Horse breeds under threat

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Norwegian horse breeds including the blonde horses known as the fjording are under threat, claims a local researcher, because there’s simply not enough of them.

The future of some traditional Norwegian horse breeds is under threat, warns a researcher at UMB. PHOTO: Views and News

Hanne Gjerdingby Olsen of Norway’s main agricultural school now known as the University of Life Sciences in Ås (Universitetet for miljø- og biovitenskap, UMB, in Norwegian), says changes in the development and management of breeding techniques and more marketing efforts are needed to prevent the Norwegian races such as the fjording, nordlandshest and dølehest from dying out.

Olsen told the Norwegian research web site forskning.no recently that the fourth traditional Norwegian breed, the norsk kaldblodstraver, is holding up well because it’s used in the sport of trotting and the number of such horses is relatively large in relation to the other breeds.

Growth of the three other breeds “is now so small, in already small races, that there’s a danger some of them will disappear in the near future,” said Olsen, who has studied the breeding management issue in her doctoral thesis at UMB.

She noted that the number of horses and persons working with horses in Norway is growing along with interest in sports involving horses, but she warns that doesn’t automatically protect the Norwegian breeds. The market, she said, is “flooded” with imported horse breeds and it’s difficult for the national breeds to compete without more marketing and promotion of the various horses’ qualities and potential uses.

Views and News staff