The Dole Gudbrandsdal

... and on the eighth day God created the horse in perfect image, to romp, graze, gallop, play and make manure wherever it darn well pleases, in divine grace.

The Dole Gudbrandsdal Horse comes from Norway, from old foundation blood lines, located in the Gudbrandsdal Valley. They are quite possibly linked to old Dutch Friesan Horses, and have similar features to English Dales and Fells Ponies. These breeds may have been descended from the same prehistoric equine stock. (1)

There are two marked types of Dole Horses, the lighter Dole Trotter and the heavier Dole Gudbrandsdal. The two types are usually interbred in modern times.

The foundation stallion of the Dole Gudbrandsdal was named “Brimen,” and many of the present day characteristics of the breed come from him. This horse was used extensively for pack work and agriculture. (2) When machines replaced animal labor, the Dole numbers declined.

However, in 1967, a breed association was established, along with a state breeding center, and this has helped with a population increase.

A “Curing” occurs, and both the Draft type and the Trotter type must undergo grading and testing for conformation, character and performance. The Draft type is judged on its trot and pulling capability. The feet and lower legs are x-rayed and if any weakness show up, the horse cannot be used for breeding purposes. The Trotter type is sent to a racetrack, where it must perform well, or it, too, is disqualified for breeding purposes. (3)

The Dole Trotter bloodline was developed through crossbreeding with several other types of horses.

An English foundation stallion named “Odin,” a Norfolk Trotter-Thoroughbred type, produced very good results. Odin threw a lighter type of horse, with a better quality trotting stride that still retained the powerful hind quarters. Odin can still be seen in his progeny, and his name can be seen on pedigrees. (4)

Other foundation stallions were used to form the Dole breed. “Balder IV,” a grandson of Odin, along with the Arabian stallion, “Mazarin,” and also the stallions “Dovre” and “ Toftebrun.” Dovre is registered and credited as being the recognized foundation stallion at the Dole Trotter Association. (5)

The Dole Trotter has a somewhat larger build than the Dole Gudbrandsdal, and although the two appear similar, the Trotter has a more refined head.

Each has a nice thick mane and tail, and the Trotter has less feathering on the legs and feet; they appear similar to Old-style Morgans, but not as refined. The Trotter is quite noted for its stamina and durability.

As stated, the Dole Gudbrandsdal originates from Norway and comes in at 14.2HH to 15.2HH. They are black, bay or brown in color and are considered a Warmblood. They have a nice social temperament and can be used for draft or pack work.

The Dole Gudbrandsdals have a crested neck and powerful, strong shoulders, and are long on the back. The Draft Dole has shorter legs and very short, thick cannon bones with light feathering.

They are somewhat plain in appearance, but have a very kind eye, and pose nicely squared-up with a straight-bar O-ring bit. Since they are used for draft pulling, a britching is attached to the harness.

More next time.

Leaving you with the immortal words of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, “Happy Trails to You.”

1-5: “The Encyclopedia of Horses and Ponies,” by Tamsin Pickeral