Are you looking for a fjord horse with strong nerves? In this breed portrait, you will learn everything you need to know about the character, appearance, and typical traits of the robust breed from Norway. With their eye-catching mane in two colors, fjord horses are charming eye-catchers.
The fjord horse is between 135 and 150 centimeters high at the withers in the transition area between pony and horse. The color of the coat is striking: Fjord horses are fallows.
In addition to brown falcons, there are also gray, red, yellow, and light falcons. The mane and tail are two-tone. With the traditional standing mane, this special color is clearly noticeable.
The dark eel line on the back and the zebra stripes on the legs of some animals are also reminiscent of the wild ancestors of the fjord horse. Originally the fjord horse was a workhorse with an economical gait.
His strength, endurance, and surefootedness have been preserved to this day. Modern breeding places greater emphasis on hard-working, expansive, and elastic movements. There is also a certain ability to jump. The robust, easy-nerved, and docile fjord horse is very popular with recreational and trail riders.
Some breeding lines also show impressive performances in the dressage arena. Fjord horses should only be broken into when they are 4 to 5 years old. For this, they can reach a high age.
Size: 135-150 cm
Weight: 400 – 500 kg
Lifespan: 30 – 35 years
Color: Fallow, eel line, two-tone long hair, white markings undesirable
Leisure time, jumping, draft horse
Origin and breed history
The fjord horse comes from Norway. It is therefore also called the Norwegian Fjord Horse or Norwegian. It evolved from the horses of the Vikings who crossed their wild horses with Celtic breeds. The result was a strongly built, sure-footed mountain horse.
The original fjord horse was mainly used in agriculture as a draft or pack animal. From the 19th century onwards, the breed solidified. In 1907 the pure breeding of the Fjord horse was introduced.
In Germany, the Association of Pony and Small Horse Breeders decided to breed pure horses in 1954. After the Second World War, there was a wave of imports of fjord horses. At that time, smaller farms often needed workhorses.
Haflinger horses were preferred in some areas of Germany, but also the fjord horse in many parts of the country such as Lower Saxony and Rhineland-Palatinate.
Today’s fjord horse
Nowadays, workhorses are almost no longer needed in agriculture. In return, recreational riders appreciate the typical characteristics of the fjord horses.
As a result of careful breeding, a fjord horse of the modern type is more agile and of a lighter build than the heavy working type of earlier times.
The positive characteristics such as the willing, sociable and relaxed nature characterize the popular fjord horse to this day.
The appearance of the fjord horses
The sturdy small horse looks like a wild horse. The expressive head with a broad forehead and large, good-natured eyes ensures a balanced charisma.
The broad chest, the sloping shoulder, and the stable back give an idea of the strength and endurance that goes into a fjord horse. Strong legs, pronounced joints, and good hoof quality are also typical of the breed.
Fjord horses used to have a very compact, stocky build. In the meantime, they are bred much more elegantly for use as riding horses. Fjord horses belong to the Fallows. Mostly they are brown falcons.
There are also gray and red falcons. Yellow and light-colored falcons are less common. The mane and tail of the fjord horse are two-colored – light outside and dark inside. A dark line of eel runs down her back. Some have the beginnings of zebra-like stripes on their legs. Traditionally, fjord horses have a standing mane.
For special occasions, you can also decorate the mane with special cuts. It looks very representative, for example, if you cut the outer, light hair in a zigzag line.
Temperament and essence
The fjord horse is friendly and easy-going. Because of its many uses, it is extremely popular as a leisure and family horse.
When riding and driving, it shows a willingness to perform, ambition, and perseverance. The healthy self-confidence of a fjord horse has to be steered in the right direction.
Beginners, in particular, should pay attention to this and seek appropriate support if necessary.
Husbandry and nutrition
Fjord horses come from a barren landscape. They can be kept in the pasture all year round. They also feel at home in an open stable. With their thick winter fur, fjord horses are quite insensitive to the cold.
Nevertheless, they need a shelter that protects them from excessive heat, extreme cold, and heavy rain. Fjord horses need species-appropriate keeping, i.e. horse company and employment.
Then they are reliable family horses that leave nothing to be desired.
A fjord horse’s feed should not be too rich. Otherwise, it will quickly become fat and damage your health. In winter, however, you should ensure that there is sufficient supplementary feeding.
Your horse’s exact feed needs to depend on many factors. Fjord horses are more of the easy-to-feed horse breeds. This is due to the barren landscape from which they originally come. There they had to cope with small amounts of food.
To this day, they usually need relatively little food. In addition, the amount of physical work, age, health, and metabolism of the individual animal influence the amount of feed required.
Every animal uses its feed differently. Forage and roughage in the form of hay or silage and straw form the basis of horse nutrition.
The feeding of oats or horse muesli is only necessary to a small extent for the fjord horse. A wide variety of supplementary feeds are available in stores.
Vitamins and minerals can be a useful addition to the feed of your fjord horse.
Education and care
Fjord horses are good-natured and have good nerves. Horse experience and loving consistency help with the upbringing. The strong character and intelligent animals quickly find out how they can successfully assert their own head.
The docile fjord horse needs movement and varied occupation. With good upbringing and training, a fjord horse will walk with you relaxed through thick and thin.
Regular grooming promotes blood circulation and increases the well-being of your horse. Vaccinations and wormers are also important.
Whether your Fjord horse has a shoe or not – the hooves must be cleaned, checked and processed by a specialist. A clean, mucked-out, dry lying area is very important for the well-being of your horse.
Also, make sure to regularly remove horse droppings from the run and pasture.
Health and Typical Diseases
Basically, fjord horses are very healthy. Like many ponies and small horses, however, they are susceptible to laminitis, sweet itch, and mud. These diseases can usually be prevented if they are kept in a species-appropriate manner.
Fjord horses don’t get very rich pastures. Divide the pasture or only let your horse go to areas with fresh green for hours to avoid obesity.
You should always offer your horse sufficient roughage such as hay, a salt lick, high-quality minerals, and freshwater. Standing on muddy ground for long periods of time quickly leads to thrush or malaise.
Drainage, drainage measures, or paved resting and lying areas prevent these diseases. Present your fjord horse to the farrier and veterinarian on a regular basis.
Then all the requirements for a long and healthy life are met.
The life expectancy of the fjord horse
Fjord horses are late ripe. For this, however, they can live to be more than 30 years old.
Species-appropriate husbandry, the right feed in the right dosage, contact with conspecifics, and a lot of activity keep a fjord horse fit for a long time.
Buy fjord horse
Have you decided to buy a fjord horse? Here you can find out what to consider. The versatile fjord horse is extremely popular as a leisure horse for riding and driving.
Adults and children especially appreciate the motivation and serenity of this breed. You can buy a fjord horse from the breeder, dealer, or private seller. The price depends on many factors such as the level of training and the age of the animal.
Before you buy, you should answer the following questions:
- Do you have enough time to take care of a horse and move it?
- Are there suitable pasture and stall spaces in your area?
- Is your money enough to be able to pay for accommodation, food, veterinarian, blacksmith, and accessories in the long term?
- For example, who takes care of the horse while on vacation?
A practical tip: Horses without shoeing are cheaper to run than horses that need horseshoes. In both cases, however, the hooves have to be worked on and corrected on a regular basis.
The basic equipment
As initial equipment you will need:
- Halter and lead rope
- Grooming box with brushes and hoof pick
- Saddle and saddle pad
- Basic equipment for your stable pharmacy.
You are sure to buy additional accessories such as a lunge, care products for horses and leather gear, gaiters, sweat rugs, or a rain blanket.
The following considerations are important when choosing a horse:
- Would you like to take part in tournaments or do you prefer to ride comfortably through the forest?
- What level of training should the horse have?
- Do you ride in classic or western style?
- Is a certain parentage important to you?
In any case, take a second person with you to the appraisal who can judge a horse and who also knows your riding skills well.
It is well known that four eyes see more than two, and some structural defects in a horse can lead to both riding and health problems.
Information on breed and breeding
The Norwegian association Norsk Hestesenter maintains the original studbook of the horse breed. Its breeding regulations also apply to the breeders’ associations in Germany.
These are affiliated with the German Equestrian Association FN and breed in independent populations. The interest group Fjordpferd e. V. and the German Equestrian Association offer comprehensive information on the Fjord horse breed.
Are you looking for a robust horse breed that suits you perfectly? If you prefer an uncomplicated and versatile horse of manageable size, a fjord horse is a right choice for you.
Fjord horses are easygoing, courageous in the terrain, and have a pleasant temperament. Consistent upbringing, a lot of contact with conspecifics, and moderate feeding are important.
Do not ride your fjord horse too early and ensure that you are sufficiently busy, then you will get a reliable partner who you will enjoy for a long time!
FAQ on fjord horses
How expensive is a fjord horse?
A three-year-old fjord horse is available for $4000.
How old does a fjord horse get?
A fjord horse can live to be over 30 years old. But it is only ready for riding later.
How much does a fjord horse weigh?
The weight of these horses is approx. 375 kg.
How fast does a fjord horse run?
Fjord horses can walk, trot and gallop in gaits. They can run at about 60 km / h at a gallop.
How big do fjord horses get?
The size of fjord horses varies between 135 and 150 cm.