The Norwegian Fjord: A Distinct Appearance!
To see a picture of this horse go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fjord_horse
“Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.”
The Norwegian Fjord (Fēˈôrd) is one of the oldest and purest breeds of horses. It’s believed he has his roots in western Norway for more than 4,000 years. History records the Vikings embracing him as early as 2000 B.C. In more modern times, Norwegian hill farmers used these horses, (often called ponies), as little draft animals for plowing and carriage driving. However, as with most horses of this caliber, the Fjord can be found in competition worldwide such as dressage, jumping, eventing, and competitive driving.
Although he’s considered a mini draft horse, the Fjord has smooth gaits, not high knee action like many draft horses. Because of his smooth ride and a pleasant temperament, he’s a popular riding horse. He’s great with children and special needs folks at Norwegian riding and therapeutic schools.
Fjords range in size from 13.2 to 14.2 hands and weigh between 900 and 1200 pounds when full-grown, but that’s not what gives them a distinct appearance. They’re all shades of dun (tan), mostly gray and buckskin. But yellow duns are very rare. The breed standards accept five different shades of dun, recognized in Norway since 1922. He can have no white markings except a small star on the forehead. In 1982, the Norwegian Fjord Horse Association made a rule that stallions of any age with any other white markings than a small white star cannot be accepted for breeding.
But now we get to the really distinct characteristics. Some Fjord horses have small brown spots on their heads or bodies. These “Njal marks” are named after one of the foundation sires of the Fjord breed, who had such markings. Many Fjords have zebra stripes on their withers and legs. The hooves are most often dark but can be a lighter brown color on light-colored horses. The feet sometimes have feathering, but that’s discouraged by Fjord breeders.
Next, Norwegian Fjord Horses have a black “dorsal” stripe that starts on the top of their heads (the forelock) then runs down through their manes and down the middle of their backs to their tails. Another unique characteristic is the Fjord’s mane. Because of the dorsal stripe, the hair at the roots of the mane is dark (usually black) but the outer hair is white. Fjord owners usually cut the mane very short so all the hair stands up straight. Sometimes it’s trimmed in a crescent shape to emphasize the horse’s graceful, curved neck. Other times, the mane can be trimmed in different patterns to display the obvious dark stripe.
And that’s not all! The Fjord breed’s conformation differs from many other breeds, and you can instantly identify a Fjord when you see him. Besides his strong, arched neck, he has sturdy legs and a solid body with lots of muscles. He has large eyes and small ears, and with a flat forehead, his face then appears straight or slightly dished. In the winter, his coat resembles that of a teddy bear because it grows long and thick.
Do you agree that the Norwegian Fjord Horse has a distinct appearance, which makes him so easy to identify? How about you? Do you have a distinct appearance, which makes you easy to identify as a Christian?
Your appearance doesn’t necessarily mean the way you comb your hair or the way you dress, although your physical “appearance” should be modest and God-honoring. Instead, the word can refer to your demeanor or behavior.
How do you act when things don’t go your way? Are you stubborn? Do you throw tantrum fits? Are you bossy, especially to siblings or other family members? Do you have friends, or do other kids avoid you?
If your answers to any of these questions indicate a problem with your behavior, today can be the time to ask God to help you change. God is willing and able to help you with any problem you have. If you’re a Christian, the Holy Spirit is inside of you, and He’s always ready to guide you to your best behavior. All you need to do is ask.
PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to have a distinct appearance (behavior) so that everyone around me knows I am a Christian. In Jesus’ name, amen.
SADDLE UP! (What would God have you do now?)
Think about your behavior over the last few days. Were there things you did that you’d like to change? Think hard about those things and ask God to help you change:
Take your ride: (Do you know?) Fjord Horses have two-toned manes and tails. Lighter hairs are on the outside edges of the mane and edges of the tail, and darker colors are close to the skin.
Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?) “I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way” (Psalm 101:2a).
Read about foster kid, Skye Nicholson, and her champion show horse, Champ,
and their exciting adventures in the Keystone Stables Series!