Norwegian Fjords are clearly distinct from other breeds in their appearance, but also — even more importantly — in their temperament and versatility. We are committed to preserving these breed characteristics.
We are also deeply committed to preventing rescue, including not adding to the existing and overwhelming number of horses in rescue. That may seem to be in conflict with breeding at all, but Norwegian Fjords are a very unique breed of horse — when properly bred to existing breed standards, Norwegian Fjord horses meet the demands of people and organizations whose needs absolutely cannot be met by adopting rescue horses. That doesn't mean that Fjords are immune to winding up in rescue — although it's unusual, they can and do — and we take that very seriously.
From over 45 years of animal breeding experience and 35 years of animal rehab and rescue, we can tell you:
• It costs the same to feed a fun, easy, healthy individual as a challenging or difficult or unhealthy individual ... and, invariably, the cost is less to house the cooperative individuals.
• Rescues (and slaughterhouses) are overwhelmingly populated with those challenging and/or difficult and/or unhealthy individuals.
• Many if not most challenging and difficult and unsound individuals produce mostly more of the same. These individuals should not be in the breeding pool.
• Training can make or break a placement, and also future placement prospects for any animal after it leaves its birth home. A good foundation of in-hand training is a vital responsibility of the breeder.
Temperament — Nobody enjoys a fearful or unconfident or dominant (control freak) horse ... including the horse! Our first priority when making breeding choices is to pursue pairings most likely to maintain or improve confidence as well as willingness to be with and do things with humans. A Fjord friend who prioritizes being as gentle and conscientious as desired or required under tack is a priceless gem.
In the case of extraversion / introversion, one person's nightmare can certainly be another's dream horse. As with type (below), we aim for the middle of the spectrum. The complexity of traits that comprise "temperament" is never inherited as a package; avoiding the extremes and aiming for the center means adequate extra / intro variety will result ... something for all human preferences, just not all in the same horse ... and that's a good thing! We humans are not all alike, either.
Type — A Fjord should be a Fjord! The Fjord standard from the mother country Norway has succeeded in producing horses that are sought after. That standard works, and it should be used to provide any Fjord breeder with their essential framework and foundation for selecting horses that fall within breed type.
The North American Fjord standard does recognize a range of body types, from "drafty" to "sporty". Lost Creek Fjords' goal is to aim for the middle of that spectrum. We don't need (or want!) to re-learn the lesson that history has already amply taught — versatility and health are compromised whenever extremes of type are actively pursued.
Talent — As long as the horse is confident and is fully willing to allow the human half of the partnership to define the parameters of mutual activities (temperament first!), there is no such thing as "too athletic" or "too talented"! A Fjord friend capable of expanding, not limiting, the horizons of the human part of the equation is an amazing opportunity for anyone — truly a lifelong equine partner to grow and learn with.
To come full circle, all the talent in the world is useless (or even dangerous) in a horse who is fearful, unconfident, or dominant (a control freak). Breeding for temperament first means a horse's innate talent can be expressed and actualized.