Sunday, December 7, 2008

Little Iron Horse: Cheval Canadien {The Canadian Horse}

Canadian Horse at the Royal Winter Fair, Toronto 2006
Photo taken by hippo-po

The Canadian Horse, as it's name suggests is uniquely Canadian; and just like the 'average' Canadian person, this horse tends to be very hardy, level-headed, and of course, beautiful ;)

According to Cherry Creek Canadians (which by the way has gone through pain-staking action to record the history and lines of the breed, as well as preserving it), Canadian Horses are descendants from 'the best horses from King Louis IVX stables' and 'they were sent to Canada by the King to reward his best men who had gone to settle the "new world", between 1665 - 1670'.

At one time it was so numerous and popular, that in the 1800's there was more than 150,000 of them, and they were used to improve other breeds such as the Standardbred, Morgan, and Tennessee Walker. Unfortunately with the onslaught of industrialization, the breed numbers fell, and by the 1950's they were almost extinct.

The Canadian Horse Heritage and Preservation Society (CHHAPS) is an organization that is dedicated to raising awareness about the Canadian Horse. On their site they quote a study (DNA Detectives, 1998 Canadian Horse Annual) that states, 'the Canadian, bred in isolation for so long, does still appear to be genetically distinct from the popular racing and riding breeds, reinforcing the need to give high priority to its conservation'.

With the hard work of dedicated lovers of this breed, the numbers are once again climbing; there are now approximately 6,000 around the world, which is an increase from about 400 in the 1970's. And in 2002, the Canadian was made the national horse of Canada by the federal government.

I would just love to see this breed make a real comeback, not only because I adore horses, but because I think that they can be extremely beneficial. They are a multi-discipline breed that is smart, very strong (it is not called the Little Iron Horse for nothing!), with great temperaments. I can see them posing some real solutions when it comes to farming, transportation, as well as pleasure.

For more information on the breed, check out these webbys:

Canadian Horse Breeders Association

Canadian Horse Heritage and Preservation Society

The Canadian Horse

Association Quebecoise du Cheval Canadien (French site)



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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