The Norwegian Fjord Horse is native to Norway and is held in high regard as one of their national symbols. It is a rare breed, having lived in such a small, isolated region. There are many similarities, such as colour and primitive markings, between the feral Przewalski horse and the Fjord. However, the Fjord Horse does not descend from the Przewalski Horse, as the Przewalski has 66 chromosomes and the Fjord and Tarpan 64, so the Fjord is rather like the European wild horse, the Tarpan. Archaeological excavations reveal that the horse was domesticated in the Bronze Age, circa 1200 BC. Viking burial grounds show that man had bred the horse for about 2000 years. The breed has evolved from the war horse of the Vikings, to the working farm horse and family mount, to today's versatile and athletic horse for all reasons.
Used on hillside farms in Western Norway, fjordings have to be agile, surefooted and hard working horses. They are intelligent and willing and should possess a charming, gentle disposition. The strong body and extraordinary power allows them to be used for most any discipline. Their impressive power and heart makes them seem like a much larger horse.
Versatility is a key word when describing the Fjord horse. They are used in dressage, hunter and english riding. They are also used in carriage driving, combined driving and draft disciplines because their disposition is so well suited to harness. They have an innate sense about the mountains and make a wonderful western trail horse. Their docile nature makes them an excellent school horse and friend to handicapped riders.
The Fjord Horse should possess a presence about them that charms all who see them. There is no upper or lower limit, but the desired height at the withers is between 135cm and 150cm (13.1 – 14.3 hands). In North America, they are such easy keepers that over conditioning can be a concern. At maturity, the movement of the well conditioned Fjord Horse is forward and well-balanced with a natural rhythm. They should move freely in all three gaits.