History & Heritage

horses in canadian history, fire horses, horses used for fire trucks horse drawn fire engine

Today, the piercing clamour of a fire truck’s alarm brings excitement and awe from people gathered on the street. We admire and even gawk at the skiny red and chrome mechanical beast, carrying its dark-suited riders as it winds its way through the city. But once, when the streets were still dusty, our cities relied on much more than the cold steel of a fire engine; they relied on the courage and heart of the fire-horses. Then as now, people would line the street to admire the beauty and bravery of these public servant horses.

A sensational discovery was made recently of a completely intact prehistoric foal that lived in Siberia between 30,000 and 40,000 years ago during the Upper Paleolithic. The foal, a colt, is believed to have been about two months old when it died. It has been so exquisitely preserved in the permafrost that its skin, dark brown hair, hooves including the frog, mane, tail, internal organs, muscles, and even the tiny hairs in its nostrils and the hairs around the coronet band are all completely intact. It is just 98 cm (38 inches) at the shoulder.

In the July/August 2017 issue of Canadian Horse Journal, we celebrated Canada’s 150th anniversary with stories of 20 exceptional horses that have reflected our values and fired our national pride. One of those horses was Hickstead.

Our group of 17 horses and riders had taken shelter from the brutal midday sun beneath a massive overhang created thousands of years ago when water roared through the valley, and our chosen lunch spot was also home to several rattlesnakes.

Canada’s Wild Horse Herd, sable island horses, 150 years canada horses, ancient horse in canada, equus lambei, sable island national park reserve, horses in chilcotin's brittany triangle

Wild horses are a fabric of the ancient Canadian landscape going back 56 million years to when they first appeared on the North American continent as dog-sized mammals. They evolved with the changing habitats and climate to become the familiar grassland equine that, some four million years ago, spread to Asia, Europe, and Africa.

horseback riding Trans Canada Trail, backcountry horse riding, canadian horseback, riding in canada, horse riding in canada, tania millen, pack em up ride em out, horse packing canada

Click. Nothing. I pressed the button on top of my headlamp again. Click. Still nothing. Oh crap. My headlamp batteries had just died, and on the worst morning possible. Today was the day I would be riding Chocolate through 912-metre long Bulldog Tunnel as part of our 550 kilometre solo journey along the Trans Canada Trail (TCT).

history of cowboys, cowboy qualities, modern-day cowboys, 21st Century Cowboy, cowboy history, cowboy traditions, cowboy clothing

If you watch a cowboy at work today, forget that it’s 2018, and skip back in time to catch a glimpse of a working cowboy in the 1870s, they would look surprisingly similar. They would be doing basically the same cattle management tasks, be dressed in similar clothing, have similar core skills, and be thriving with the same horsemanship abilities that have made cowboying one of the most enduring careers for centuries.

Pages

Advertisement