Thursday, August 18, 2011

Fjord Horse

Fjord Horse
I found a really old copy of one of those CD-ROM encyclopedias the other day, and while browsing around in its 13 year old database I stumbled upon the Norwegian Fjord Horse. I remembered the breed as a model in the Breyer Horse catalogs that I had drooled over as a child and decided to do some long overdue reading on the breed. (Upon further research that Breyer model, “Henry” was retired 6 years ago…)

Fjord Horses with Foals
Fjord Horses are one of the oldest domesticated breeds around, and have retained many of the same characteristics held by the Horses that roamed about Scandinavia after the last Ice Age. The dun coloration and primitive markings like stripes on the legs, down the back, and (rarely) on the withers cause them to resemble the earliest modern horses, including the rare, wild Przewalski’s Horse.

Horses were domesticated in Norway over 4,000 years ago, and archaeological evidence shows that Fjord Horses specifically have been selectively bred for two millennia! They are a very interesting breed appearance wise. They have powerful arched necks, stocky but strong bodies, and thick manes that are kept cropped. They come in only one color type- Dun, which has six recognized shades. Dun horses have lighter colored bodies with darker manes and tails, as well as dark points, typically on the faces and hooves. 
Fjord Horses have a mild temperment and have variety of uses. Their strong size allows them to do pulling work, and they can be used to pull plows and carts. However, they are also small and agile enough to be used for riding, and are surefooted enough to use in mountainous areas.

Status : Domesticated
Location : Originated Norway
Size : Height 13-14.3 Hands (52-59in or 1.3-1.5m)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Perissodactyla
Family : Equidae -- Genus : Equus -- Species : E. ferus -- Subspecies : E. f. caballus

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