Haflinger & Norwegian Fjord Horses
Haflingers, known in Austria as Edelweiss Ponies, are the Jeeps of the draft horse world. Their name comes from the village of Hafling in the Austrian Tyrolean mountain region near Italy. This horse evolved for native farmers as the small, powerful, economical and sure-footed tractor of the Alps. Haflinger owners say this breed can do two-thirds the work of a heavy horse for one-third of the feed costs.
At first glance a Haflinger may look like a small Belgian, but the two are unrelated. Powerful for their size, Haflingers are used for draft work on many modern Amish farms. Because they evolved in the mountains, they can readily navigate steep terrain and narrow paths. These sturdy ponies can carry adults and, due to their gentle nature and small size, are easily handled, groomed, and harnessed by children and short adults.
Norwegian Fjords are close descendents of the ancient wild horses painted on cave walls by early humans. The breed has been domesticated for more 4,000 years but remains true to type, closely resembling Prewalski's horse with its dun color, full black dorsal stripe, upright mane and leg stripes. The Vikings of Norway were supposedly the first western Europeans to use horses for farming. All present-day draft breeds may owe their ancestry at least in part to the Norwegian Fjord.
For centuries Norwegian horsemen worked to improve the breed while emphasizing the calm and gentle temperament. Fjords are stocky, powerfully built, hardy, and long-lived. A unique characteristic is their mane. Because of the dorsal stripe that runs from the forelock into the tail, the center hair of the mane is often black while the outer hair is white. The mane is usually trimmed short, but when grown out is wavy.
This versatile horse has an especially long, free gait, with a proud, stylish and cheerful way of going, whether skidding logs or carrying children through the pasture. Because of their hardiness, common sense, willingness to work, and easy keeping, Fjords are used in remote, rugged locations, from Norway to Alaska and all points south. Fjords learn fast, are easy to train, and rarely need retraining, even after long periods of inactivity. Norwegian Fjords are one of the most docile, friendly, "people" horses to be found.
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Phone: 319-362-3027 Fax: 319-362-3046
16 January 2002
19 October 2011 last revision