That is very hard, as the breeds vary greatly from horse to horse. One Fjord may be very stocky, one may be lean and refined. They are both really quite similar, except Fjords are usually pretty stocky and compact while Haflingers can be quite refined. Haflingers also have more hair than Fjords do, so if you live in a muddy place or don't have time for hair-upkeep, look into some Fjords.
But really, I have limited experience with both breeds, so don't take my comparisons to heart.
aahhhhhhhhhh...........i see i need to be more precise in my questioning...........
i am looking for more of a personality/charcteristics comparison than appearances..........
i love the stocky/drafty look of both.....both are super gorgeous.........although i was unaware of the differences in coat length.............i am aware of the unique manes........
i had a hafie for a trail horse.......loved her size at 13.2, loved the color/looks......her personality ......but lost her to colic.......rescued another that seems to have shoulder issues that will not resolve, and she can only be used for lead line ......
so, i am now debating, having read a bit about fjords, whether to stick with hafies or check out fjords..........
all i want is a safe,sane, short trail horse, and i adore the stocky.drafty builds of these 2 breeds, and they are both equally gorgeous.........
just looking for some first-hand comparisons, if possible
Love both dearly...couldn't decide between the two. Sometimes I think the temperament and personality of the horse that is in front of you should be your deciding factor. Also, the conformation and height of the individual horse.
I have seen more Fjords in local sport and dressage shows than haffies - so maybe the more "refined" build makes a difference? But in areas with more haffies - that might be the opposite.
I wouldn't say the Haffie has more hair than the Fjord. The Fjord at our barn gets clipped year round because he get so hot and the Haflinger does not. So it may vary!
I admit that I have a bias as a Fjord breeder, but I have run into Haffies at shows as well as have had my Fjords called Haffies more times than I can count.
My experience based on the Haffies I have seen at shows is that Haffies are hotter than Fjords. I have known exactly two Fjords who I consider hot, but I also think their lack of training contributed greatly to their behavior. I've found Fjords to be very steady and trainable. My horses compete in dressage, eventing and driving. My stallion is so quiet at shows that people are stunned to learn he is a breeding stallion with 20+ foals on the ground.
That being said, I completely agree that it's all about the individual animal. Both Haffies and Fjords can make safe and sane trail horses. As Justa Bob said, time to go shopping!
I've known a handful of each. The Haffies can have more of a mischievous pony attitude... A little "make me!" in a pony sorta way, while the Fjords who say "make me" do it with a bit of the "good luck, sucker" thrown in. Either would happily drag you on the end of a longe line toward a bit of grass. Ether might stand like a rock while a swarm of little girls brushes them. Both have been great therapeutic riding horses, when they were in the mood. Both have actually been happier driving than being ridden. In our context, we've been offered some of both breeds with less than ideal conformation (if it looks like a dachshund, walk away fast!) and the associated soundness issues. Both may need separate turnout to guard against obesity.
If someone told me I could pick one for therapeutic riding,I'd probably go with the Fjord because I think they have a better tolerance for tedium. If a family asked which they should get for a kids/family horse, I'd probably say the Haflinger because they're more "fun" for kids.
My sample size is small (2 Fjords, 3 Haffies), but I agree that the Fjords I've ridden have a bit less pony attitude than the Haffie. Handled a Haffie at the therapeutic barn I volunteered at, and she got to be a bit of a pain with her attitude. Have loved the 2 Fjords I've been able to ride, they both were wonderful novice lesson horses. But this probably has so much to with handling and environment.
Last edited by Natalie A; Nov. 22, 2012 at 06:36 PM.
This is my Fjord mare...she was a lovely girl. I'd call her name, she'd come running up squealing and would put her head on my shoulder for a scratch. What a lovely thing she was....sadly, she hated being a driving horse. She went to California to be a dressage pony and mom.
My sample size is tiny, too - four haffies and one fjord. I've only driven, never ridden, either breed.
The fjord was an enthusiastic little go-getter who was tons of fun to drive - but you'd better be ready to go!
The haffies had attitudes more like ponies, only with the weight to back up the pony-tude. Also fun, but if I got to pick and could find a fjord like the one I drove - no freakin' contest. Fjord wins hooves down.
I've heard the fjords have more of a mule temperament rather than a horse or pony. I don't know though, I've only really known two and they were like chalk and cheese. One was sweet and a hard worker and the other would work until she thought differently and then she'd quit on you.
The haffie my neighbor has is a nasty little witch. The woman spends more time getting bucked off than she does riding.
I love haffies, but came to learn the hard way that they are prone to early arthritis. I had to retire my girl at age 8 and talked to lots of folks with similar stories. I'm not sure if it was just certain bloodlines, or the draftier individuals. I would love to have another haffie if it weren't for that.
One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well. - Virginia Woolf
Due to the "rapid popularity" of both breeds and good marketing on both breeds parts, I'd say that there are equal amounts of good and bad in both breeds.
If purchased from known bloodlines and someone who knows what they're doing (that doesn't have to mean a big breeder) I think they're very similar in what their temperaments are SUPPOSE to be. I know that some Fjords have been bred to be "sporty" (see Ironwood Farms lovely horses) but I THINK that breed standard for a Fjord IS for an all round heavy built small horse (chime in here anytime I.F. ). A Haflinger by breed standard is actually suppose to be a small all round (by English standards) horse, NOT the draft pony that we have bred them to be in the U.S.
From the Haflinger breed standard:
Type : A desirable appearance of the horse is one of elegance and harmony. To this belongs a lean and expressive head with large eyes, well formed neck and supple mid-section, a good croup not too divided and not too short, a distinct musculature as well as correct, defined limbs with good joints. Stallions and mares for breeding should have clearly defined masculine or feminine features.
Undesirable is in particular a stout, plump non athletic appearance, a coarse head, unclear contours, undefined joints, and coarse limbs as well as a lack of defined masculine or feminine features.
Body structure: A harmonious body structure that is suitable for all-round pleasure horse
We own a drafty little Haffie gelding who is very much a pony. Sweet for the most part, stuborn undersaddle and SMART, SMART, SMART! Our very well bred mare on the other hand is everything the breed is suppose to be, very much a little horse with a great temperament. We've owned several Haffies and only our questionably bred gelding has had a "pony" temperament.
There are very few Fjords (or Haffies) in Idaho and most, of both breeds, are cute pony types with pony-ish temperaments. The Haffies that I've met ARE hotter (but still pretty dang cold!), the Fjords more stubborn. The Haffies have more of a tendency to be naughty,bucking, spooking ponies, the Fjords don't move, don't steer, or "run off" with their owners at a walk.
I think you can get good or bad in either breed, go with the individual in front of you or which color you prefer. As for hair I think they're about equally hairy other than Haffies are SUPOSSE to have long manes. We clip our Haffie gelding like a Fjord and pull our mare's mane like a Sport Horse. We don't have any Haflinger shows so I do what I like.
"It's never too late to be what you might have been." George Eliot
Better yet is this lyrical description for the Norwegians about the Fjord Horse:
"The eyes should be like the mountain lakes on a midsummer evening, big and bright. A bold bearing of the neck like a lad from the mountains on his way to his beloved. Well-defined withers like the contours of the mountains set against
an evening sky. The temperament as lively as a waterfall in spring, and still good-natured."
That's kind of hard to evaluate, but it sounds great doesn't it?
The breed standard actually allows for both the draftier and sporty (i.e. less drafty) type Fjords. I've been to many Fjord evaluations and have seen both types do well in conformation tests. The breed is focused in versatility in driving, riding and draft performance and I've seen both types do well in performance, too. The Europeans seem to be moving toward the sportier type. Still it's a bit like splitting hairs since Fjords are a light draft breed that are 13.2 to 14.2 in size. The registry does not allow any crossbreeding, so the degree of refinement is never going to be that big. In fact, a light boned refined Fjord will get poor marks at an evaluation.