canadian horse

The Canadian Horse descended from the French stock Louis XIV sent to Canada in the late 17th century. His goal was to develop a breeding program in the colony, but only 2 stallions and 12 mares survived the difficult sea journey made in 1665. Louis sent two more shipments, bringing the total number of horses to more than 40. Most were Breton or Norman in breeding, but some included Andalusian blood. The horses were leased to farmers for money or in exchange for a foal (although they remained the property of the king for three years). In 1679, there were 145 horses. In 1696, the number of horses in the colony had tripled. The horses thrived despite the harsh conditions, including little food, poor shelter, hard work, and bad roads, and eventually developed the nickname "the little iron horse". During the 1800s, breeders bred different types of Canadian crosses such as the Canadian Pacer, an amalgamation with the Narragansett Pacers, the "Frencher", a TB cross with hotter blood used as saddle horses or roadsters, and the "St. Lawrence", a much heavier draft type, in order to meet a variety of needs. In the early 19th century, thousands of horses were exported to America, for both the Civil War and also to use as breeding stock to create roadsters and stock for the growing stagecoach lines. Others were exported to the West Indies for use on the sugar plantations. Unfortunately, mass exports lead to a precipitous drop in the breed population in Canada in the 1870s, and the stud book was opened in 1886 to preserve the breed and prevent possible extinction. The Canadian Horse Breeders' Association was formed in 1895. In 1913, the Canadian government began a breeding center in Cap Rouge, Quebec. In 1919, this facility was outgrown so the breeding program was transferred to St. Joachim, QC, where it was operated jointly by the Canadian and QC provincial governments. In 1940, World War II brought an end to the federal breeding program at St. Joachim. At that time, the Quebec government purchased several of the horses and created their own provincial breeding program at Deschambault. They worked to breed a taller, more refined horse, who would be suitable as a hunter or jumper. During this time, other private breeders worked to preserve the original type, the Henryville line being an example of this. Eventually the Deschambault herd was sold at auction in 1981. The breed was in danger of disappearing for a second time, with less than 400 horses in the breed register, and fewer than 5 new registrations being recorded per year. However, dedicated breeders rescued the Canadian Horse. There are now more than 6000 horses registered.

The Canadian Horse is a breed of horse developed in Canada. Although previously relatively unknown due to its rarity, the Canadian Horse has influenced many other North American breeds, including the Morgan, American Saddlebred, and Standardbred. Although there have been several times when the breed almost went extinct, now the Canadian Horse has many enthusiasts within and outside of Canada. The Canadian Horse gave rise to the Canadian Pacer, which has had a profound impact on many of the gaited breeds of today.


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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Canadian Horse".