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  • Writer's pictureFran Cleland

Fjords stand out from a crowd for both looks and temperament

Updated: Feb 8, 2023

ABOVE: Brenda Renison and Odessa share a moment.

BRENDA Renison and her Fjord pony, Irene, attract attention whenever they go to competitions.

Irene, pedigree name Gronengs Irene, is a magnet for admirers. On the sidelines at dressage and showing classes the golden pony with her vertical mane, people come to chat.

“Wherever we go, Irene always draws people to her wanting to know more of this breed and their amazing temperament,” Brenda said. “Kids just wanting to pat her and feed her treats.”

Brenda has four Fjords. She fell in love with the breed many years ago when there was a fire in Kinglake in Victoria and her family opened up their property for people to bring their horses to a safe area.

“Sharon Smith arrived with three beautiful horses; a breed I had never seen before. You could say I was smitten with them as soon as I saw them. This started my dream of one day owning one for myself,” she said.

It was many years until her dream came true and Brenda purchased her first Fjord, a big boy, Seaview Park Charley home named Thor, who now lives in semi-retirement at their property.

Thor and his rider competed in showing, dressage, jumping and combined driving.

“I discovered this breed is amazing to work with,” she said. “They are highly intelligent and always eager to please you.”

Thor was followed by a beautiful yearling filly named Odessa, who is now being introduced to being ridden, and then, Gronengs Irene.

“Irene is really showing everyone how versatile this wonderful breed is as I keep introducing her to new challenges that she does for me no matter what I throw at her, consistently placing in dressage competitions,” Brenda said.

ABOVE: The Fjord's distinctive dorsal stripe.

It’s more than 40 years since the Van Raalte family imported two Fjord stallions and six mares into South Australia, the start of Fjord breeding in Australia. There are more than 1000 followers now on their Australian Facebook page.

Apart from the Fjord’s distinctive appearance the one thing people chatting to Brenda about Irene always ask about is the vertical mane.

“The mane does have to be maintained with regular trimming to keep with the traditional look,” she said. “And it does have to trimmed in the traditional way for showing. The black stripe through the mane goes all the way along their back to their tail because they have the dorsal stripe. They do grow a normal, if bushy, mane if it’s let grow.”

It's obvious Brenda has fallen under the spell of this charming breed.

“I could go on forever about these guys as they really are amazing and you can't help but love them,” she said.

“I have passed my love of this breed to my daughter Melanie who now has her own beautiful Fjord mare called Sweetie who has just gone under saddle and proving again how wonderful their temperament is to work with.

“I treasure these moments that I share with my daughter and our love for this breed.

“I would definitely recommend this breed, with their beautiful temperament and just working with them either on the ground or under saddle.”

ABOVE: Irene has proved herself to be quite the allrounder.

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