The Fjord Horse is believed to be a very old breed which has been used for centuries in the Scandinavian countries. At 13-15 hands high it is technically a pony in size, but is usually referred to as a horse. It is not known how many of these horses there are in Australia, but it is probably not more than about 60 at present.

Appearance

  • Pony size averaging 1.4 metres in height and around 500kgs.
  • Muscular working horse, with a strong thick arched-shaped neck and hardy ‘sure’ feet.
  • Most common coat colour is ‘dun’ -shades ranging from cream to brown. May also be a shade of grey. The coat has a dark stripe along the ridge of the back and through the mane. It is thicker during the colder months.
  • The mane is clipped quite short in a crescent shape, which enables it to stand up straight and it also accentuates the neck.

 

Character / temperament

  • Intelligent, learns quickly.
  • Quiet and fairly mild in temperament.
  • Likes to please.
  • Curious.
  • Can be assertive.
  • Hardy and adaptable.

 

Purposes

  • Working horse. In past times in Europe it was used for farmwork such as ploughing and timber-carrying, and as a war mount.
  • In Australia it is used mostly for pleasure riding, Riding for the Disabled programs, and pulling buggies. Despite its smaller size it is strong enough to carry an adult.
  • Excellent pack-horse for mountain or bush treks.
  • Popular with children and used in riding schools.

 

Care of a Fjord Horse

Overall this is a low-maintenance horse, however:

  • The mane requires regular trimming.
  • Weekly brushing of the coat is required.
  • May need shoeing every few weeks.

Health issues

This is generally a very healthy, hardy, sure-footed breed with lots of stamina that is well-adapted to winter conditions. In the 1980s some female foals who were all offspring of the same stallion were found to have a condition called ‘hereditary muscle contracture’, which manifested as extra and/or contracted limbs and defects of the jaw such as cleft palate. In recent years there have been no reported health problems.

Cost
To buy a Fjord Horse you would probably need to pay between $2,000 and $5,000.

Suitability

This horse would suit just about anyone interested in horses, including those who have children who like to ride ponies. The beauty of this breed is that it has the strength of a draft horse and yet is also great for riding. In general, the breed temperament makes it suitable for children and disabled individuals, but as with any animal, there may be exceptions. It is truly an all-round horse.