Canadian Horse: This hardy breed descended from horses originally sent to the “New World” by King Louis XIV of France in the late 1600’s. These Norman and Breton horses were felt to be of Arab, Andalusian and Barb ancestry and for hundreds of years they were bred with little influence from outside breeds. They eventually developed into their own distinct breed, the Canadian Horse or Cheval.
Because they evolved under the adverse conditions of harsh weather, scarce food, and hard work, the horse developed into a stong breed acclimated to the harsh weather of canada. During the 1800s, breeders bred different types of crosses such as the Canadian Pacer. 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.
Although there have been several times when the breed almost
went extinct, they now have many enthusiasts within and outside of Canada. The breed gave rise to the Canadian Pacer, which has had a profound impact on many of the gaited breeds of today. The Canadian Horse Breeders' Association was formed in 1895. Most animals are predominantly black although bay, chestnut and brown can be found. There are a very few individuals that carry the cream gene and are called "ash white." Their height ranges on average from 14 to 16 hands and they can weigh between 1000–1400 lbs.
Unlike most breeds, there is a set naming system that is used to identify individuals. First comes the prefix, the farm or breeding establishment of which the foal was born into, followed by the sire's name, and lastly the given name for the foal. However, each year a different letter is assigned, and it is by the year's letter that the foal is named. Some older horses do not fall under this naming strategy, but it is now mandatory in naming registered offspring coming from purebred Canadian lines.
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