The common perception that the Fjord is a slow, plodding draft horse could not be farther from the truth. This really showed off in the showclass at the World Cup opening show, Kingsland Oslo Horse Show, last weekend.

Photo Malene Nilssen. Video Therese Alhaug

The impressive Fjordhorse convinced the audience about their all-round skills by winning a speed class competing against warmblood horses ridden by  four “national team comeback riders” that showed off their riding skills after 20 years away from the competition arena. Beyond the comeback riders were also Norwegian princess Märtha Louise that had great success and came second in the class.

It has to be mentioned that the winning Fjord horse in this showclass was ridden by none other than the very fast dutch rider Micheal van der Vleuten that really seems to get along well with the old Norwegian breed. Still, what an impressing performance of the Fjord horses.

Enjoy this video clip showing Maikel van der Vleuten, Martin Fuchs, Laura Renwick and Cian O’Connor riding the Fjord Horses, competing against the Norwegian comeback team: princess Märtha Louise, Marit Hegre Stranden, Ove Hansen and Morten Aasen, riding the warmblood horses.



Dressage, pleasure riding, pleasure and combined driving, Western performance, trail riding, packing, jumping, eventing, vaulting, light draft work, games, and therapeutic riding are just some of the uses of the modern Fjord.

The Norwegian Fjord is considered one of the oldest pure breeds of horse. While they bear a striking resemblance to the Asiatic wild horse or Przewalski horse, they are in fact more closely related to the European wild horse, the Tarpan, as the Przewalski horse has 66 chromosomes while both the Fjord and the Tarpan have 64.

It is believed that the original Fjord horse migrated to Norway and was domesticated over 4000 years ago. Archeological evidence suggests that the Fjord horse has been selectively bred for over 2000 years, first by the Vikings around 1200 BC. Rune stone carvings in Norway, many of fighting stallions, show images of horses recognizable as Fjords. The Vikings took their Fjords, which they used as war mounts, in their travels to Scotland, Iceland, and elsewhere. In these lands the Fjord influenced the Highland Pony and the Icelandic Horse.From the Vikings’ horses of war, the Fjord evolved into a working farm horse for Norwegian farmers in the mountainous western district of Vestlandet. Working on the hillside farms, the Fjord became surefooted, agile, thrifty, and hard working — qualities they maintain to this day.



Therese Stub Alhaug
Therese Stub Alhaug


Therese is the editor of Equilife, and is truly dedicated to equestrian sports and horses. She started riding as a little girl, and enjoys her free time with her two horses back home. Portrait interview is her favorite topic, as it has the gift to inspire others through peoples stories, knowledge, training and general life-philosophy, and certainly, their lives with horses.

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