A Brief History of the Canadian Horse
The first horse to set foot on Canadian soil arrived on June 25th 1647 as a gift to Governor de Montmagny. Eighteen years later, King Louis XIV sent a shipment of some of the best horses from the King's royal stud; 2 stallions and 12 mares. Those horses from Normandy and Brittany were taught to have Barb, Arab, Turk but most likely Andalusian bloodlines. More horses were shipped from France over the few years. Only the hardiest horses survived the extremely hard conditions of heavy work, privation of food and very cold weather. The Canadian horse became strong, tough and easy keeper, which earned him the nickname “ Little Iron Horse”.

From 1850 to 1880 due to its exceptional qualities the Canadian horse was used for crossbreeding with breeds such as Standardbred, Morgan and American Saddlebred and some of the best subjects were exported out of Canada reducing dramatically the number of Canadian horses in our country.

In 1885, under the leadership of Dr J.A. Couture with some lovers of the Canadian horse interested in saving the breed, the government of Quebec established a studbook. It was only in 1895 that the Canadian Horse Breeders Association was formed and only the best horses meeting higher standards were registered after being inspected.

Albert de Cap Rouge The Federal government got involved in the preservation of the breed in 1913 by inaugurating the Cap Rouge Experimental Station where Albert de Cap Rouge, one of the foundation stallions was bred. Other similar breeding programs were operated at St Joachim and La Gordendiere.
In the 1970’s the breed was on the verge of extinction with about 400 to 500 Canadian horse in existence and less than 5 registrations per year. The breed in now gaining again in popularity and we must thank the dedicated breeders that believed in the Canadian horse. On April 17th 2002 the Government of Canada gave recognition to this strong, kind and intelligent animal that played a major role in our country’s history by naming the Canadian horse the National Horse of Canada.

Click here for photos of Henry Carr Farm's Canadians