Pet of the Day

April 21, 2006

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Bjorne, the Pet of the Day
Name: Bjorne
Age: Seven years old
Gender: Male
Kind: Norwegian Fjord Horse
Home: St. Paul, Minnesota, USA
   Bjorne is a lot of horsepower in a small package! I have owned him for three years and we train together for dressage every Friday with an instructor. Bjorne is the perfect horse for the Minnesota climate - his coat is fabulously thick from October to April, and this picture was taken when it was zero degrees F outside in December - he loves the cold.

    As he is categorized as a "cold-blood" breed, he is both calm and somewhat stubborn - but one look from those brown eyes and all is forgiven. I call Bjorne my "equine SUV", as he is capable of learning dressage gaits, pulling loads and negotiating trails with equal skill. I hope to enjoy him for many years to come.

    I always joke that like all full-blood Norwegians, he is the strong, silent type. He's pretty independent but will comply with most requests when a treat is involved. You have to be pretty careful about disciplining his treats, as he can get rather pushy and actually knocked my friend over when she offered carrots to his corral-mate! I would have to say his favorite pastime is grazing in pasture.

    I board him at a ranch where he is in the company mainly of Arabian horses, his alter-ego. He is a big teddy bear - very quiet most of the time, but when he gets an idea that he's tired of training, he can really act up! The young girls who ride at the ranch just adore him as he's quite small (14.3 hands, just about a pony) and so round when his coat is full.

    Bjorne is my "mid-life crisis" horse. About ten years ago I saw a special on Public TV about a farm in Wisconsin that raises Norwegian Fjords. I had never heard of the breed before and was absolutely enchanted with their temperaments and versatility. As I had ridden (hunter-jumper) from ages 10 to 17, I said to myself that if I ever got back into riding, I'd get a Fjord. A few years ago a friend mentioned that her sister-in-law had just purchased a Fjord for her niece (my Bjorne). It didn't work out (Bjorne was too headstrong for a young rider) and my friend said she was selling Bjorne. I said I'd take him! An impetuous decision, but no regrets. It is such fun to be riding again.

    Fjords are not at all common in the US and many live in Wisconsin and Minnesota (how appropriate). My understanding is that there are only about 4500 Fjords in the US. Bjorne is registered with the Norwegian Fjord Horse registry and his line can be traced back many generations.

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