Fjord Horse Show gallops into Sandpoint for the first time

By Cameron Barnes
Reader Staff

For the first time in the thirty-year history of the Pacific Northwest Fjord Promotional Group (PNFPG), Sandpoint will host the 29th International Fjord Horse Show this weekend at the Bonner County Fairgrounds.

The three-day show kicks off Friday, Aug. 26 and runs through Sunday, Aug. 28. Events start as early as 8 a.m. but all three days will feature daylong activities.

The show was previously held in Libby, Mont., where the majority of the original members were from but have since moved.

“We’ve had our eye on Sandpoint for a long time now,” said seven-year PNFPG member and chair of this year’s event, Holly Finnoe. “When a spot opened up, I knew we had to take it.”

Ben Finnoe rides a Unicorn hitch during last years event in Libby, Montana. Photo by Sue Wilson.

Ben Finnoe rides a Unicorn hitch during last years event in Libby, Montana. Photo by Sue Wilson.

Forty-seven Fjords are set to perform this weekend of which two are stallions as well as a few colts. Nine of Finnoe’s horses will be making the trip this year largely to help out another PNFPG member, whose recent injury would potentially have set them back five Fjords.

“We’re all very close as members,” said Finnoe. “It’s almost like a family reunion. Sometimes I think I could go to Hawaii, but then I realize that I just love this too much.”

Despite this unfortunate loss, Finnoe said, “It’s been at least five years since we’ve had this many horses enter … this has been a good move to come to Sandpoint.”

If you are unfamiliar with Fjord horses, they originate from the mountainous regions of Norway, and historically were some of the earliest to interact with man. They’re known for their good temperament, and their strength coming from a slightly smaller but stockier physique than their American cousins were used to.

The three day event will showcase 110 various events spanning all styles of equine culture, of which you can be sure you’ll see a healthy mixture of familiar favorites and some that may even surprise you.

Friday morning is set for all single drivers, followed by Honey-do, Unique Hitch, English Pleasure and Equitation. Log Pull, Hunter Hack and Hurry Scurry will take place in the afternoon.

This busy day will wind down  with a presentation by special guest Bernice Ende, who is what you might call the definition of a long rider; her last journey was 8,000 in-saddle miles on a Fjord horse. Many cross-country journeys have been completed since she began in 2002, in total bringing her to roughly 28,000 miles in the saddle.

Saturday will showcase Pairs Driving, Four-in-hand Carriage Driving, Western Equitation and Pleasure, as well as Ridden and Driven Barrel Racing and Pole Bending. In the evening there will be a potluck dinner and live auction at the pavilion by the camping area.

On Sunday there will also be four-in-hand, pairs/singles ridden and driven events but these will have cones and obstacles thrown into the mix. Up for grabs Sunday evening to contestants are the Kelsi Cook Family Horse Award, the Versatile Horse Award, Patty Peterson Perpetual Award for single novice driving and the Senior and Junior Champion Awards.

According to the event website, “a variety of classes will be available for all levels of riders and drivers.”

For more information about event times, check out their website at You may also search for the PNFPG on Facebook. To discuss entering your Fjord horse please contact event chair Holly Finnoe at or call 509-993-6257.

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