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Fjord Horse: Facts, Lifespan, Behavior & Care Guide (With Pictures)

Ashley Bates

June 2, 2021

The Fjord horse is a light draft horse from Norway—and it’s one of the most ancient horse breeds of all. Once upon a time, the Fjord horse helped farmers with heavy lifting, making their jobs a breeze. Today, Fjord horses are still a favorite for equine lovers everywhere.

So, what makes the Fjord horse so unique? These little guys have it all—brains, personality, and capability. They really are the total package. Let’s find out what it’s like to own one of these light-hearted equines.

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Quick Facts about Fjord Horse

Species Name: Equus ferus caballus
Family: Equidae
Care Level: Moderate
Temperament: Social, docile
Color Form: Dun
Lifespan: 30 years
Size: 13 to 14 hands high
Diet: Herbivore
Pasture Space: 2 acres
Enclosure Set-Up: Dry, covered shelter
Compatibility: Excellent

Fjord Horse Overview

Fjord horses have so many fantastic characteristics that make a marvelous specimen. Fjords might be for you if:

  • You want a worker bee
  • You train young or inexperienced riders
  • You need a horse that is compatible with rough terrain
  • You want a multipurpose horse in the field
  • You desire a docile temperament

If these traits sound pleasing, let’s dig into the details.

Fjord horse walking
Image Credit: Šárka Jonášová, Pixabay

How Much Do Fjord Horses Cost?

If you purchase a purebred Fjord horse from a licensed breeder, you can expect to pay between $3,000 and $10,000. A lot of factors play into the total cost, like quality, age, and area prices.

Always make sure that your horse is completely healthy with no physical limitations or severe health problems. Knowing bloodline history can help eliminate concerns about any potential health issues that could creep up.

Typical Behavior & Temperament

Fjord horses are widely praised for having sound temperaments and charming traits. Because they have such a small stance and gentle demeanor, many people elect these horses for young or inexperienced riders.

Fjord horses also make excellent driving horses since they possess both the strength and the personality needed for pulling efficiently. You can hook these horses up to wagons, sleighs, and carts with no issue.

Because they are a light draft horse, they can do lots of heavy labor, too. They have a strong work ethic—a trained Fjord is a force to be reckoned with.

Fjord horses have a versatile line of strengths compatible with many elected duties.

norwegian fjord horse
Image Credit: congerdesign, Pixabay

Appearance & Varieties

Fjord horses have a very noticeable, classic appearance, touting lovely dun coats and muscular frames. Fjords are light draft horses, meaning they have thick, muscular bodies but stand only 13 to 14 hands high.

Though dun is the standard color for Fjords, the tone can vary quite a bit. This creates a beautiful spectrum of colors from buff to nearly silver.

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How to Take Care of Fjord Horse

If you’re already familiar with horse care, welcoming a Fjord horse shouldn’t bring many new surprises. However, if you’re a beginner, you want to research all of the requirements they have for comfortable daily living and beyond.

Habitat, Living Conditions & Setup

Keeping the appropriate environment for your Fjord horse is essential to their wellbeing.

Shelter

Your horse must have appropriate housing. A shelter should always be accessible so your Fjord can stay out of the elements. They need a safe, dry stall at night to stay their healthiest and happiest.

Your stall should be at least 10 x 12 per horse.

norweigan fjord-pixabay
Image Credit: lotielin, Pixabay

Pasture Space

Every horse needs room to roam and graze. Your Fjord requires at least 2 acres of land, and you should multiply that per horse.

Multiples

Horses are very social creatures, and Fjords are no exception. You should have at least one other equine pal to keep your guy or gal company. No horse should ever live alone without the company of their own kind.

Do Fjord Horses Get Along with Other Pets?

Fjord horses get along with all kinds of creatures—human and animal alike. They have agreeable, social personalities and love to interact. They can be very amiable and sociable with other horses and even the dog in the stall.

Keep in mind that these horses are powerful creatures. They can step on, kick, or seriously injure a dog or cat if they spook or just aren’t paying attention.

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What to Feed Your Fjord Horse

Your Fjord will benefit significantly from grazing. They will get plenty of much-needed nutrients from wild grass, bushes, and shrubs. These plants aid in digestion, providing lots of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Their staple diet should be grass hay mixed with alfalfa. Since these horses are so hardy, they don’t need extra supplements to keep them healthy. However, this breed might become overweight if you don’t maintain their diet.

Fjord Horse
Image Credit: sipa, Pixabay

Keeping Your Fjord Horse Healthy

Any horse owner knows the importance of diet and exercise in your equines lives. Lacking in either category can lead to other health issues down the line. Fjords are very heavy and muscular. Therefore, joint, bone, and muscle support is paramount for the breed.

Diet

Your adult Fjord horse should eat at least 2% of its body weight in healthy commercial grains and grasses per day. Also, it would be best if you allowed them plenty of time to graze so they get all of their wild nutrients for supplementation.

However, do be careful just how much your Fjord is consuming daily, as they are voracious eaters who will gain weight quickly.

Exercise

Since these laidback horses tend to graze and laze, you need to make sure they get plenty of exercise. Walk them or play interactive games regularly.

Fjord horses require roughly 2 hours of exercise per day to stay fit and healthy.

fjord horses
Image Credit: Pixabay

Grazing

Before you let your horse graze, it’s important to feed them their daily meal beforehand. Otherwise, they might fill up all day on grass without getting the appropriate nutrients they need.

Your Fjord should graze between 5-10 hours a day.

Grooming

As with any horse, grooming is an integral part of daily care. You must make sure these horses are brushed so their fur can be clean and debris-free. Daily brushing keeps the coat vibrant and shiny.

As you may well know, Fjords have a classically cut mane, sporting a short, erect style that evenly flows down the neckline. The mane should stand between 2-4 inches. While trimming might be time-consuming, it’s relatively easy with scissors.

You can give your Fjord a nice bubbly scrub down once a week to remove sweat build-up and odor. Always use this time to inspect your horse for abnormalities like irritation or rain rot.

Hoof Care

You should always make sure your horse’s hooves are dry and debris-free. They will need to see a farrier every 4-6 weeks. However, this average can be more or less depending on the horse’s individual needs.

fjord horse walking
Image Credit: Pixabay

Training

Fjord horses are very food-motivated animals with high intelligence and a desire to learn. They are very receptive of owners, so working with them for training purposes should be relatively simple for an experienced person.

But even though this breed is super friendly, they can be rather stubborn if you let them. Allowing them to call the shots leads to poor riding behavior. So, make sure to keep a firm hand while training to keep them on track.

Fjord horses have to build skills like strength and balance. They are much more capable as they mature and require proper handling for optimal results.

Vetting

Because horses are unique creatures, vetting depends very much on the specific horse in question. Some develop physical issues. Others have problems with internal factors. You might not be able to pinpoint the potential for the issues before they arise.

Vetting your horse isn’t cheap. Equine veterinarians will have much higher rates than traditional vets, meaning more out-of-pocket expenses. Your Fjord should see their vet for biannual checkups without fail.

fjord horse resting
Image Credit: Pixabay

Breeding

If you decide to breed your Fjord horse, you need to be prepared for the whole experience. Many different factors impact the ripe age for breeding, and your veterinarian will help you determine exactly when that is.

However, it’s best to wait as a general guideline until the mare is at least 3 years of age before pregnancy occurs. Most mares go into heat in the spring, so future planning is essential.

The gestation period for a horse is between 320 to 380 days. You have to be ready for labor to occur to have a vet on hand (this is especially true if your horse is carrying multiples.) Complications can arise, so it’s best to be prepared.

After birth, the foal should stay with its mother for the first 6 months of its life.

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Are Fjord Horses Suitable For You?

Now you know all about the lovable, muscly Fjord horse. These equines will bring lots of love into your pasture, never meeting a stranger. They are excellent for young riders who are just learning—but they’re just as suitable for experienced riders.

Many rave over their pleasant temperaments and work ethic, but only you can decide if this horse is suitable for you.


Featured Image Credit: Maria Junge Fotografie, Shutterstock

Ashley Bates

Ashley Bates is a freelance dog writer and pet enthusiast who is currently studying the art of animal therapy. A mother to four human children— and 23 furry and feathery kids, too – Ashley volunteers at local shelters, advocates for animal well-being, and rescues every creature she finds. Her mission is to create awareness, education, and entertainment about pets to prevent homelessness. Her specialties are cats and dogs.