About the Norwegian Fjordhorse
Colours of the Fjord Horse
Fjordhorses are always dun coloured. The majority are brown dun, with the remainder being either red dun, grey, white dun or, rarely, yellow dun.
For an overview of the Fjord colours – complete with photos – see the article: Colours of the Norwegian Fjord Horse.
All Fjordhorses retain the primitive markings, which include a dark dorsal stripe; and zebra striping on the legs and, occasionally, across the withers. White markings, with the exception of a small white star, are neither typical nor desirable.
Another trademark feature of the Fjord’s unique coloration are the mane and tail, which grow with dark hair in the centre and white hairs on either side. The mane is trimmed in a crescent shape to emphasize the graceful curve of the neck and the white outside hairs are often cut one centimetre shorter so the black stripe is visible.
Size of the Fjordhorse
Most Fjordhorses stand about 13.2 hh to 14.2 hh, and weigh from 900 to 1,200 pounds, with a few individuals outside these ranges. There is no upper or lower limit on height for registering a Fjordhorse.
Character of the Fjord Horse
The issue of character, or “What are they like?”, is one of the most interesting questions about the Fjordhorse.
The character of the Fjordhorse is somewhat unique in the equine world. They are extremely curious, and will tend to investigate new or different things, instead of running away from them.
They are people-oriented and love to gather round for attention. They are very playful, and like to entertain themselves and investigate things with their mouths and lips. They tend to accept new events with equilibrium especially if they have a relaxed and confident handler to give them guidance. If you enjoy an “interactive” horse, you will find these traits make them extremely fun horses for work and pleasure.
One thing that a good Fjordhorse is not, however, is dull! When you want to go, your Fjordhorse will be right there for you. Fjordhorses excel at sport. They are so in tune with their rider/driver that when you ask for the energy it is right there! At the same time, they are clever enough not to waste their energy on trivial matters.
One of the first things you will notice about the Fjordhorse is the eyes (that is, if they aren’t hidden behind a luxuriant forelock!) The Fjord’s eyes are bright, alive, bursting with intelligence, curiosity and goodwill. The character of the horse shines from his eyes.
This is a horse who you can build a deep relationship with, and the more time you put into working with a Fjord, the more you get back. You can see this in the eyes. The Fjord has been described as “more like a dog than a horse” and I believe this refers to this quality of rapport-building possible between a Fjordhorse and his handler!
The Norwegian people say the genuine and beautiful character of a true Fjordhorse is difficult to express in ordinary words, as it is more like a feeling you have…
“The eyes should be like the mountain lakes on a midsummer evening, big and bright. A bold bearing of the neck like a lad from the mountains on his way to his beloved. Well-defined withers like the contours of the mountains set against an evening sky. The temperament as lively as a waterfall in spring, and still good-natured.”
In closing, here is a quote from a 1990 Horse and Horseman article:
“Add up the hardiness and long life expectancy, the compact size, the easy care, the intelligence, the willing nature – with only an occasional touch of Norwegian stubborness – and the unique beauty of the Fjord, and you have an all-around pretty wonderful horse.”