There is certainly a lot of confusing and mix up about expressions and terminology. We hope to shed some light into it and also express our opinion to make our program and vision more understandable.
Over the years we have heard some interesting new uses for this term like the "North American type", the "import type", "east/west coast" type ect.
The Norwegian Fjord Horse Registry in the US has the "light/sport" type, the "medium" type and the "heavy/draft" type.
The Norwegians are not officially recognizing a type or different use types, but saying that Fjords come in different shapes and sizes according to the different demands of changing times.
However, looking at comments of evaluators at Fjord shows in Norway, they do differentiate the models as "high build" type or "long build" type. There is no judgement as to which type is better, but rather that the conformation explains the movement and therefore the usability.
The high build type is a Fjord with more length of leg, a strong topline on a short back. The compact high build type is generally stiffer in movement with shorter bunchier muscling. These horse tend to be able to carry heavier loads, but might not be quite as comfortable and smooth. Their movement tends to be more uphill with great lift of the hind legs and therefore more ground covering.
The long build type has - as the name already says - a longer back and is more a rectangular than a square in shape. These horses generally have a more supple movement with more swing in their back, making them more comfortable horses to ride or drive. However, due to the longer back, they tend to have a weaker topline and therefore are less suited to be weight carriers. Their movement is more level to downhill because the length of (hind) leg is not long enough to reach under the back/belly and lift up the front.
Both breed types have their strengths and weaknesses. It doesn't mean that one type is better than the other, that it can be only be used for draft or sport or that one is more powerful, it is rather that they have different transmissions.
In the end it is more about recognizing the types and understanding what it means for training, breeding and use.
12% height/length ratio
4.5% height/length ratio
Breed character is commonly confused with the breed type. The breed character defines what makes a Fjord a Fjord.
The Norwegian Fjord Horse is a national symbol of Norway and has through the European Convention the right and responsibility to preserve and develop the breed and it's special characteristics. However, Norway recognizes that time is changing and so is the Norwegian Fjord Horses evolving based on the demand and needs. Therefore, Norwegian Fjords come in different shape and sizes. The expectable range as to what is appropriate and desired is specified in the breed standard. There are different breed standards based on each country, but overall the standards are quite compatible.
A Fjord with good or very good breed character is a Fjord that meets the most desired traits within the breed standard. This doesn't mean that a Fjord with good breed character is a better or worse athlete or family horse, but rather that it expresses the unique character of this wonderful breed exceptionally.
A breed registry is an organization whose mission is to document the individuals of a breed, no matter the gender, quality or use. These registries are issuing papers/documents/passports for the horse and record DNA, microchip and keeping track of pedigree.
Breed registries are usually breed specific like in the USA, but in other countries they are combined with other breeds to form a bigger organization with different categories for breeds in a specific region. For example Verband der Pony- und Kleinpferde registries in Germany are specific to an area (Hannover, Hessen, Bayern etc.) and record Fjords as well as most other pony and small horse breeds. This allows them to have more participation in evaluations and licensing shows judged by multibreed judges. These shows are rather held regionally independent instead of breed specific.
In North America there are two big registries, the Norwegian Fjord Horse Registry (NFHR) based in the USA and the Canadian Fjord Horse Association (CFHA) based in Canada. These registries are breed specific and events like evaluations are not regional.
A studbook (or in some countries also mare book) is a book that lists studs that have been approved for breeding and have their breeding license. Of course, only countries that have an approval system also have stud books. Not approved or none breeding stock will never be listed in a stud book. Studs can be listed in multiple stud books as they can get approved for breeding in different countries. That means they do not need to reside in the country they are approved in. However, some countries like Belgium and the Netherlands are issuing an annual breeding license and stallions will have to attend the annual inspection. In some cases there will be a lifetime breeding approval getting issued based on how many licenses have been issued and how many points have been achieved.