History & Heritage

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.

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.

Soul of Canada, draft horses, history draft horse, four-wheeled pull-grader, Mechanical Workhorses, Horse breeding programs, history Clydesdale horse, horse logging history, Canadian horse history, Belgian horse, history percheron horse

Contributed by Soul of Canada - Today the gentle giant draft horses are seldom seen, almost lost in a world of high-speed, noisy machines that require industrial fuel to perform. Yet we are occasionally reminded of their impressive strength, substance, and style when we see a team perform in a parade, a show ring, a movie, or a heritage park.

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