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August 06, 2008 | | Comments 0

The Canadian Horse

The Canadian Horse

The Canadian Horse: The Little Iron Horse

The Canadian Horse is popularly and affectionately called the little iron horse. Based on the history of the breed, it has truly come to deserve the title.

Canada’s Own

The ancestors of the Canadian Horse were not native to North America. They were actually shipped there by Louis XIV of France in 1665. The shipment of horses most likely contained mixed breeds. It is largely believed though that they were predominantly of Arabian and Andalusian stocks. Although the French monarch retained ownership of the horses for a period of time, their care and breeding were entrusted to the local farmers. Due to difficult circumstances and terrain, the horses were primarily mated with each other. For a period of time, the original Canadian Horses did not influence nor received external influence from other breeds.

After several decades however, the Canadian Horses were able to find their way outside of their region of origin. They were either shipped to plantations in the Indies or to the U.S. to be used as military horses. Continuous shipments as well as gradual changes in agricultural practices led to the dilution of the breed bloodline. For some time, the Canadian horse was about to go extinct and until now holds a critical status.

It was because of a desire to preserve the original Canadian Horse bloodline that efforts were renewed to promote breeding. In the late 1800s an association was formed and a stud book was opened for the Canadian Horse. The early 1900s ushered a new era for the Canadian Horses when a breeding program was established. Although the official breeding program was discontinued for a time, modern breeders continue to work towards the preservation of this breed.

Canadian Horse Characteristics

Like its Arabian and Andalusian ancestors, the Canadian Horse is a refined and elegant breed. It has a lean head with large eyes and small but sensitive ears. Its wide-based, arched neck sits on sloping shoulders, a broad and muscular body and long legs. It has a characteristic generous and wavy tail. At a little over a thousand pounds it stands tall at a maximum of 16 hands. Many Canadian Horses are black which adds to their elegant appeal.

It is because of the hardy nature of this horse breed that it has come to be known as an iron horse. It has survived the difficult climate and terrain conditions of 17th century Canada and today continues to thrive despite the threat to its population. Despite being a strong survivor, this horse breed is typically known for being sociable, calm and easy to manage.

Canadian Horses

It was pretty obvious what the first Canadian Horses were intended for. Aside from serving as modes of transportation as riding animals and carriage pullers, they were also agricultural animals. Today, these horses compete in the fields of dressage, jumping and other similar events.

As is only proper, this hardy breed is now a recognized national emblem. This gives all the more reason for the breed to be cherished, preserved and promoted.

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Filed Under: Horse Breeds

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