Fjord Horse International's mission is to host an international forum of member countries around the world


On this page you will find articles about breeding, use and regulations in the different countries where the beautiful Fjord Horse lives.

In connection with the new EU-regulations for purebred horses, Tore Kvam from the Norwegian horse center presented Norway’s view on these regulations at the international conference in Nordfjordeid this spring.

Click here to view the slides he showed.

Information collected by Susanne Petersen from the member countries and presented on the international conference at Nordfjordeid 2018 :

The situation is special because there are two breeding associations and very long distances to cover.
Performance testing of stallions hsd been discussed, but until now no test has been develloped. A problem is also seen in the education of judges. It is seen as most important for a possible test that the special disposition characteristics of the breed are tested.

Stallions have to be presented at 3,4,5 and 8 years. 3-and 4 year old stallions have to pass an obedience driving test, at 5 year old also an obedience ridden test. Without the tests no license for breeding is given. Tests in riding, driving, work driving available for mares. A system of premiums for tested mares. Geldings can do the tests as well
Tests of imported stallions are accepted according to EU rules

Stallions do not have to be licensed for breeding. Performance testing is a matter of personal engagement of the breeder.
Sometimes canadian breeders attend evaluations in the USA

Stallions have to pass a test when 4 years old, otherwise they cannot be presented for their second licensing and loose their breeding permission. No performance test for mares. Many mares and geldings are shown in jumping and dressage.  The results can be looked at performance tests. Special register for sporthorses.
Performance tests from other countries accepted.

Breeding stallions have to pass the test before they are 5 years old. The test aims to show the disposition of the stallions.
No test for mares available
Tests from other countries accepted according to EU rules

Germany 1
Two categories of stallions: licensed and performance tested: Hengstbuch 1
No performance test: Hengstbuch 2, offspring still gets full pedigree. Certain shows can not be attended, certain premiums can not be awarded
Available tests: 30 day station test: dressage, cross country, free jumping, riding judge, driving
BCHF: one day event involving dressage, cross country in a group, riding judge, jumps with water, trail parcours

Germany 2
In dressage, jumping, long distance riding, driving certain show results can be accepted as performance test Mares can do the same tests and in addition several field tests. The different breeding associations give different premiums for tested mares. The highest premium given by the Federation National, the „Bundesprämie“ is only given to performance tested animals.
Performance tests from other countries are not always accepted

Great Britain
Fjord stallions are evaluated at age of 3 to 4 depending on maturity. They are examined by an approved veterinarian for soundness and by approved judges for conformation, gaits and temperament. Written reports are issued. In it's 4th / 5th year the stallion has to pass evaluation tests in hand, ridden and driven. An overall score is given. If the stallion fails, no recommendation for breeding is given. Foals can still get pedigree papers up to the time of failure. The produce of foals covered after the date of failure will not enter the stud book and will be placed in the supplementary register.
There is no mandatory physical evaluation for mares except if the mare is intended to produce a breeding stallion. Then she must undergo a similar test to the 3 year old stallion evaluations.
Performance/evaluation tests of imported fjord horses are accepted in accordance with EU regulations.

A system of tests is established that covers a whole range of disciplines: Dressage, jumping, driving, work driving, riding outside and cross country. Breeding horses can do tests through all their life, as a field test with several parts on one day or only one part at a time. A horse can repeat a test on a later date if wanted. This system of standardized test designed especially for the Fjord breed gives a consistent observer a good idea about the disposition and work ability of a horse.

Besides being judged for conformation stallions have to pass a performance test which involves riding and driving and behaviour in hand, for ex. Feet are picked up and the horse has to stand still. Disposition features as calmness, frendliness, the desire to cooperate are considered the most important traits for a Fjord Horse. Stallions can do the test from the age of 3 yrs. Mares are not tested
Tests from other countries are approved if they can be approved by FjHI

All breeding stallions have to be performance tested. For being licensed at the age of three the stallions have to pass a disposition test in harness. At the age of 4 or 5 three day performance test involving driving, work driving, riding, test rider, free jumping Mares can do a ridden or driven field test. Certain premiums for tested mares.
Imported stallions have to pass the norwegian performance test

All horses used for breeding have to be performance tested, mares and stallions. If mares are not tested, their sons cannot be licensed for breeding; The test can be done at the age of four years or older One day driving test or one day ridden test available, also certain show results can be recognized as performance test. If horse fails the test (which seldom happens), it can come again.
Tests from other countries are regognized

Performance test in hand, testing nerves and disposition. Two categories of stallions, fully recommended for breeding only if test has been passed. Stallions without test are not recommended for breeding, but offspring gets full papers. Mares can do the same test, not mandatory
Tests from other countries are not recognized

Evaluation system with Driving, Draft, Riding and „Family Fjord Test“. These field tests are open to stallions, mares and geldings, it is highly appreciated if the tests are taken, but they are not mandatory.
There is a system of awarded ribbons in different colours, and points are given. All tests are develloped for the Fjord breed. The Family Fjord test aims especially at examining the disposition of the horse as a companion animal for non-professional handlers and riders. Horses can repeat a test

Illustrations collected by Susanne :

 page 15

 page 16     page 17

page 18     page 19

page 20     page 21

 page 22     page 23

page 24     page 25

page 26     page 27

page 28     page 29

page 30     page 31

page 32     page 33


Here are the results from FJHI’s questionnaire about the use of DNA in deciding ancestry of horses in our member countries. Further the results of the use of UELN number in identification of horses in Europe. All countries have been asked to check if the presentation is according to their rules and some have answered. If there should be some faults or missing information we hope that we will hear from the actual country (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).


Nils I. Dolvik

The Fjord Horse International board members, with support from Norsk Fjordhestsenter AS, has the pleasure to welcome all the Fjord Horse People in Nordfjordeid in occasion of the 2018 Norwegian Stallion Show and international meetings!

For complete invitation, follow this link.

Origins of “The Official Handbook for Fjord Horse Judges”
by Eike Schön-Petersen

When Fjord Horse International was founded in 1997, the main purpose was to unite Fjord Horse enthusiasts worldwide in the common purpose of promoting, maintaining and protecting the Fjord Horse breed in its unique characteristics.

We know that distinct types of horses existed as far back as Roman times, when there were heavier horses for armoured battle with sword or spear and lighter, faster and more mobile horses for archers. Later, in the age of enlightenment, the encyclopaedic documentation of the world around us produced descriptions of the species and their local variants. These local variants were the product of selection from the available genepool for a certain environment and purpose. It is important to note, that all three factors: the environment, the purpose and the available genepool are not necessarily static or fixed and in recent times have evolved dramatically. Since the first attempts at organized breeding of the Fjord Horse during the 19th century, the purpose of any breed “improvement” was to follow the market – at times a market that demanded a heavier horse for intensified agriculture – at times and in some countries a market for lighter children’s sports horses. Today, we have come to realize, there is no single market, no single purpose for horses and, by opening the genepool, we would be able to adapt quickly to different purposes, but we would lose what has made the Fjord Horse unique. The responsibility for maintaining the Fjord Horse breed with its core qualities lies with the breeders and their organisations.

Today, Norges Fjordhestlag in Norway and the many national and regional sister-organisations in other countries coordinate and promote the breeding of Fjord Horses. “Breeding”, as we understand it in this context, is the planned mating of documented individuals in order to produce offspring with defined qualities. “Defined Qualities” is where the “The Official Handbook for Fjord Horse Judges” comes in. In 1996, a year before Fjord Horse International was founded, Norges Fjordhestlag organized an international judges conference and seminar at the Stallion Show in Nordfjordeid. During five days of judging together and comparing notes as well as discussing the different systems in different countries, it became obvious that all involved, but especially the Fjord Horse itself, would benefit from a uniform description of the breed, a common breeding goal and guidelines on how judging is to be carried out. In 1999, at the second annual general assembly of Fjord Horse International, an international working group was formed and tasked with the development of common rules of how to judge Fjord Horses.

Systems of judging or evaluating horses for their potential benefit to the breeding program, resulting in a licence to breed for stallions or in different premium levels for mares, have mainly been developed on the background of military use. Cavalry inspectors had a prescribed way of evaluating young horses for their suitability for service. This system was transferred to the selection of breeding stock. In modern times, the article by Marvin Beeman in the American Quarter Horse Journal on “The Relationship of Form to Function” gives a great introduction to the general aspects of functional anatomy. Add to that the evaluation of the movement and a general-purpose horse will be defined.

What then, makes a Fjord Horse special? This is what the working group needed to work out and put into writing. In the different chapters, we worked through tasks like translating lyric descriptions of “carrying its head like a young lad on the way to his beloved”, the famous “eyes like mountain lakes” and other references from sources like the book “Fjordhesten” by Olaf Karstad, written over 50 years ago, into terms that describe these eyes even to someone, who has never seen a mountain lake. Long discussions were had about the graded importance of different anatomic variants and how to weight them in the overall result.

One outcome: We all quickly agreed, that in many aspects specific to the Fjord Horse, we would describe a range, not an end point. To give an example: There is a range for the desired height at the withers; if your horse is otherwise a typical Fjord Horse, it may be larger or may be smaller than the average or even slightly outside of the ideal range. And while the trot should be free and ground covering, there is a limit to where a farther extended trot would be positive – for a typical Fjord Horse. The breeders, and in their service the judges and evaluators, are the guardians of the Fjord Horse breed. Keeping a certain range of variation alive between different breeders and their different bloodlines, the different countries where Fjord Horses are bred and the many purposes a Fjord Horse can serve, while still defining the essential character and the breeding goal was the endeavour of the working group.

The members of the working group are listed in the document. Everyone contributed their special knowledge and talent. Over a time of about 4 years, in a series of meetings, with sometimes heated discussions, hundreds of e-mails and many thousands of kilometres travelled, the international working group came together in a unique example of cooperation and determination (like a good Fjord Horse!) and delivered the Handbook. Today it stands as a living reference document. It is like the breed, open to adaptation as long as the core is preserved. I hope you enjoy reading it!


Picture referring to the event in Fosnes when the Handbook was signed by the different Fjord Horse Nations:

wNewspaper Historiks dag2

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