The wild Fjord horse
The Fjord horse is one of the oldest breeds in the world
It is one of three original Norwegian horse breeds, and is considered Norway's national breed. The Fjord horse is easily recognisable and has many primitive characteristics that it only shares with the wild Przewalski’s horse, e.g. a dark stripe across its back and dark horizontal stripes on its legs. It is also distinguished by its characteristic mane.
Adapted to the landscape of Western Norway
The Fjord horse was bred in Western Norway and was long known as vestlandshest. The landscape of Western Norway is characterised by long fjords and steep mountains, and people have depended on horses through history as a reliable means of making their way across the difficult terrain. As well as being important for transport, the Fjord horse was the ideal draught horse on small farms as they are small, strong, dogged and easy to feed.
The Fjord horse is referred to as a robust, strong, hardy, good-natured, willing and reliable horse. These qualities make them a good all-round family horse and recreational horse. The Fjord horse is suitable for beginners and people with more equestrian experience. It’s a great first horse for children, but also great for those who enjoy competing. The Fjord horse is also often used in connection with therapeutic horse-riding and tourism, thanks to its gentle nature.
The Fjord horse is now an endangered breed in Norway as too few foals are born each year. There are around 5,000 registered Fjord horses in Norway, but there are bigger populations in other countries such as Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, France and the USA.
The Norwegian Fjord Horse Centre
The Norwegian Fjord Horse Centre is a resource centre for the Fjord horse and provides information and advice on all matters relating to this all-Norwegian horse breed. One of the centre’s main functions is to promote the breeding and use of the Fjord horse.
The centre was established in 1989, and is located in Nordfjordeid, A town known as the Fjord horse’s mecca, and for its long and excellent equestrian traditions.
Horse shows have been held in Nordfjordeid since 1886, and people from all over the world come every year to the traditional stallion show on the first weekend of May.
Fjord horse experiences
The Fjord horse is a safe and reliable companion if you’re looking to experience the Norwegian scenery. Their gentle and kind nature and ability to navigate the terrain make them perfect for those who would like to go horse-riding, regardless of whether they have any experience. The Norwegian Fjord Horse Centre also provides the opportunity to learn about how Fjord horses are bred, learn about the breed’s history and do different activities based on the Fjord horse.