History & Heritage

sable island horses, margaret evans, endangered equine species, endangered horses, wild horses

Nowhere in Canada will you find a more unique, self-contained ecosystem than the one found on Sable Island. Nestled in the 42 km arc of sand, 300 kilometers southeast of Halifax, Nova Scotia, is an array of beaches, dunes, marram grass, wildflowers, shrub-heath, and ponds – which 300 bird species five species of seals, and 500 Sable Island horses call home. These horses came to the island during the dark days of deportation of the Acadian people 250 years ago.

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 the 21st century, 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.

Do horses have just one toe or several? do horses have five toes? understanding equine foot

Researchers at the New York Institute of Technology, College of Osteopathic Medicine (NYITCOM) are suggesting that, in fact, the four side toes did not completely disappear but remain even today as remnants still present within the horse’s modern lower leg and hoof. Scientists widely accept that the essentially redundant splint bones – the small bones found along the outer sides of the metacarpal or cannon bone - are remnants of the second and fourth toes.

Przewalski Horse, are Przewalski Horses wild?, evolution of Przewalski Horse, Przewalski Horse Chernobyl

Recently, genetic research published in the journal Science showed that the Przewalski’s horse, also known as the Mongolian wild horse and the Takhi, was actually not wild as defined by its heritage but descendants of the horses first domesticated by Botai people of Kazakhstan over 5,500 years ago.

Clydesdale horse, Stan Carruthers, Gordon Carruthers Sr, Clydesdales, Eastern Regional Clydesdale Association, Clydesdale breeding program

Born in 1940, Stan Carruthers of Carp, Ontario, was predestined to work with Clydesdales. “My grandfather was a stallioneer in Carp, and he used to have Percherons,” explains Stan. “In 1922, he sold his Percheron and bought a Clydesdale stallion. That’s how the love affair began.”

horse fossils, extinct horses, archealogical finds equine, history of 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.

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.

Coconut Roll horse, bareback competition horse coconut roll, rodeo stock contractor, coconut roll

One of the most phenomenal and successful bareback competition horses ever was Coconut Roll. Born in 1993 (by Wild Strawberry out of Rolly Polly) at the 22,000-acre Stampede Ranch near Hanna, Alberta, this superbly athletic mare inspired respect, excitement, and no doubt a bit of fear in every cowboy who lowered himself onto her back in the chutes of the Calgary Stampede.

whitemud equine centre, welca, therapeutic riding

It’s unusual for a horse facility to host public learn-to-ride programs, therapeutic riding programs, hunter-jumper shows and clinics, plus provide boarding services. Plunk that facility down on a historic site in the centre of a large Canadian city, surround it by three parks and multi-use trails for walkers, cyclists, cross-country skiers plus horses, and it’s hard to believe that such a magical place exists. But it does.

cam fella standardbred racehorse

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 Cam Fella. Cam Fella, the brown stallion by Most Happy Fella out of Nan Cam was bred by W.R. Cameron and foaled May 14, 1979 in Lexington, Kentucky. He was sold as a yearling at the 1980 Tattersall’s sale for $19,000 and just a year later in 1981 was sold for $140,000.