The Horse Gazette Newspaper
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Discover the Fantastic Fjords at the Stock Show
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A few months ago I was asked to photograph an equine event in the San Antonio area. I had it on my list to go and check out, but I moved a little quicker when my friend called and said there was a Norwegian Fjord Horse (NFH) stallion there! I had never seen one of these beautiful horses in person and was more than anxious to get my camera pointed at him.
I was able to meet the amazing Bastian Vom Oderhaff and his owner, Kelly White of Landsdrop Ranch. My expectations were met and exceeded; this stallion is an incredible ambassador for the breed. He was kind, gentle, pretty, athletic, and one of the most well behaved stallions (of any breed) I had seen. He is an amazing representative and also the only white dun NFH in Texas; a rare jewel indeed!
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Norwegian Fjords Horses are a primitive breed that have existed for nearly 2000 years. Their black dorsal stripe that runs from their forelock to their tail, combined with zebra striping on their forelegs, are markings that further testify to their ancient breeding. Originating in Norway, they are a relatively new breed to the United States. The Norwegian Fjord Horse Registry was founded in 1983 and states that the current NFH population in USA is approximately 6400 horses. The larger percentage of these horses are populated in Washington, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Texas has only 78 of these fantastic horses; 33 mares, 8 stallions, and 32 geldings.
While they are called a horse . . . the NFH are actually pony sized. They are generally 13.2-14.2hh but yet weigh between 900-1200 lbs. Stout, but are extremely easy keepers! These pony/horses can carry most adult riders with great ease and willingness. Another important characteristic is their dun coloring; 90% are brown dun and 10% are white, gray, red, or yellow dun. But, if their beautiful markings and colorations don't win your heart, their personality definitely will. This is exactly what happened to Kelly White!
Kelly is a native San Antonian that made her way out to Bandera in 2000 to be with family and her horses. She originally started riding in parades and drill teams on a Tennessee Walking Horse and later a Draft cross. In 2002, she went to a Draft Horse auction in Iowa and it was there that she saw her first NFH. She noticed the pen with these beautifully colored ponies and watched how they personable they were with all the people reaching in to pet them. She liked how kind they were, how gentle they were, and how pretty they were. It took her 7 more years, but in 2009 she bought her first NFH in Michigan and brought the brown dun mare back home to Texas.
More recently, Kelly has purchased a gray dun mare and the white dun stallion called Bastian. The gray dun mare produced a lovely new filly this year by a Montana stallion of historic bloodlines. This new filly (color undetermined yet) and her dam will be available to the public at the San Antonio Stock Show in the Horse Discovery area, in the Expo Hall near the main Horse Show Arena. The horses will be in Horse Discovery, from 9am-7pm on the weekends only, February 13, 14, 20, 21, 27 and 28. This will be an excellent opportunity to see these amazing horses and talk more with Kelly about this ancient breed, the Norwegian Fjord Horse.