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Fjord Horse International's mission is to host an international forum of member countries around the world

 

On this page you will find articles about breeding, use and regulations in the different countries where the beautiful Fjord Horse lives.

Nordic championships in Sweden

Svenska Fjordhästforeningen and Fjord Horse International has decided to cancel the Nordic championships in Sweden in 2021 due to the covid-19 situation.

We are very sorry to announce that it is necessary to cancel the Nordic championships in 2021. As we see it, the restrictions according to covid-19 makes it irresponsible to gather athletes from across the borders in the situation we find ourselves in. We know that many of you have horses in peak performance and on top of its career and that every year is of great importance. It is therefore sad to make this decision. However, we must act responsible and we ask for your understanding.

The date and location of the next Nordic championship will be announced as soon as it is decided.

For Fjord Horse International
Jenny Wright Johnsen

A study on inbreeding in the Fjord horse population in Norway and Sweden has been undertaken. Conventional calculation from pedigree information and the use of DNA to examine long homozygous chromosomal segments to calculate inbreeding has both been used and compared.

Abstract from the paper of inbreeding of Norwegian and Swedish Fjord horses
by Nils Ivar Dolvik

The paper is called :

Segment-based coancestry, additive relationship and genetic variance within and between the Norwegian and the Swedish Fjord horse populations.

By: Hanne Fjerdingby Olsen, Saija Tenhunena, Nils Ivar Dolvik, Dag Inge Våge
and Gunnar Klemetsdal

You can find the whole paper on this LINK

The Fjord horse originates from Norway but forms a global population due to several small populations in foreign countries. There exists no information about the additive relationship and the genetic variance between these subpopulations. By collecting blood samples from Norwegian and Swedish Fjord horses, a sample of 311 Norwegian and 102 Swedish horses gave 485,918 SNPs available for analysis. Their inbreeding coefficients were calculated and compared to the pairwise coancestry and the shared genomic segments.
The study showed that coancestry from shared genomic segments can be used to estimate additive genetic relationship and genetic variation within and between the global populations of the Fjord horse.
The Fjord horse population in Norway has had a steady increase in the average inbreeding coefficient since the start of the studbook in 1857 (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Average coefficient of inbreeding (F) per birth year and number of animals in the pedigree per birth year
for the Norwegian Fjord horse population over the period 1857–2016

Figure 1

In the period after 1990, the rate of inbreeding flattens out giving an average inbreeding of around 7%. Also, in the same period after 1990, the annual number of registered foals in Norway has been dropping quite drastically to below 100.
The steep increase in the number of animals around 1990 was due to a shift in registration rules opening for all born horses to become registered, otherwise the population has been slowly built up after the major change in the production of horses after World War 2. In the Swedish Fjord horse studbook, too many individuals lacked information of birth year to be able to calculate the average inbreeding coefficient per year in a reliable way or displaying the number of foals registered per year. The birth years of the test animals contributing to genotyping data have a time span of 28 years in the Norwegian population and 31 years in the Swedish population (Figure 2).

Figure 2. The age distribution of the animals contributing with genotype data (recorded December 2015 to March 2016),
shown through the number of animals born per year in the Norwegian (N = 311) and the Swedish Fjord horse populations (N = 102).

Figure 2

There is a natural decrease in the presence of the eldest birth years in both populations, and around 80% of the test animals are born in the period 1999–2016. However, except for some of the earliest years, all years were present in the test material of both populations. Due to practical and economic reasons regarding the collection of blood samples, there were over three times as many genotyped animals from the Norwegian population than from the Swedish (Table 1). Both populations had a complete generation equivalent (the average number of generations with known pedigree for individuals calculated with genomic data) as high as around 12, but the Norwegian population turned over generations faster, with a generation interval of 9.1 years, versus 11.6 years in Sweden (Table 1).

Table 1. Number of Norwegian (NOR) and Swedish (SWE) individuals passing the genotype tests (reference population)
and their estimated complete generation equivalent and generation interval per population.

 

Norway

Sweden

Number of animals

311

102

Number of generations in the data

12.7

11.6

Generation interval

9.1

11.6

Calculated from a subset of the genotyped horses (224 NOR and 103 SWE).

The inbreeding coefficients from the pedigree information were 7.7 % in the Norwegian population, and with the highest occurrence of individual inbreeding coefficient of 19%. Whereas the Swedish population had an average level of inbreeding from pedigree information of 5.2%.
In both populations, the level of inbreeding from genomic calculations was more than twice than from pedigree, 14.1 in the Norwegian population and 11.9 in the Swedish population. This means that the normal used calculation of inbreeding based on known ancestors here called pedigree information seems to be too low. We know from earlier research that one loose pedigree information when horses are sold abroad or are imported. One cannot follow the relatives back to the day they left Norway. Missing pedigree information leads to that horses which are relatives is looked upon as totally unrelated.

The average genomic relationship between the Norwegian and Swedish population was 11.5 %.
The effective population size calculated from pedigree information with confidence limits was 71 (70-72) in the Norwegian population and 269 (259-279) in the Swedish population, in harmony with the high fraction of immigration in Sweden.
The effective population size from genomic calculations was 63 (57-72) in the Norwegian population and 1136 (119-∞) in the Swedish population. The calculations of the effective population size based on genomic data in Sweden was not possible to estimate, it went towards infinity. The explanation for this is that the number of horses was too low and one need about 250–300 horses to make the calculation possible.
For both the Norwegian and Swedish horses together the effective population size based on genomic calculations were 87 (range: 77–100), somewhat increased compared to the estimate of the effective population size relative to the Norwegian alone.

Generally, the effective population size (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effective_population_size) is a more robust and important way to estimate how the inbreeding will develop in a population. If the effective population size is less than 50 it is critical. Across the two examined populations, the effective population size was within the recommended size of 50–100, but with respect to the steadily reduced population size, it seems reasonable to recommend a future effective population size in a long-term perspective closer to or above 100. 

When considering both populations, the effective population size increases to 87 (77–100) from the one for the Norwegian population. This indicates that combining the two populations adds genetic variation, which is an important result.

Other Fjord horse populations probably possess additional genetic variation, for example, the population of Fjord horses in North America that has a Norwegian origin. Uniting the global population of the Fjord horse is a unique possibility to manage the genetic resources in a sustainable way for the future, and the use of genetic markers will be a powerful tool to both gain knowledge both about the relationship between the subpopulations, serving a basis for joint genetic evaluation, but also in management of the entire genetic variation across the subpopulations. At the same time, such a process represents a considerable political challenge, since there is currently no joint common breeding goal for the international Fjord horse, as not all countries follows the general goal in the handbook, likely because it is too general in practical breeding situations.

Conclusions:
1. The estimated inbreeding is the double using genetic methods, showing that the pedigree information in our populations are not complete.
2. Effective population size is low, but not critical.
3. Mixing our two population increases the effective population size compared to the Norwegian alone, from 63 to 87.
4. The genomic relationship between populations are possible to calculate.
5. By sampling DNA from 250-300 horses one can be able to find the same result from any population.

PRINT VERSION OF THIS ABSTRACT : CLICK HERE

 

International news and invitations

At this end of March, the Easter days are already behind us and we like to bring a resume of some news, found for you. Daily news is often posted on our facebook page and some articles already found a place on our website. Below some more info out of the Fjord horse world and if you have something interesting to add from your association, don't hesitate to send it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Welcome to new members : (click on the country to open their website)
Australia
Canada
Denmark

Invitations for Clinics and Education courses :
France : Education Journey on 9th April. More info on their homepage : click here
US, Montana : Pre-Evaluation Clinic and NFHR Evaluation on June 4th and 5th. More info on their FB
Netherlands : Dressage Clinic on 18th June. More info on their FB

Articles :
Loxahatchee, Florida – March 28th
This is a must : read the article by Ilana Cremer for PS Dressage, about Lauren Chumley and her Fjord horses. Follow the link : PS Dressage;com

Germany, Bodensee – Horse Fair
After the nice pictures we published earlier, now a splendid video!
View it here

Sweden, Eurohorse 2016
Congratulations to all participants on this important fair.
More pictures in our gallery, follow the link. (search for 2016Eurohorse)

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12th – 14th February in Neumünster, Schleswig Holstein - Germany
3 Fjord Stallions are on the list. Körung is at Holstenhallen.
Start Friday 12th 8.00 in the morning. Soundness and correctness on hard underground. Fjords are the first.
It continues for the fjords on Saturday around 10 in the morning, free jumping running.
End will be around 16.00 in the afternoon.

Spring licensing, organized by VPPH (Verband der Pony und Pferdezüchter Hessen)
Open for young Fjord horse stallions

And our IGF will organize a breeding show on 9th and 10th July in Odenthal (Nordrhein -Westfalen)
Stallions I think will be possible but it is at the moment too early to say.
Jochen – Susanne

 

12th March 2016 - 9 AM - Woumen (Diksmuide) - Belgium
1 y and 2 y old male foals
Veterinary exam and evaluation info for the breeder

3 y old stallions
Veterinary exam – Model and movement evaluation – Indoor obedience driving test

4 y old stallions
Veterinary exam – Model and movement evaluation – Driving test partly indoor, partly outdoor

5 y old stallions
Veterinary exam – Model and movement evaluation – Indoor riding test

 

2nd April 2016 – 9 AM – Hoenderloo - Netherlands
Stallion tests the same day.
1 y old male foals
Veterinary report – Expertise and possible breeding premium.

2 y old stallions
Veterinary report – Expertise for registration in the studbook and possible breeding license.

3 y and older stallions
Veterinary report – Expertise for registration in the studbook and possible breeding license. A good result in tests is necessary to obtain the license.
Maureen van Bon

3rd – 7th May in Nordfjordeid - Norway
Tuesday 3rd May
Arrival of the 4- and 5 y old stallions for the performance tests in Norsk Fjordhestsenter
Veterinary exams for the stallions in Norsk Fjordhestsenter
Information meeting about the performance tests in Norsk Fjordhestsenter

Wednesday 04th May
Further performance tests with loose jumping and riding tests in Norsk Fjordhestsenter

Thursday 05th May
Driving tests in Norsk Fjordhestsenter
Veterinary exams
Free movements

Friday 06th May
Stallion presentations in hand on the show ring Utstillingsplassen/Øyane
Individual evaluations and driving tests
Public evaluation

Saturday 07th May
Evaluation in class groups on the show ring Utstillingsplassen/Øyane
Results stallion show, quality placements, premiering on Utstillingsplassen/Øyane

4th -7th August 2016 - at Vilhelmsborg - Danmark
on occasion of the Jubilee 75 Years Studbook
Breed:
Fjordhesten Danmark's stallion evaluation for 2-years, 3-years, 4-years and older stallions.

20 – 21th August 2016 – Bozeman – Montana - USA
The NFHR does not offer a sanctioned only stallion show.
Our NFHR Evaluations are for stallions, mares, geldings and young stock all at the same Evaluations (shows).
Usually we offer two sanctioned Evaluations each year in various areas of the USA, however in 2016 we are offering only one.
Bob Long

1st – 5th September 2016 – Armstrong British Columbia - Canada
There are no stallion Evaluations in Canada that I am aware of, but a local fair show is organized that has some 20 driving classes and six halter classes.
Interior Provincial Exhibition
Driving Classes for Fjord Singles, Pairs, Unicorn and Fours plus six halter classes.
Brian Jensen

10th – 11th September 2016 – at Vetlanda - Sweden
on occasion of the Jubilee 55 Years Studbook
The performance tests will be held the same day, and the stallions can be shown ridden and/or driven.
Parallel to the stallion show we will have the test for all three year old fjord horses, and they will be shown in hand, loose and jumping loose.

At the 11th of September we will have the national show for all ages of fjord horses, and then we will celebrate the organization is 55 years old this year.
Helena

September / October 2016 (exact date will follow) – Hungary
We plan to have a show and judgement for fjord mares and stallions at our central judgement.
Every 4 years there are central judgement for all licensed fjord stallion for re-examination.
For the next one which will be in 2018 I would like to invite the members of the international breeding organisation.
Zoltán Németh

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A project is running to organize the 4th edition of the European Championships in August 2016, on occasion of the Jubilee in Danmark, Vilhelmsborg.
The Fjord Horse International board, assisted by some experts, are working hard to finish common regulations to be applied at the next European Championships for fjord horses. As soon as a draft will be finished, it will be sent to all member countries to be commented on.

The Danish studbook is announcing : "A studbook can have many yearly highlights but years with a jubilee are something very special. Next year August 4th-7th will be a very special time in Denmark. The reason is that the Danish studbook celebrates that 75 years have gone since our first printed studbook was published. In 1931 the Small farmers Association (at that time the Fjord Horses were working horses) decided to organize the breeding and rules for conformations were made. 10 years later 50 breeding stallions and 304 mares were evaluated and the results were published. Jubilees have been celebrated in 1991, 2001, 2006 (a very big one) and 2011 (a very small one).
Our plans for the 2016-jubilee will include both breeding and sport, among other things we hope to be able to host the fourth European Championship for Fjord Horses. We hosted the first in 2006 (in 2009 and 2012 the EC was held in Germany).

The jubilee will take place at Vilhelmsborg,  easy to access and close to Denmark's second largest city Aarhus." 

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