The Canadian breed may be one of the best kept secrets of the twentieth century but was well known to American colonists. The Canadian horse traces its ancestry to stock brought to Acadia and New France in the 17th century, when Louis XIV sent two stallions and twenty mares from the royal stables of Normandy and Brittany. In the mid-1800s, the Canadian horse population exceeded 150,000, but due to the desire for larger draft breeds, and advances in farm machinery technology, their numbers decreased throughout the 1900s. Canadian breed numbers waned further during the war years, and by the early 1970s there were only 400 left in existence. However, thanks to the efforts of the Canadian Horse Breeders Association and committed breeders across Canada, the breed’s numbers are rising. As of December 2010, there were 13,187 Canadian horses registered with the Canadian Horse Breeders Association. The versatile Canadian is represented by almost all types of equestrian disciplines, and is particularly well-known for their driving ability.
The Canadian is good-natured and versatile, and known for its exceptional suitability as a driving horse. Photo: Robin Duncan Photography