clearly emphasizing the black hairs.

 Other characteristics include small, alert ears; large, intelligent eyes; a broad forehead and slightly dished profile; strong, crested neck; short-coupled body; and well-developed muscles. The legs are powerful with a good bone and hardy black hooves. Although they are not considered ponies, the can range any between 13.2 and 14.2 hands heigh, weighing 900 to 1,200 pounds once matured.

 Fjords are calm and curious, with charming, gentle natures. Males display strong, masculine traits and females soft, feminine traits.

 Fjords are very diverse, coming in different body types due to the fact that the usage of the breed changed with the times. Consequently, they can be doing a variety of activities and disciplines, with heavier types being more suited for cart-pulling and lighter types excelling at jumping, eventing, dressage, reining, and many other disciplines.


  1. Wow! Love to read the post. The condition of the track is also important whether it is favourable for your horse or not along with the weather condition of that day in which the race will be happening. Singapore Racing

  2. Great post, I love Norwegian Fjord horses (although I suppose I might be biased).

    1. They really are cool horses, one of my favorites.


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