Horse Industry

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In 2010, the Canadian Horse Industry Profile Study was undertaken by Equestrian Canada (formerly Equine Canada). The mandate was to define the state of the industry at that time, the issues that could direct its future.

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Job Description: One or more horses, usually of the draft breeds, pull a wheeled vehicle designed for comfortable or elegant passenger transport.

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Job Description: These large, powerful draft horses are used to pulling heavy loads.

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.

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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.

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