The Answers You Need About Fjord Horses
DO THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS REALLY NOT EACH AS MUCH AS OTHER HORSES?
Yep! They are EASY keepers to say the least. A typical message passed around between Norwegian Fjord owners, is how to take weight off of our horses.
I'VE HEARD THAT YOU DON'T HAVE TO PUT SHOES ON A FJORD - TELL ME THE TRUTH!
For the most part - Fjords do go "barefoot". This is just one of the excellent examples of their quality & affordability. That said, if you're going to do a lot of road work, or have very rocky soil you'll be working your Fjord in everyday, you may want to consider shoes. Otherwise - enjoy just another one of the benefits of owning a Fjord!
ARE NORWEGIAN FJORDS REALLY "BORN TRAINED"?
No, as much as we would all love for our horses to be born trained, there is still much work that needs to go into them. Part of how this question comes about is because of how easy they are to train. You can typically get some basic training & have a horse ready to ride for an experienced rider in 30-60 days of training or less.
WHAT AGE YOU SHOULD START TO TRAIN A FJORD?
If you want a horse that will last you forever, we say to do a lot of ground work & manners the first 2 years. Year 2-3 you can do more ground driving type work with long lines. Year 3-4 you can start very BASIC walk riding with all the commands. Year 4 is the year to work on everything else. The reason is because the Fjords grow slower and their knee plates typically fuse later in live. Work on them before that, and you'll end up with arthritis and a horse you can no longer ride, early on. Here's the joy of the Fjords though - IF you do all this with your younger Fjord, you will typically have no issues with riding training when the time comes.
I AM A HEAVIER PERSON, WOULD A 13.3 HAND HORSE BE ABLE TO CARRY A 200 LB PERSON?
Height is not the issue as much as: 1) their frame weight. if their a solid (not fat) 1,000 lb horse, you should be OK. 2) their condition. If they're totally out of shape, it will be harder for them. You can both use that time though to get into shape. :) 3) your riding skills. If you don't know how to carry your frame properly and/or are a sloppy rider, you'll feel like you weigh more than you actually do (to the horse). Lessons with a GOOD instructor are huge in this case.
DO ALL THE HORSES HERE COME FROM NORWAY THEN?
Although some are still being imported occasionally to the US & Canada, the majority are "homegrown". Some also come from Holland and Germany as well. We breeders in North America have created a fabulous pool of great mares & stallions to select from for breeding purposes. No longer is it necessary in order to keep the gene pool growing.
THE NORWEGIAN FJORDS ARE MORE EXPENSIVE THAN SOME OF THE OTHER BREEDS - CAN YOU TELL ME WHY?
Norwegian Fjords do cost more money up front, and this can be related to quite a few factors...
* Quality! This is probably one of the biggest reasons. The Norwegian Fjord is quality. Just as you cannot compare the detail & quality of a Cadillac to a Chevy & you can't buy a Cadillac for a Chevy price, you can't buy a Fjord for a [insert your comparison breed here] price.
* Availability! With around 5,000 total Fjords in the US, there is a limited supply, which keeps the demand - and therefore prices - a little higher than average.
* Limited Breeding! If almost every one of those 5,000 horses were mares, you could see prices drop drastically & quickly. But they are not. Many stallions, geldings and young stock. Many more that are not interested in breeding, just pleasure or show riding. Even an occassional pasture ornament! I don't have numbers close by, but I remember reading a few hundred foals are born each year...how many horse people in the US?
* Purity of the breed! With the very rare exception, you won't find anything but purebred Fjords. This is due to the very strick (and desirable) breed standards and desire to continue to keep the purity of the breed for another 2,000 years!
DO YOU DYE THEIR HAIR?
No, that stripe that goes all the way from their forelock, through their mane, down their back and ends in their tale, is 100% natural!
DOES THEIR HAIR GROW LIKE THAT OR DO YOU CUT IT?
The Fjord mane naturally grows upright, but it does have to be trimmed to keep it that way, otherwise it would flop over in an ugly mess.
I'VE HEARD FJORDS ARE STUBBORN- IS THAT REALLY TRUE?
Stubborn or just really smart? Norwegian Fjords are not stubborn. I had never heard this until my vet brought it up. I think this misconception comes partly from their non-spooky attitudes. When you normally want a horse to move away from something (like around feeding or stall cleaning time), you wave your arms & raise your voice. Fjords, not being flighty, look at you and still want to be by you. If you want a Fjord to move out of the way, you need to give them a little push or physically walk them away. Although you will always find an exception, the Norwegian Fjord horse is calm, gentle, absolutely LOVES to work for you and extremely loving by nature.
HORSE OR PONY?
OK, so this seems to be a never ending question. Some people call them horses. Similar to how miniatures are called miniature horses - NEVER ponies. Others call them ponies. Technically, the height for a horse is 14.2hh or taller. Ponies are therefore, anything less than 14.2, which many Fjords fall into this category. Personally, we call them our Miniature Draft horses. They have very stocky bodies that are well proportioned and the quiet, gentle mannerisms - just like the Draft breeds. Yet they are many, many hands shorter! Whatever you choose to call them, they will gently and willingly answer.
Got any good Norwegian jokes?
Well, I've got a joke for you - you decide if it's good!
Ole's neighbor, Rasmus had a flock of kids. One day he took them to the county fair to see the prize winning bull. Rasmus said to the ticket seller, "Look, I got 15 kids and I'm not well-to-do. I'd appreciate it if we could see the bull for half price."
The ticket seller grinned and exclaimed, "FIFTEEN KIDS! Old fella, I'm going to let you and the kids in for nothin' ... and if you'll wait a minute, I want to bring the bull out to have a look at YOU!"