Today’s Horse Facts: The Norwegian Fjord

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.

The Norwegian Fjord: A Distinct Appearance!

To see a picture of this horse go to 

“Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.”

(Proverbs 20:11)

            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!


Today’s Horse Facts: The Azerbaijan

Have you ever heard of an Azerbaijan (AZ-ər-by-JAHN)? Not many people have. In fact, if you’d ask the average person, he might say he thinks an Azerbaijan is a type of insect or some disease!

The Azerbaijan: A Burden Lifter

Qarabaq ati.jpg

(Photo compliments of Wikipedia)

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

(Galatians 6:2)

Have you ever heard of an Azerbaijan (AZ-ər-by-JAHN)? Not many people have. In fact, if you’d ask the average person, he might say he thinks an Azerbaijan is a type of insect or some disease!

The Azerbaijan horse, (once called a Kazakh), is as unknown as the country of Azerbaijan itself. This small republic lies just northwest of Iran in Asia. Although Azerbaijan is small, its people have great respect and pride for a powerful little horse that owes his roots to that part of the world. The little-known breed is a mountain-steppe racing and riding horse. These tough horses are known for living long lives and having great endurance. They do very well growing up in herds on mountainsides, and they’re strong with lots of spunk.

If you’d like to look at a handsome horse, the Azerbaijan will fit the bill. He usually comes in the solid colors of chestnut, bay, or gray.  He has a short head with a broad forehead and narrow nose, a really thick neck, and a strong body, and he runs fast with a pacing (rather fast steady) gait. He runs so fast the Azerbaijan folks often hold races. This little equine powder keg has been clocked at almost a mile in about three minutes!

Azerbaijans are also known for strength and stamina, working as pack horses to lighten heavy loads for the people who love them so much. The breed has unique characteristics that have made him a reliable burden bearer. Although he’s only about 11 to 12 hands, he can carry heavy loads on mountain trails and over the countryside with no problem. While carrying all that weight, he can go about 25 to 30 miles in one day!

Wow! The Azerbaijan certainly has the reputation of being a burden lifter. How about you? Do you help others and lift their burdens?

You might think, how can I lift burdens and heavy things? I’m just a kid.

Do you know the Bible teaches us to be burden lifters to our family and friends? Lifting burdens doesn’t always mean picking up heavy things as you would do to help someone move into a new house or maybe just to clean out a garage. When you’re a burden lifter, you’re an encourager. You’re someone who says kind words and does kind deeds to make others feel better.  To do this, you should be alert to your family’s and friends’ needs.

If someone is disappointed about something, do you ever offer kind words? Do you listen if your friend wants to tell you his troubles? These are ways even children can be burden lifters like the perky Azerbaijan.

Perhaps you don’t think about how others are feeling because you think about yourself too much. Or maybe you have too many of your own problems. Well, the Bible tells us that we’re to give our worries to the Lord Jesus, and He’ll help us. When we pray, ask for His strength, and give our burdens to Him, He’s ready to take them. God then gives us strength so we’re ready and able to lift burdens for those we love.

PRAYER: Dear God, help me to not focus on myself all the time. Help me to be sensitive to the burdens of others, so I can offer to help. In Jesus’ name, amen.

SADDLE UP!   (What would God have you do now?)

Think of some family or friends who have burdens and how you can offer to help.

Take your ride: (Do you know?) The Azerbaijan has a peculiar lengthwise fold on his tongue, making it look like a forked (divided) tongue.

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?) “Come to me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).


Foster kid Skye has her hands full, trying to help Down syndrome Joey learn to ride. Joey adores Skye, but she can’t stand him.

How’s a Christian gal to treat someone she doesn’t like?

         Blue Ribbon Champ