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Are Fjord Horses Good for Beginners? Breed Characteristics

Last updated: May 21, 2022

By: Miles HenryFact Checked

A friend has been looking at Fjord horses for his son, a beginner rider. He saw some pictures of the horse breed and fell in love with their unique appearance. But are Fjord horses a good breed for beginner riders?

Fjord horses are ideal for beginner riders; they are powerful, hardy, intelligent, and have an even temperament. A beginner’s horse should be a willing worker, easy to train, have a calm temperament, and be comfortable to ride. The Fjord horse breed checks all the boxes.

Choosing the perfect horse is a challenge, and the difficulty increases when looking for the ideal horse for a beginner. It takes a lot of research and knowledge to understand which horse will be the best fit, and Fjord horses should be considered.

Picture of a Fjord horse.

Is the Fjord horse breed good for beginners?

There are thousands of different horse breeds to choose from, and not all of them are ideal if you are starting out. When you are learning, you must choose a breed that gives you some leeway for mistakes.

You don’t want to start off with a horse breed that is too headstrong and complicated. You want a horse that is easy to train and form an emotional connection with. In this article, we examine the Fjord horse and its suitability for beginners.


Fjord horses originate from Norway, and we can trace their lineage back 4,000 years. Along with the Icelandic horse, this ancient breed is one of the two purest horse breeds globally.

Native breeders of Fjord horses recognized their horses’ utility and physical quality and worked diligently to maintain the breed’s integrity. The traits recognized thousands of years ago in Fjord’s is why they are excellent horses for beginners.

Fjord horse is one of the few ideal breeds for beginners that want to learn to ride. The Fjord horse is sturdy, strong, intelligent, and has a calm temperament.

It is quite a surprise to see such power from a relatively small horse compared to other breeds. The Fjord horses are intelligent and gentle horses that are forgiving when it comes to mistakes made by riders who are learning.

Fjord horse breed characteristics.

Here are some of the characteristics that make the Fjord horse ideal for beginners:


The Fjords are smaller in size compared to some of the other breeds. They range from 13 hands to 15 hands in height. Despite their small size, they are formidable and can carry quite a heavy load comfortably.

Most horses shouldn’t carry more than 20 percent of their weight. I wrote an article about this you may want to read: How Much Weight Can a Horse Carry? It’s Essential to Know!

Even though Fjord horses are typically short, they are well put together, and many weigh 1,000 pounds, which means they can safely carry a 200-pound person without difficulty.

Fjords’ short stature makes them easy to mount and dismount. Most other horse breeds are much taller than Fjords, and when you are a beginner, you want a horse that is easy to get on and off and makes you comfortable.

Big horses are often intimidating to novice riders, and Fjords’ height is ideal for putting a rider at ease. Interestingly, equines under 14.2 hands are considered ponies, but Fjords, even though some are under 14.2 hands tall, are not ponies.

Here is another article you may find interesting: 10 Differences Between Ponies and Horses: Size, Breeds …

fjord horses, beginner riders, height, breed characteristics,


All horses have a little bit of a wild side to them. It all comes down to their intelligence and their ability to judge situations that make them suitable for beginners.

The Fjord horse is known for being very smart, which means they typically take a second and think a little before tackling a new trail or exercise. This attribute is essential because you will naturally make a few mistakes when learning how to ride a horse.

Fjords want to work, but they are cautious, which to me is a sign they are smart. They don’t just take off without thinking a little first. You also find this trait in mules, they will often choose the best and safest trails to travel without being guided.

I did a comparison between mules and horses you may find interesting: The Epic Battle: Mule vs. Horse. Which Is Best For You?


The Fjord horse is known to be good-natured, laid-back, and agreeable. They are kind and gentle as long as they are treated with care, making them ideal for children and beginners.

Fjord’s calm demeanor helps novice riders on trail rides because they don’t easily spook. They are more likely to stand still when confronted by a barking dog or an unexpected sound than more seasoned horses.

Just because they have a calm temperament doesn’t mean they are willing workers. Just the opposite is true. Most want to please their rider and enjoy working and learning new training techniques.

fjord horses, fjord horses gait,


Beginner riders do much better starting with a horse that has a smooth gait that provides a comfortable seat. The Fjord has sure feet and a rhythmic pace. They make for a very smooth and calm ride.

A beginner’s horse should be comfortable to ride, smart, have a calm temperament, and is a willing worker. The Fjord horse breed displays all these qualities plus more; they are short and easy keepers.

Easy keepers

The term “easy keeper” in horse vernacular typically refers to the animal’s ability to maintain proper body weight without adding grain or special hay to the horse’s diet.

However, there is a downside in that some breeds that are easy keepers tend to get overweight easily, so it is necessary to limit their calorie intake.

I consider a horse to be an “easy keeper” if they are hardy, has good feet, keeps weight on easily, and isn’t prone to develop diseases. Fjord horses are “easy keepers.”


Fjords are easy keepers, which means they put on weight with little effort. You don’t have to worry about providing them a specific diet of high protein feeds or hay. They thrive on basic roughage.

For your first horse, you want one that is hardy. You don’t need to spend your time worrying about keeping weight on your animal, or if you feed the wrong hay, the horse will cause colic.

Fjord horses can develop the same conditions as any other horse; however, they don’t develop digestive diseases as easily as many other breeds.


Fjords have hardy feet and do well without shoes. However, they need shoes if you ride over concrete or rough rocky terrain often. But when you compare the durability of their feet to many other breeds, you’ll notice they require fewer farrier visits.

fjord horses, colors,


Fjord horses are remarkable because of their unique mane. It has a distinct dark stripe that runs through its middle, surrounded by light hair trimmed to stand erect on the horse’s neck and display the dark inner color.

Most Fjord horses are brown duns with a dorsal stripe that runs through their manes down their backs and to their tail. They also have lines on their lower legs and often across their withers.

Fjord horses can also have red dun, gray, white or yellow dun color patterns, and as with all duns, they will display some primitive markings, such as the dorsal stripe. Interestingly, Fjord horses rarely have white markings.


If you are looking for a horse that you can pleasure ride on, then Fjords are probably one of the world’s best for that purpose.

The characteristics described above make Fjords ideal for children and beginners. Their size, temperament, and intelligence make them a treat to work with, and since they are generous enough to forgive your mistakes, they are ideal for learning. We hope that you find this article helpful. Best of luck!

Below is a helpful YouTube video about the Norwegian Fjord Horse.

YouTube video

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