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
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.