The Dole Gudbrandsdal
is a draft horse that stands around 14.2-15.2 hands high. It can
vary in colors from black, brown, and bay, with luxurious dark brown
or black manes and tails.
The National Dolehorse
Association was founded in 1967.The foundations of the breed, originated
in the Gudbrandsdal Valley in Norway, are ancient and probably descended
from Dutch Friesian horses. These horses are somewhat similar to
the native British Fells and Dales and it is likely that they all
came from the same stock. There are two main types of the Dole horse-
the heavier Dole Gudbrandsal and the lighter Dole trotter, although
today they are interbred quite commonly. The Dole Gudbrandsdal got
most of its current characteristics from a stallion called Brimen.
They are usually used for agricultural and pack work. With mechanization
advancing, the number of these horses began to decline, but with
the establishment of their breeding center, they started to
increase in number again.
Both types of Dole horse
have to undergo tests and grading and the heavier Dole is judged
on its pulling power and trot. The lower legs and feet are
x-rayed to determine any weaknesses that would prevent the horse
from being used for breeding purposes. The lighter horses, the Dole
Trotters, have to have performed well on the racetrack to be used
for breeding purposes. The trotting strain of the Doles developed
through experimentation through different breed crosses. One of
the most successful ones involved an English horse named Odin, who
had been described as both a Thoroughbred and a Norfolk Trotter.
Odin produced a lighter
type of horse with a better trot stride that maintained the power
of the hindquarters. Odin is in all modern Dole pedigrees. Other
stallions to influence the trotter were Balder, the grandson of
Odin, the Arabian Mazarin, Toftebrun and Dovre, who is registered
as being the foundation sire of the Dole Trotter. The Dole Trotter
is a little bit larger than the heavier Dole Gudbrandsdal and has
a more refined head, but the types are similar in many ways. Typically,
the Dole breeds have a crested neck with strong, powerful shoulders
and hindquarters, with the inclination of a long back. The heavier
Dole has short legs with short, dense cannon bones with moderate
feathering. The Dole Trotter is noted for its stamina and endurance.
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