Owner: Palana Stud Fjord Horses (Kerrie Prescott)
Breeder: Joy van Raalte (no longer breeding)
Location: Emita, Flinders Island, Tasmania
Country of origin: Australia
Sire: Naustdal (Imp) APSB 8341 (dec)
Dam: Danielle (Imp) APSB 33160
Sire of Dam: Fordin (Holland)
Date of birth: 11 / 6 / 1988
Height (at date of measure): 13.2 hands
Colour: Brown Dun
Our first and still premium Fjord, Inga, chose us to be her humans as a yearling in the paddock in South Australia where she was born. She was a gawky 18 month old filly with slightly pigeon toes when she came up to Townsville, North Queensland. This soon righted itself as she matured and continued to grow for the next four or five years.
She was broken in at 3 years old by a local breaker, who exclaimed “what a bonnie mare” when he looked in the float door. Col broke “Bonnie” to saddle and harness in three weeks and left the training to me. After our ex-pacers, Inga was a surprise; sure-footed, with no concept of humans’ personal space, strong-willed and with the personality of a pushy teenager. We had to learn a completely different way of interacting with a horse – one simply cannot push that short-necked solid lump of muscle around if she had a different view of the situation. Not that she really disagreed with us, just wanted us to be definite in our requests.
Since Inga was the first Fjord in North Queensland (at that time there were only about 40 Fjords in Australia), I would provide judges at shows with a copy of the Breed Standard. Inga is a good example of the “middle of the road” type of Fjord, as opposed to the heavy draft type or taller modern riding type. She is versatile and can do almost any equestrian activity she puts her mind to.
Inga was very excited at her first show – a small breed show north of Townsville. But after the first “in – trot round – line up – get blue ribbon around neck”, she got the hang of it easily and would stand waiting for the ribbon and admiring pat from the judge.
We attended local agricultural shows which held harness classes, including Townsville, Charters Towers and trips to Mareeba and Rockhampton for APSB shows. Led classes held no interest in themselves, although on a number of occasions, she was strongly considered in the line-up for Supreme Led Mare of Show. However, winning Champion Harness Horse or Pony was generally the goal. The year that David trained and campaigned her, Inga won every harness event she entered and looked superb for the led classes.
Inga has been used in all harness club events including shows, bush drives, treasure hunts, “come and try” and training days, Combined drives, as well as giving rides to kids at public events. She also carried me on a 7 day ride on the national Trial west of Townsville. When loading the groups’ horses onto the truck to take us to Hidden Valley, there were scathing remarks about bringing a pony (Inga is 13.2 hh) on such a rugged ride. It was soon obvious that not only could she keep up with the bigger horses, she did not tire over the week but became fitter, didn’t get foot-sore or fussy about feed and was easy around camp (in hobbles or night-line). So I took the comment from the stockmen at the end of the week that “she’s a useful sort of pony” to be quite a compliment.
Our biggest adventure was a two week unaccompanied trek on the Bicentenniel National Trail in 1998, when Inga pulled our heavily-laden sulky and her half-sister Loreli carried the packsaddle from the Burdekin Dam to Collinsville through rugged, drought-ravaged country. Both horses toughened up very quickly and thrived on the travel routine, working steadily all day whatever the terrain and grazing in the afternoons.
I thought my admiration for this big-hearted little horse couldn’t grow any more. But I have seen her stand patiently while children (and prams) at the Brisbane ‘Ekka’ crowded around for a pat of the pony with the ‘punk hairdo’, and seen her gently discipline boisterous young colts in the paddock. She retains her alpha mare status without any aggression but obviously with will-power. Her face is expressive to me, so it must be very much so for her equine family.
At 18 years old, Inga attended Pony Club briefly. She enjoyed the outing and cuddles from all the girls, but wasn’t too keen on the jumping. She was clearly saying “I am a HARNESS horse; I do not jump and I do not canter … except in bending races, which is like cones driving!”
Among her busy schedule of fun, Inga has had one filly by Ferdinand (Imp) and two colts and two fillies by Palana Tyson. Her first colt, Palana Ace High won Champion Fjord at the Qld APSB stud show at 5 months old and has similar conformation and temperament to Inga and has been worthy of registration as a Stallion.
Now 28 years old and living a life of semi-retirement in Tasmania, Inga gives weekly riding lessons to neighbour children, pulls the buggy at the local Show, enjoys the occasional trail ride or swim at the beach in summer and generally oversees the discipline and maintenance (i.e. feeding) of the horses at Palana Stud.
Inga has been an excellent ambassador for the Fjord breed, showing true versatility, kindness and a huge personality.