Ride Around the World Horse: The Norwegian Fjord
In the spirit of this year's Ridefest theme, "Ride Around the World," we're going to explore a horse breed from across the world each week.
The Norwegian Fjord
Origin: Pre-Ice Age
Uses: Pack, Harness, Saddle
The attractive Norwegian Fjord, with its pronounced dorsal stripe and zebra-barred legs, is closest in appearance to the primitive Mongolian or Asian Wild Horse (Przewalski's Horse) from which it descends. Since Viking times, it has been traditional to cut the coarse mane so that it is erect, the central black hair standing above the rest.
Breeding: Descended from Przewalski's Horse, the Fjord also has more than a suggestion of Tarpan influence. This horse of the Vikings was taken in longboats to Scotland's Western Isles and to Iceland. Bred throughout Scandinavia, but principally in Norway, the Fjord is exported to Germany, Denmark, and central European countries where its qualities of endurance and hardiness are highly valued.
Characteristics: The powerful, compact Norwegian Fjord is a versatile animal. It takes the place of the tractor on mountain farms, it will plow and carry pack loads over steep tracks, and it is as good under saddle as in harness. It is economical to keep and courageous, but has a will of its own.
Edwards, Elwyn Hartley; Langrish, Bob (PHT). “Norwegian Fjord.” Smithsonian Handbooks Horses, Dk Pub., pp. 50–51.