Horse Isle 3: Big Book of Breeds
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Big Book of Breeds
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[ INDEX ] Equine Type: Horse Breed: North Swedish Horse (North Swedish)   [ PREV ] [ NEXT ]
The North Swedish is one of the two coldblood breeds who not only serve for draft work, but also excel in trotting (the other breed being the Dole.)

The North Swedish Horse was created at the very end of the 19th century, when various breeds of various types were crossed with Swedish horses or with other Scandinavian horses. Starting from the 20th century, the practice of crossbreeding ceased, and the North Swedish Horse was bred in a pure manner. In 1909, the official studbook was founded, followed by the establishment of the North Swedish Association in 1924.

Originally, North Swedish horses were bred to serve as draft horses for farm and forestry work. However, breeders also noticed the impressive trotting ability of their horses, and some breeders started to breed their horses for their trotting ability rather than for their performance as draft horses.

Eventually, two types of North Swedish Horses were created: a heavy subtype called 'North Swedish Farm Horse' which is suitable for heavy draft work, and a lighter subtype called 'North Swedish Trotter' which is suitable for harness racing as well as for driving events. Despite both being considered as North Swedish Horses, each of these subtypes has a separate studbook, and crossbreeding is not allowed. Both of these subtypes are still bred in Sweden, with the North Swedish Trotter being more common of the two.

When it comes to breeding, the North Swedish Horse is one of the breeds who have the strictest selection process in the world. First, horses undergo a comprehensive veterinary check, which includes X-rays of the legs, dental checks, and more. Second, the conformation of the horses is evaluated. Third, the horses undergo genetic tests to rule out a wide variety of genetic diseases. Fourth, their movement is evaluated during halter tests. Then, their performance as driving horses, or their ability to pull a cart loaded with 900kg of cargo (depends on the subtype,) is also evaluated. During the testing process, the temperament of each horse is evaluated as well, and only horses who have a calm and cooperative temperament are allowed to breed. Finally, the fertility of both mares and stallions is tracked over time, and only the most fertile horses are allowed to continue in the breeding program.

North Swedish Horses come primarily in the colors of brown, bay, and black, but in rare cases they can also be chestnut or grey. In addition, they often have a mealy coat. North Swedish Horses can also be buckskin, palomino, or smoky-black. However, note that double-cream dilutes are not acceptable in this breed, because the North Swedish Association doesn't recognize them and doesn't approve such horses for breeding. Therefore, it is not recommended to cross two horses who are heterozygous for cream (Cc). North Swedish Horses stand between 14.1hh and 16.1hh, with North Swedish Farm Horses standing between 14.1hh and 15.3hh, and North Swedish Trotters standing between 14.1hh and 16.1hh.


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