Prepared from information supplied by the Fjord Horse Promotional Group
Fjord horses were reportedly introduced to Australia in the 1920s for crossing with Thoroughbreds in the Blackall district of Queensland to produce a hardy stock horse. While none of their purebred progeny survive today, there are still many dun or buckskin horses in Queensland that exhibit the physical characteristics, thriftiness and temperament of the Fjord.
The majority of the roughly 130 pure Fjord horses in Australia originate from two stallions and six mares imported by the van Raalte family of South Australia in 1986. These original stock were all unrelated and careful breeding since has kept the quality high. There have been three Fjord stallions imported into Australia and New Zealand in recent years to add diversity to the gene pool, as well as progeny from imported semen.
In 1995 the Fjord horse breed was accepted into the Australian Pony Stud Book Society. The Fjord Promotional Group of Australia, which includes the majority of active Fjord horse breeders and owners, enthusiastically promotes the breed.
The Norwegian Fjord horse is one of the world's oldest breeds. Herds of wild Fjord horses existed in Norway after the last ice age. Cave paintings show horses with typical Fjord horse markings and colours. Archaeological excavations at Viking burial sites suggest that the horse has been intentionally bred for at least 2000 years.
Predominantly brown dun, there are also grey and white dun Fjords in Australia. They are instantly recognisable by the distinctive dorsal stripe that runs from their forelock down through their tail. They generally grow to between 13 and 14.3 hands and can weigh more than 500 kilograms.
From their origins as an all-round agricultural horse, Fjords have the strength, endurance and temperament to be used for all kinds of harness and driving work. As riding horses they are used in every conceivable discipline from pony club to grand prix dressage. Their kind nature makes them an ideal family horse to be enjoyed by children and beginners, through to serious competitors.