A bit of history
Formerly known as ”the Viking horse“, Fjordhorses are the descendants of the primitive and wild horses of Northern Europe. Its name comes from this part of Europe and especially from Norway. Its origins are therefore ancient. It has not been crossed a lot so that Fjordhorses are considered as a pure breed.
From prehistory, Fjordhorses have considerably changed.
At first, Fjordhorses were small mountain horses, stocky and rustic used for work (pulling, ploughing, skidding…).
In 1843, The National Stud Farm creation in Hjerkin marks the beggining of the organized breeding in Norway. From the start, the selection focused on utility. Currently, the Fjordhorse grows in size and is becoming more athletic.
Today, Fjordhorses still hold an important place in Norway where its skills are highly appreciated and where it is one of the national symbol.
The breeding area
The current breeding area goes from the cradle of the breed to Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Benelux and France since 1969.
However, it has been imported in several countries. More than ten of them have officially recognized associations, with Stud-books.
- 1910 Norway – Norway Stambok over Fjordhesten/ Vestlandhesten
- 1941 Denmark – Fjordhesteavlen i Danmark
- 1948/49 Germany – Pony Breeding Associations in the countries of Federal Republic of Germany
- 1953 Sweden – Svenska Fjordhästföreningung
- 1955 Netherlands – Het NederlandseFjorenpaarden Stamboek
- 1973 Germany – Interessengemeinschaft Fjordpferd IGF, Deutschland
- 1975 Belgium – Het Belgisch Fjordenpaardenstamboek
- 1975 Switzerland – Fjordpferde Vereinigung Schweiz
- 1981 United-States – USA – Norwegian Fjord Horse Registry
- 1986 France – Association Française du Poney Fjord
- 1997 Scotland – Fjord Horse Registry of Scotland
The Fjordhorse remains a small production in France, bred in pure breed, which explains why the breed is still often overlooked.
The Alsace region is the cradle of the breed but other regions have been seduced by the Fjordhorse, just like you can see in the following maps.
Active stallions - 2018
Source : IFCE-SIRE
Births - 2018
Source : IFCE-SIRE
Formerly considered a pony, the Fjordhorse is today a sporty, versatile and solid horse whose average size is 1.45m at the withers and can reach more than 1.50m. It is recognizable by its Isabelle dress, its two-tone mane which is extended by a marked stripe of mullet, running from the ears, along the back and the spine to end in the hair of the tail.
It is important to keep the so-called primitive markings which include a dark dorsal stripe, zebra striping on the legs and, occasionally, across the withers.
The mane: on adult horses the forelock should usually cover from one to two thirds of the head. The Fjord should be hogged. The upright mane should be convex and be cut so as to suit the top line. Above all, it gives the Fjord its full identity!
Its harmonious and proportioned morphology guarantees its versatility in work. With the waist size, the gaits have become lighter, they have gained in amplitude which today makes it a sporty and elegant horse which seduces by its model, the originality of its tricolor convex mane, the beauty of its long forelock and its tail which undulates according to its movements.
Coat colour range
Brown dun (Brunblakk)
It is the most common colour. The darker stripe of hair in the middle of the mane, dorsal stripe and darker hair in the middle of the tail are black, or dark brown.
Red dun (Rødblakk)
The red (chestnut) dun’s body-colour is pale red-yellowish. The dorsal stripe and darker hair in the middle of the tail are red or red-brownish. Mane and tail are mostly very light or yellowish.
Grey dun (Grå)
The body-colour can vary from light silver grey to dark slate grey.
Uls dun (Ulsblakk)
Uls dun is a variety of the brown dun colour caused by a factor which reduces the production of pigment, so-called diluted colour. The colour of the body is almost white. The colour of the body is almost white. The dorsal stripe and darker hair in the middle of the tail are black or grey.
Yellow dun (Gulblakk)
It is the rarest of the Fjordhorse colours. It is a diluated colour of red dun. The dorsal stripe and darker hair in the middle of the tail are darker yellowish than the colour of the body.
Character and Abilities
Probably the greatest quality of the Fjord is its character: its great kindness, its loyalty make it the horse of choice for all riders, whatever their level or age, and the friend of the whole family. His generosity in work will delight all riders, whatever their level or discipline.
His calm and composed temperament does not prevent him from being a player, from having character, as from being solid and resistant at work. Discovering the Fjordhorse is being seduced and having a partner and friend for life!
The Fjord is both a leisure horse and a training horse for children and adults. On the competition grounds, he stands out for his courage, his power and his elegance.
Extremely versatile, it has its place in dressage, but also in show jumping, cross country, Hunter, TREC as in all outdoor disciplines, where its openness is an advantage, as of course in driving or hiking.