History & Heritage

history of horses in canada, canadian horse history, Sir Donald Smith, Edward Mallandaine, canadian equine history

The relationship between horses and people in Canada is rich, deep, and ancient. And the story of horses in our country is as old as time itself. To understand the horse’s place in our lives today, we need to look back through the pages of history.

Canadian Horse woodmont farm, yvonne hillsden, cherry creek canadians, dan wilson, kelly twordik, ebony breeze farm, dorothy kirby, guinness canadian horse

A Treasure for Over 350 Years - Good things were happening in New France in 1665. The New World colony had been under the tight control of the Company of One Hundred Associates since 1627. It capitalized on the fur trade while expanding French colonies along the Gulf of the St. Laurence and the river valley. But they were sporadically under siege from either native Iroquois tribes disrupting the fur trade, turf wars with the British, or conflicts with Quebec settlers resenting the company’s monopoly on trade.

rules in cutting horse competitions, bc cutting horse association, heritage cutting classic chillwack bc, national cutting horse association, ontario cutting horse association, bill collins

Life for a 19th century cowboy was a steady routine of guarding cattle, moving them to grazing ranges, and driving them to market, often on long and difficult trails. But in those open range days, cattle belonging to one outfit would mingle and graze with cattle from other outfits. Twice a year in spring and fall, ranchers joined in a round-up of hundreds of cattle to sort out the different brands and reclaim their herds.

working horses, barge horses, jobs with horses, horses with jobs, margaret evans horse

In England, the Romans were the first to build canals as irrigation or land drainage waterways. They used mules to haul boats loaded with cargo along those canals and it became a highly effective and economical way to transport goods. A horse towing a boat with a rope from a towpath could pull 50 times as much cargo as it could pull in a wagon on the road.

vancouver police mounted unit, stanley park police horses

Job Description: In many cities, the police force mounted unit plays an essential role in crowd control at demonstrations and large events. Horses add height and visibility, and act as ambassadors with the public. On patrol for over a century, the Vancouver Police Mounted Unit was first formed in 1908 with 11 officers and 12 horses. A year later, the first patrolman on horseback was assigned to patrol Stanley Park. While the stables were originally based in the downtown area, a second stable was established close to the entrance to Stanley Park where the Mounted Unit continues to be centered today.

Racetrack Outrider Horses, Rachel Alexandra, Janice Lea Rocky Mountain House, Racetrack Outrider equine, Century Downs Racetrack, horse jobs Racetrack Outrider Horses

Job Description: Racetrack outriders and their horses provide the valuable service of helping to maintain a safe environment during workouts and live racing.

horses for therapy, mental health horses, horses to heal

Job Description: Therapy horses are used in a range of programs to promote physical improvements and address mental health issues. Somewhere in the rolling high country plains of southeastern Montana in the early 2000s, a buckskin colt was born. But in the harsh reality of life in a wild herd, he lost his dam when he was just a few days old. Somehow he stayed attached to his band struggling to survive but, without his mother’s milk, his growth was slow.

riding with bison in canada, bison in the canadian wilderness, horse riding with bison, Bison in Grasslands National Park

Canada’s prairie country always seems barren to me, as though something is missing and the ecosystem is incomplete. Probably because it is. For tens of thousands of years, as many as 30 million bison formed the cornerstone of a complex ecosystem, which dominated the Great Plains. In 1890, bison were perilously close to extinction, with less than 1,000 animals scattered across the continent. Today, largely due to conservation efforts by Parks Canada, bison thrive in parks and private herds, worldwide.

maclay horsemanship, canadians at the maclay championship, canadian equestrian show jumpers, canada's history of equine athletes

The ASPCA Alfred B. Maclay Horsemanship Championship, known simply as “the Maclay,” is the most prestigious equitation class for under 18-year-olds in North America. Held every fall since 1933, the championship is considered a proving ground for future champions and many teens tailor their junior riding years specifically toward the class. The winners' list is a who’s who of the North American hunter-jumper world and includes American riders William C. Steinkraus (1941), Frank Chapot (1947), George Morris (1952), J. Michael Plumb (1957), Conrad Homfield (1967), Leslie Burr (1972), and Jessica Springsteen (2008), among others. Four Canadians have also won the coveted championship trophy — Laura Tidball (1980), Erynn Ballard (1998), Brian Walker (2001), and Sam Walker (2018) — and all four of them have subsequently represented Canada in show jumping competitions.

eric lamaze's hickstead, show jumping canada, best canadian show jumping horses, hickstead horse

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.

Pages