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About the Fjord Horse

Due to its isolation on the west-Norwegian coast, the Fjord Horse has kept several of the ‘primitive’ marks of the wild horse.

The most notable is the dark-coloured stripe along the mane (1), the dorsal stripe (eel) along the back (2), and ‘zebra stripes’ on the legs(3).

Most of the Fjord Horse are dun-coloured, four varieties of dun is accepted: Brown, red, pale (ulsdun) or gold (yellow) dun, the Fjord Horse may also be grey.

The ancestor of the Fjord Horse came probably from the Mid-Asian steppes. (The Przewalski horse). We know that the modern Fjord Horse is the result of more than 2000 years of western-Norwegian domestication. Due to the isolation on the west side of the Norwegian mountains, the breed has stayed ‘pure’, which is shown by the characteristic marks. This is a paradox, since the people of the Norwegian coasts always have had international connections. The Vikings valued their allied, the horse and used the Fjord Horse for transportation, to pull ships, and for entertaining. The Vikings rode in battle on the Fjord Horse, and the Norwegian Armed Forces has been using the Fjord Horse up to the 1980s.

One Viking heritage still in use, is to cut the mane in the characteristic way (‘erected’), thus displaying the neck. Today’s Fjord Horse is more similar to the historical horse, than the one bred in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s., when the horse were bred to pull heavy agriculture machines.