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Fjord horse with a longer mane

Have you kissed a docile therapist lately?

The Fjord horse, also called Vestland, is a very kind and strong breed of horse or pony - it can be both. One of the world's oldest breeds, it serves as a "farm therapists" to some in the United States. The dun-coloured Fjord horse or Norwegian Fjord Horse (in Norway: Fjording), is a good driving horse among other things. Other names: West Norwegian, Norges Fjordhest, Norwegian Fjord (horse).

LoThe quality horse

Vestlands are hard working, very good at pulling weights as compared with their size, and people oriented - these and other qualities makes them super family pets and work horses. They are sure footed and make excellent trail horses. ◊

Lo- can be truly enjoyed

The Fjord horses are very good pack and trail horses, and can be enjoyed by the whole family.

Lo- and even used for special therapy

Certain therapists at B.O.K. in California are Vestland horses . . . specially trained -

Fjord Horses are small compared to Clydesdales or Belgian draft horses, but strong and easily trained and eating less.


In sum
  1. A Norwegian quality horse
  2. can be enjoyed
  3. and is remarkably trainable.
In nuce A remarkable crew-cut horse may be enjoyed.



Heritage horses

LoThese economical horses are scattered world-wide today

Horses are ponies and vice versa. The shoulder height makes the difference.

Herds of wild Vestlands existed in Norway after the last ice age. By the year 2000 BCE. it is believed these horses were domesticated. A Vestland is easy to ride and keeps calm in difficult situations.

Fjord Horses learn new skills rapidly, and remember what they have learned even after extended periods out at pasture, and with a minimum of proper care make very dependable companions.

In "army horse circles", the Fjord is recognized as the best mountain army horse in the world because he is able to go where motorized vehicles and heavier horses must give up. He has a springy jump and a quite comfortable gait. ◊.

With his distinctive dun coloring, his white mane with its striking black stripe, and his pleasing, stocky, though not coarse conformation, the Vestland has a prehistoric appearance. The horse also has a dark dorsal stripe, beginning in the center of the forelock and running through the center of the mane, back and tail.

They are remarkably hardy and economical to feed.

Fjord Horses are exceedingly safe and are favourably people orientated. Yet there are limits to what even a Norwegian Fjord can adjust to.

Riding for fun grew in popularity during this century, the fame of the Vestland transcended the boundaries of his native land. Normally, Fjord Horses (Fjordings, Fjords, Vestlands) can be trusted on and ridden with great ease in English or Western manner, or driven in shows, parades and down country roads.

The Vestland is one of the world's oldest and purest breeds. In Norway, breeding of the Fjord Horse, Norway's oldest horse, is now under the control of the Norwegian government. In 2002 there were 6-8000 fjord horses in Norway, and ca. 40-50000 of them in other European countries and many other countries. They are found on most of the continents.

During the 1980s and 1990s, the Vestland became highly popular in Germany where he is the mount of choice for recreational riders. Otherwise Vestlands have registries in Canada, Great Britain, the Netherlands, and Belgium. In Australia there were 60 of them in 2002. About twenty-two Vestlands were once imported to the United States. It's their descendants and a few of those originally imported that are scattered throughout North America. In the late 1990s there were about 3.000 Fjord Horses spread over the United States.

The Vestland is famous for his easy going, tractable, calm temperament, acting more like a dog than a horse.

LoVery hardy and sure-footed, and of a gentle nature

The original Vestland varies in color and averaged 12.1 hands in size (within pony limits). Selection has increased the height to 13 to 14.1 hands (still pony sized in general) and the breed is one of the few modern ones exhibiting only the dun coloration.

The heavier, draft type of Vestland is as happy to help out on the farm as his ancestors.

Vestlands are very hardy and healthy. When so many people with little or no horse experience are buying horses, it's all the more important that horse be of a gentle nature; a quality most sure-footed Vestlands possess.

LoAdmired too

US president Dwight Eisenhower and general Montgomery both spoke with admiration of the Vestland horse.


In sum
  1. The economical Vestland horses are widely propagated today.
  2. These gentle-natured horses are generally are very hardy and sure-footed.
  3. They are admirable, some think, including Dwight Eisenhower and Queen Elizabeth, who owned one such horse herself, Glen Tanar.
In nuce It is wisdom to go for what is much economical, gentle-natured, and admirable, by and large.


Donkeys, ponies, and school-children

Farmers who capture wild animals and make them serve as slaves, love their slaves on four legs on the dinner table too, but in a more primitive way than the kind of affection that is summed up by "Live and let live".

The issue at bottom of much husbandry is one of forcing others to obey and be molded by training: it is at the bottom of compulsory education too. Yet the flower unfolds on its own terms, in its own time (Steiner schools try to respect that but has to conform somehow for the sake of general adaptations to the schooling systems in many countries.) Most often, children subjected to kindergardens and public schooling are trained to serve - in the Army, in the large society, which is driven through greed for money and making harsh use of many to favour the few on top - the rich fem percent, for example.

There is a being forced to plod on and on in the hands of teachers of the compulsive education, tends to manipulated activities further. You may not like to get it pinpointed, but study the facts, aided by statistics, and refrain from Ostrich tactics, burying your head in the sand.

How few are first-rate at just being themselves first and foremost, and not just parts of fattened herds of people.

Pony lovers too think that plenty of conform learning is the antidote of being a failure. Regardless of it, most nights many messges messages appear - dream sleep is mankind's overlooked instruction time - and it shows there are biological limits. That is a Jungian view. (Ullman and Zimmerman 1979; cf. Schunk 2012)

Horsekeeping - a mellower tune

On the way to "live and let live" there is "If you love them, adjust the prisonlike farm with its electric fences to the natural ways of the animals there". The final step is "After preparing them, set them free to enjoy what they have been robbed of. And by the way, zoos are animal prisons too, especially the cramped ones. As for circuses, think for yourself. Abuse is not all there is to life.

Jenny Edwards tells of natural horsekeeping:

I have always been of the opinion that all animals in our care should lead as natural a life as possible. (Edwards 2009:5)

My six horses (I have since adopted another four . . .) live as natural a life as possible . . . I keep them all barefoot and ride in treeless saddles and bitless bridles. They eat a natural grass (and grass hay) diet with some supplements and are only wormed when necessary. I do not have them routinely vaccinated, apart from a ten yearly tetanus shot. (Edwards 2009:5)

Illnesses . . . can be triggered by high levels of sugar in the grass. Hay is a much safer alternative to be used when horse feeding and it can also be soaked in clean, warm water for 30 minutes (or for an hour in cold water) before feeding to further reduce the sugar levels if necessary. (Edwards 2009:6)

Natural boarding recognizes the fact that horses are herd animals who need the company of other horses 24 hours a day. They need to interact by touching and playing. Through evolution as a herd animal, horses are programmed to know that safety is in numbers. So a solitary horse is often a stressed horse. (Edwards 2009:13)

Given enough space horses love to romp, play and hang out together. This also helps develop social skills that help keep harmony in the herd. In the wild most horse families are made up of a single stallion and a number of mares. One of these mares will be the stallion’s favourite. She will be dominant (the alpha mare) and lead the herd, including the stallion. Within the rest of the group there will be a pecking order which is established through daily interactions.)

Horses are adapted to deal with colder conditions. (Edwards 2009:14)

Movement - over varied terrain . . . is very important to the horse’s well-being. In the wild, they live in areas where feed and water is often scarce. So to survive they need to continually travel to seek out food and water. They also move around whilst playing and establishing rank order. (Edwards 2009:15)

You need to provide your horse with somewhere that he can go to get out of extreme weather conditions. In the winter that means somewhere he can get a break from the wind, rain or snow. In the summer, somewhere he can go to get out of the sun or away from biting insects. . . . a run-in shed . . . Trees and hills can also provide shelter and wind-breaks and some horses will prefer these to man-made structures. (Edwards 2009:16)

Natural hoof trimming, natural hoofcare and barefoot trimming are all terms used to describe a method of trimming that enables horses to be kept and ridden without shoes. (Edwards 2009:20)

It may be necessary to use hoof boots for a while when you first start transitioning your horse to go barefoot . . . For most horses it is something that you do need to invest in - although the majority of horses only need them on their front hooves. (Edwards 2009:62)

Building strong relationships based on trust . . . is achieved by working with the horse’s behavior, instincts and personality in a clear and kind manner. ⸺ You can learn how to effectively and kindly work with your horse . . . By learning to listen to the horse by watching for subtle moves that indicate understanding, a two-way conversation can be achieved.)

. . . as one with trust and respect. (Edwards 2009:93)

Free-flowing handling skill put to use

Decent human learning is in a free-flowing show from inside each night. Decent upbringing of donkeys, horses and even children, ought to concern responsible citizens, for in some ways we are like them. (Kemp 1981:108)


Fjord horses, Vestlands, horses, Literature  

Edwards, Jenny. All Natural Horse Care: Give Your Horse the Best Care, Naturally. E-book. Lake Elsinore, CA: All Natural Horse Care, 2009.

Kemp, Grethe. Astu og den talende hest (Astu and the Talking Horse). Frederiksberg: Branner og Korch, 1981.

Schunk, Dale. Learning Theories. An Educational Perspective. 6th ed. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, 2012.

Ullman, Montague, and Nan Zimmerman. Working with Dreams. New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Perigree, 1979.

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