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. A portion of our sales is donated to Fjord rescue.
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 and easy individual as it costs to feed a challenging or difficult individual ... and, invariably, the cost is less to house the cooperative individuals.
• It costs more, a lot more, to feed unhealthy individuals
• Rescues (and slaughterhouses) are overwhelmingly populated with those challenging and/or difficult and/or unhealthy individuals.
• Many if not most of the 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 should it be necessary to sell that horse again 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 Fjord spectrum, which means a "left brain introvert", but not radically so. 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 organically ... 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 and evaluating their breeding stock and production.
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, with emphasis on functionality. We don't need (or want!) to re-learn the lessons that history has already amply taught — versatility and health are compromised whenever extremes of type are actively pursued ... and although "stunning looks" are overwhelmingly attractive at first, capability is more valuable (and most truly beautiful) in the end.
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 long-term equine partner to grow and learn with.
Our primary measure of talent is quality, ease, and harmony of movement. Ideal movement tells us that conformation and physiology are working together successfully for balance, versatility, and soundness over a lifetime. Unlike some animal breeders who also focus on movement, we do not consider unnatural or eye-catching extremes of movement to be good in any species, but rather an indicator that something is out of harmony with the whole.
All the talent in the world is useless (or even dangerous) in a horse who is fearful, unconfident, or dominant. Breeding for temperament first means a horse's innate talent can be expressed and actualized.
We're not big breeders ... we've always been small and we're headed for MICRO
We can't provide a selection of pedigrees or colors or many foals at once. Time is finite for everyone; we make different choices for our time than some. Our broodmare numbers are low (two going on one ... at least for awhile). We don't own a stallion. We breed infrequently, not every year. We take the time it takes with each foal according to his or her needs, including a longer retention time post-weaning for both healthy herd socialization and getting those all-important foundation skills totally solid.
It takes quality time to raise a solid young Fjord citizen. We enjoy providing that time personally, right down to providing all basic training, hoof care, and trail outings. Matching our few Fjords up with their people is what makes the effort to breed worthwhile at all — for us.