History & Heritage

Welcome to the album of winners, runners-up, and honourable mentions in our 2017 Celebration of Horses Photo Contest. This year the selection of photos was outstanding in all six categories, making judging rather challenging and a whole lot of fun! Our sincere thanks to everyone who shared the special moments and memories of their beautiful babies, beloved equine friends, and hardworking partners – and congratulations to the winners.

northern lights, aurora borealis, yukon horse, modern Equus,

It would be some 700,000 years before Duane Froese, an earth sciences professor with the University of Alberta in Edmonton and his team excavated a metapodial (cannon) horse bone from permafrost in the Thistle Creek gold mine in west-central Yukon in 2003. The team was hunting fossils embedded in permafrost while gathering data on the sediments that preserved them. Many other horse fossils found in Yukon had been pony-sized, but Froese and his team knew this find had come from a larger horse.

Horses and oxen have been used to haul logs since pre-industrial times. Much of it was small scale harvesting, but it was hard and hazardous work. Unstable and snagged trees, falling branches, and loose material were the “widow makers” of a rapidly growing but dangerous industry. But as settlers arrived in Canada, more land had to be cleared for home-building, farming, and travel. Ultimately, horses and oxen were replaced with machinery and logging trucks. But today, some people have kept the heritage of horse logging alive.

Ever since the wheel was first invented around 3,500 BC in Mesopotamia as a wooden disc with a hole in the middle for some form of axle, creative Sumarian minds were buzzing. They were, after all, already planting crops, herding animals, and had a pretty impressive social order. But getting the wheel contraption right took a bit of creative genius. The holes in the centre of the disc and at the ends of the axle had to be perfectly smooth and round in order for the wheel to fit and turn. Otherwise, too much friction would cause breakage.

Canadian Ranching Heritage, Margaret Evans, cattle ranching, Cariboo gold rush 1858, Alkali Lake Ranch, Eddie Bambrick, Douglas Lake Ranch, Gang Ranch, Lord Aberdeen, Bar U Ranch, John Ware, Captain Charles Augustus Lyndon

Canada’s cattle industry began long ago and far away, its tradition and history interwoven in the stories and folklore of explorers, fur traders, gold seekers and settlers.

Horses in war, war horse, horses world war 1, horses world war 2, dumb heroes, Riding into War, The Horse in War, my horse warrier, the war illustrated

The sacrifice of the ten million men who lost their lives during the conflict, which endured from 1914 to 1918, is well known. Less well known is the price paid by the estimated eight million horses that perished in the Great War, a fact lamented by Private James Robert Johnston, a horse transport driver who served with the 14th Canadian Machine Gun Company, in his memoir, Riding into War: “Very little has been said about the horses and mules that were used and what they suffered is beyond all description.”

war horse disney, disney war, disney horse, steven spielberg horse, horse in war, horses in history, world war horse

In the National Army Museum in London, U.K., a special exhibit features a curious box. The walls on the inside of the box are mirrors, each one reflecting another. Placed inside the box are dozens of cut-out horses. They are all white, unnamed, undefined. But as they reflect back and forth on the mirrors, the little cut-out horses are multiplied into infinity. The image, so simple, is a profound reminder that over eight million horses on all enemy sides died in the horrors of the First World War.

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Riding Vactions in California with Jec Ballou