Photo by Deborah Wilson. Beckett’s Creek Ferari Yugo (Stallion), owner Monique Boucher, Avant Garde Canadians, rider Rosemarie Huxted

The Canadian breed is 350 years old and is considered critically endangered. It originated from the best horses of Spanish, Norman and Breton stock sent from the stables of King Louis XIV of France to Canada in 1665. From those foundation horses, a distinct breed of horse emerged affectionately nicknamed “Le Petit Cheval de Fer” or “The Little Iron Horse”. The breed is know for its calm and willing disposition, excellent feet, stamina and strength. Unfortunately, because of these characteristics, the popularity of the Canadian Horse as a War Horse almost led to its extinction in the 1880s, and it is currently considered “critical” status (the closest to extinction) by the Livestock Conservancy.

The size of the Canadian typically ranges between 14-16 hands and 1000-1400 lbs. While most frequently black, Canadians come in many other colours, including chestnut, bay and palomino. Today, many riders are discovering that the Canadian is a highly competitive horse across many disciplines.