Today’s Horse Facts: The North Swedish Horse – Not Enough Good Can Be Said About Him

The North Swedish Horse is a small, heavy horse originating from ____?___ You guessed it: Sweden. Equine enthusiasts consider him a coldblooded draft horse, but he can also be a harness racer if his build is lighter.

The North Swedish Horse: Not Enough Good Can Be Said About Him

To see a picture of this horse go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Swedish_Horse  

“To you it was shown, that you might know that the Lord Himself is God;

there is none other besides Him.”

(Deuteronomy 4:35 NKJV)

The North Swedish Horse is a small, heavy horse originating from ____?___ You guessed it: Sweden. Equine enthusiasts consider him a coldblooded draft horse, but he can also be a harness racer if his build is lighter. He also has an impressive energetic long trot, which makes him popular for that kind of racing. (In harness racing the horses race at a specific gait. They must trot or “pace” but can’t canter— run fast. One driver reins the two-wheeled cart called a sulky.)

The North Swedish Horse’s roots go back to his neighbor, the Norwegian Dølahest. (The Dølahest is a strong, reliable draft horse from Norway.) North Swedish Horses had been crossbred with other breeds until the 19th Century when the North Swedish Horse Breed Society created its standards for a more distinct body shape for the breed.  The society returned to the horse’s roots, using Dølahest stallions from Norway, and in the early 20th Century, the society also introduced tough performance tests for all breeding studs.

Today, the line of the North Swedish Horse is strictly controlled with breeding stallions that are all thoroughly tested. To qualify, a stud must have a pleasant character, must be strong enough to pull heavy loads, and must be able to breed. The horse’s legs and hooves are even examined by X-ray to test for strong legs.

Because the North Swedish Horse is so cooperative, he’s very easy to train. Although his build is compact and hardy yet light for a draft horse, his strength and stamina outweigh his “dumpy” look. He’s tough and spunky, but he’s also known to be cooperative and willing to work, so the Swedes use him for farming, forestry work, and recreational sports like pulling and hauling. Being born and raised in the harsh climate of Sweden, he’s known for good health and a long life.

With all the positive qualities of the North Swedish Horse, it seems as though we almost have a near-perfect equine that stands at 15.1 to 15.3 hands. The most common colors are solids: blackish brown, smoky, and yellowish black, but any solid color can be found. His dumpy body shape might remind you of an overweight pony with a big head, long ears, and a short, thick neck. His mane and tail wave thick and abundant in the wind. Yet, despite his plump build, he requires little feed and is a very active horse. A farmer might use his North Swedish Horse during the week for plowing but on Saturday enter him in an endurance race at the local fair. Besides this equine’s reputation for being a strong draft horse and racer, his easy-going manner makes him a favorite of children. Not enough good can be said about this horse loved by children and adults alike.

Have you ever heard the term “not enough good can be said about someone”? Has anyone ever said that about you?

Do you know we can say that about the wonderful God we love and worship? We can’t say enough good about God because He is perfect, and He’s the only God. Can you imagine never making a mistake or never doing the wrong thing? He made the vast universe, and He made us. Now Jesus is preparing a special place called Heaven for all those who believe in Him as their Savior. That’s how special our God is, and He’s worthy of our praise and adoration. Thank Him today for being the One and Only Perfect God who never makes a mistake.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank you for being the one, true, perfect God, who loves me so much. Thank you, Jesus, for making a way for me to go to Heaven some day and be with you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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

Think of some things you notice in your life or in the Bible that show that our God is perfect and magnificent:

(SIDEBAR 1:)

Take your ride: (Do you know?)  The North Swedish Horse is one of very few coldblooded breeds used in harness racing.

(SIDEBAR 2:)

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?) “As for God, His way is perfect;
the word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him” (2 Samuel 22:31 NKJV).

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Read about foster kid, Skye Nicholson, and her champion show horse, Champ,

and their exciting adventures in the Keystone Stables Series!

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Today’s Horse Facts: The Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse – A Rule Follower

This smooth-riding horse is related to the Tennessee Walking Horse and other gaited breeds. Unfortunately, the exact details of his beginnings are unknown.

The Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse: A Rule Follower

(To see a picture of this horse, go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kentucky_Mountain_Saddle_Horse)

“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.”

 (Colossians 3:15)

            The Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse is a breed from ___? You guessed it, the state of Kentucky.  This fabulous horse probably has his roots in smooth-gaited horses from the southeastern United States and the now-extinct Narragansett Pacer. He’s related to the Tennessee Walking Horse and other gaited breeds, but, unfortunately, the exact details of his beginnings are unknown.

The Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse has a similar history to the Rocky Mountain Horse. These two breeds are sometimes called “Mountain Pleasure Horses.” Plantation owners looking for a powerful work horse developed the Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse, which could also offer a comfortable, safe ride to the family members. Breeding eventually produced this equine’s gentle temperament. He became the perfect mount not only for long travel over rough terrain but also for frequent family use. Even today, the breed has the reputation of being an excellent riding horse as well as a reliable mount for rugged trail riding.

This amazing horse rides “rocking chair smooth” for one reason. He has a natural ambling gait, which is completely different from the trot of most other breeds. The rider experiences smoothness because the horse always has at least one foot on the ground when he’s “ambling.”

Interest in the breed increased throughout the 20th Century, and in 1989, the Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse Association (KMSHA) started. Because of the popularity of the breed with excessive white markings and pinto colors, in 2002 an additional Spotted Mountain Horse Association (SMHA) started to register Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horses with a lot of white. Thus, there are two different registries today: one for “solid” horses and one for pintos.

Because the history and lineage of the Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse is not known, the two associations did extensive studies and formed detailed guidelines that any horse must follow to be registered as a Saddle Horse. Space doesn’t allow for the listing of pages of all the rules and regulations, but let’s take a look at a few:

  1. A Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse must stand above 11 hands to be registered. Taller horses are divided into two categories: Class A horses stand taller than 14.2 hands while Class B horses stand at 11 to 14.1 hands.
  2. A horse registered with the Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse Association can be all solid colors with white markings allowed on the face, legs, and small patches on the belly no larger than the size of the palm of a hand.
  3. A horse with excessive white, including a full white face, white above the knees or hocks, or any pinto markings must register with the Spotted Mountain Horse Association.
  4. The horse must have a flat facial profile, a mid-length, well-arched neck, a deep chest and well-sloped shoulders.
  5. The horse must display a gentle temperament and willing disposition. Any horse that is unruly or unmanageable will not be accepted for certification.
  6. The horse must have a smooth, comfortable, and natural four beat under saddle.
  7. The horse may be barefoot or have shoes on all four hooves.

The Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse certainly has to follow a ton of rules to be a member of his exclusive club!

How would you like to be a member of a family or a club with so many rules? What if you had to have purple hair or weigh two hundred pounds to be a member of your family? What if you had to get all A’s in every test you take in school to pass to the next grade?

You probably think those rules just mentioned are ridiculous. But God has given us many good rules in the Bible, which help us live a successful and happy life. Some of those rules are the Ten Commandments, which are a guide for us to follow.

However, some people believe that by following the Ten Commandments they can work their way to heaven. Sadly, they also believe they have to follow a long list of other rules to win God’s favor, and then He’ll let them into Heaven.  But that’s not what the Bible says. Once we’ve accepted Jesus as our Savior, heaven is promised to us. All the rules God has given us are to be used as a guide to help us live the Christian life.

Remember, there are good rules your parents and teachers have set to help you grow into a responsible, happy adult. And there are good rules God has given you to help you grow into a responsible, happy Christian. Always thank Jesus that He made the way to heaven with his sacrifice on the cross, and you don’t have to try to keep a lot of rules to get there.

PRAYER: Dear God, help me obey the rules You and others in my life have set for me. I know they’re for my good.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

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

What are some rules your parents or teachers have that you think are for your good? Determine to obey them the best you can.

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?)  The Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse is the member of an exclusive club of more than thirty horse breeds that are “gaited,” able to perform a four-beat ambling gait.

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?)  “I have longed for thy salvation, O Lord; and thy law is my delight” (Psalm 119:174).

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Do you love to read books about kids and horses?

Check out Book One in the Keystone Stables Series:

A HORSE TO LOVE  

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