7 Canadian Horse Breeds

Canadian Horse Breeds
Photo by Danny Gallegos

Even though the majority of Canadian horse breeds are extremely rare, some owners and breeders are committed to working toward the preservation of these magnificent horses.

Canada is a big country with busy cities, dangerous fauna, and gorgeous, formidable scenery. In addition, the Great White North is home to various magnificent horse breeds.

The Newfoundland Pony, the Canadian Horse, the Sable Island Horse, the Lac La Croix Indian Pony, and the Canadian Rustic Pony are the only Canadian horse breeds recorded.

In addition, Canada is home to not one but two warmblood registrations: the Canadian Warmblood and the Canadian Sport Horse registries.

There is a long history of horses in Canada, and some breeds of horses have been crucial in the growth and development of the country.

The following is a list of the seven Canadian horse breeds:

1. Sable Island Horse

On Sable Island, located off the coast of Nova Scotia, there is a small breed of wild horse known as the Sable Island horse. They are allowed to roam free and are protected by the federal government, but the herd is left unmanaged.

No historical evidence supports the claim that the horses made their way to the island by swimming after a shipwreck, although local folklore indicates they did.

Instead, the horses were purposefully brought over in the 18th century when they first appeared in North America. Reverend Andrew Le Mercier, who was from Boston, is credited with being the first person to bring horses to the new world.

It is a widespread belief that the horses found on Sable Island primarily descended from those the British took with them when they expelled the Acadians from their lands.

Breeds like the Breton, Andalusian, and Norman contributed to the creation of the Acadian horses, which people eventually bred with horses from New England.

To boost the island’s breeding stock throughout the 19th century, People transported additional breeding stock, including horses with Thoroughbred, Morgan, and Clydesdale blood, to the island.

The horses on Sable Island were routinely picked up and moved to the mainland throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.

People frequently put them up for sale and slaughtered on the mainland. On the other hand, in 1960, the federal government of Canada passed a law protecting horses in their wild state.

Sable Island horses are between 13 and 14 hands tall and weigh between 700 and 900 pounds. Their bodies are stocky and short and have arched necks and shaggy coats.

They come in a variety of colors as well. Even though they are typically the size of ponies, they have the phenotypic of horses because they descended from horses.

2. Lac La Croix Indian Pony

The Lac La Croix First Nation is responsible for developing a semi-feral horse breed known as the Ojibwa, also known as the Lac La Croix Indian pony.

The indigenous people of Canada have maintained a spiritual connection with this unique breed for an extended period of time.

The Lac La Croix Indian pony and the inhabitants of the Lac La Croix reservation share a rich history that dates back hundreds of years.

There are others who think the breed originated in the time before Europeans brought horses to the Americas.

The Ojibwa people used these animals to lift ice slabs and tote wood. After that, during the spring and summer months, the ponies were allowed to go free without any restrictions.

In 1977, there were only four mares left out of an original population of hundreds. It was necessary to incorporate Spanish Mustangs into the breeding program to ensure the breed’s survival.

They are helpful in rehabilitative programs and in promoting indigenous history, even though they are still somewhat scarce.

The Lac La Croix Indian Pony can range in height from 12 hands to 14.2 hands and weighs between 700 and 900 pounds on average. They have good stamina to go along with their robust frame, which includes tough feet and legs.

Lac La Croix Indian ponies can come in every solid hue other than white or cream dilutions, and they frequently display patterns considered primitive.

3. Canadian Rustic Pony


The Canadian Rustic pony is a relatively recent breed of pony that was first developed in the provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba in Canada.

Dr. Peter Neufeld of Manitoba is the pioneer in the breed’s development. In 1989, the Canadian Rustic Pony Association came into existence.

Breeding Arabians, Welsh ponies, and Heck horses together resulted in the development of the Canadian Rustic pony.

Although they are not very common, they make lovely family horses because they are excellent for both riding and driving.

The height of these Canadian horse breeds ranges between 12.2 and 13.2 hands, and their average weight is between 700 and 800 pounds.

They have a robust neck that arches upwards somewhat and a sturdy body overall. Their facial profile is slightly concave.

The manes of Canadian Rustic ponies are only partially grown, and their coats might be horse gray, buckskin, dun, or bay in color. They also have rudimentary markings.

4. Canadian Sport Horse

The Canadian Sport Horse is an ever-evolving breed that is part of another warmblood registry. The objective is to produce a horse capable of performing admirably in dressage, hunter, eventing, and jumping competitions.

In the middle of the 1980s, the organization formerly known as the Canadian Hunter and Light Horse Improvement Society changed its name to the Canadian Sport Horse Association (CSHA).

The indigenous sport horse breed registration has been around the longest in Canada. Additionally, the CSHA is the first open studbook in North America to include European warmbloods in its pedigrees.

Breeding Thoroughbred stallions with farm mares, which were typically a collection of several breeds, led to the development of these Canadian horse breeds.

The Canadian Sport Horse Association (CSHA) recognized an opportunity to enhance the quality of performance horses when, in the early 1900s, there was a rise in the number of European warmbloods in Canada.

The average height of a Canadian Sport horse is between 16 and 17 hands, and their average weight is between 1,100 and 1,300 pounds.

They have a muscular bodies, a clearly defined heads, and a well-established neck. A wide range of coat colors is available for Canadian Sports horses, including chestnut, bay, and gray.

5. Newfoundland Pony

For several centuries, the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada worked to improve the Newfoundland Pony as a breed.

The arduous terrain and severe weather conditions of the North Atlantic islands have evolved these robust and muscular ponies.

The British, Scottish, and Irish pony breeds were among the early settlers that people transported to the new world, where the Newfoundland breed originated. Pony breeds that fall into this category are the Dartmoor, Exmoor, Connemara, Highland, and Galloway.

As a result of the exception of these Canadian horse breeds from the rest of the world for hundreds of years, they were able to breed with one another and develop the Newfoundland Pony successfully.

The height of Newfoundland ponies ranges from 11.2 to 14.2 hands, and their weight can range from 500 to 800 pounds.

They have a stocky physique, a thick mane and tail, a small head, and a structure ranging from fine bones to larger stocky bones.

Their heads are also small. The coats of Newfoundland ponies can be any of the following colors: bay, black, brown, chestnut, dun, grey, roan, or white.

In the past, Newfoundland ponies were free to roam the island, yet people used them to cultivate crops, pull fishing nets, and cart kelp and wood.

They originally numbered in the thousands, but their population has significantly decreased due to regulations on free-roaming animals and ponies slaughtered for their meat.

The Newfoundland Pony Society is currently working to ensure the survival of this historically significant breed, which has developed into a dependable option for riding and driving ponies.

6. Canadian Horse

Because it is Canada’s national animal, the Canadian horse carries a great deal of symbolic weight for the nation.

People believe that The French horses brought to Quebec by King Louis XIV’s ships between 1665 and 1670t are ancestors of these Canadian horse breeds.

Although it is unknown where all the horses came from, it is possible that they included the Bretons, Normans, Arabians, Andalusians, and Barbs.

People leased the horses to local farmers or gentlemen of the land in exchange for money or another foal, but the monarch maintained ownership of them for the three-year lease.

The population of the breed continued to expand, and it gained popularity across Canada and the northern states of the United States.

The Morgan, the American Saddlebred, and the Standardbred are all American breeds that can trace their ancestry back to the Canadian horse in significant ways.

There was a significant reduction in the population as a direct consequence of the Civil War’s deployment of a huge number of Canadian horses in the United States.

The average height of a Canadian horse is between 14 and 16.2 hands, and their average weight is between 1,000 and 1,300 pounds.

They have a strong physiques, gracefully arched necks, and well-constructed bodies. Most horses in Canada are either bay, black, or chestnut in color.

When Canadian horses were at the height of their popularity, they were three distinct types: the Canadian Heavy Draft, also known as St. Lawrence, the Frencher, and the Canadian Pacer.

In modern times, riding and driving are two of the most common uses for these Canadian horse breeds, although they also excel in various other disciplines.

7. Canadian Warmblood

Combining European Warmbloods with the energy of New World horses resulted in the creation of the Canadian Warmblood.

Because of Canada’s wide-open pastures and harsh winter climate, Canadian Warmblood horses have developed characteristics such as resiliency, toughness, and robust bone structure.

Dressage, eventing, and show jumping are among the disciplines in which these Canadian horse breeds thrive.

They can easily accommodate riders of various skill levels, from novices to those competing at the Olympic level.

These agile horses have a reputation for having pleasant personalities and a propensity to please their owners.

The average height of a Canadian Warmblood is between 15 and 17 hands, and their average weight is between 1,000 and 1,300 pounds.

They have athletic and well-muscled bodies, despite having medium-sized forms, and the register accepts a wide variety of sorts.

There is a wide range of colors available for these Canadian horse breeds, including bay, chestnut, and gray.

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