Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Little Iron Horse-The Canadian

(All photos are of the: Stallions of Cherry Creek Canadians)

The Canadian Horse- a breed I love not only because it was developed in my homeland but because it is a truly strong, versatile and beautiful type horse with a good mind and work-man-like conformation. This is a breed developed to work, and work hard, in the rough Canadian wilderness. Canadians needed to be tough, hardy keepers, impervious to cold and poor conditions, be able to haul a heavy cart or large logs and hay wagons but also make a dependable and trustworthy saddle horse. Hence the nickname, "The Little Iron Horse". (Little was a relative term as foundation Canadian stock was used to do work commonly assigned to larger draft breeds.)

Todays Canadian can vary widely in type and size but they generally stay true to their heritage as an all round breed- sound, and solid minded. I find that the majority look like a robust Friesens. They tend to have loads of long mane and tail and that trademark rich black color. As Canadians are still relatively rare I have only had the opportunity to know a handful of them personally but they have all struck me as being robust, hearty but also beautiful horses with a regal air about them.

For more information on their unique history, a link: Cheval Canadien

Wikipedia's description of the breed: "The old-style Canadian Horse somewhat resembles the foundation-style Morgan, having large and expressive eyes, a well- structured head and small, delicate ears. Their build is very muscular, compact and stout, with a cresty neck and naturally animated gaits. They are known for having a heavy and wavy mane and tail, good bone and good feet. They are considered to have soundness, hardiness and endurance. They are willing horses and easy keepers.[citation needed]

Most Canadian Horses are black, with bay, chestnut or brown being less common. Their height ranges on average from 14 to 16 hands and they can weigh between 1000–1400 lbs.[1]

I have wanted to own a Canadian for many years now but have never found just the right one when I have been in the market. I guess I keep looking for one that reminds me most of a Quarter Horse because that is my "type" preference. There is one for sale right now that has my interst....

7 YO Canadian mare, ranch broke $5500


  1. I'd like to have a Canadian. Its one of those "someday" horse things. lol
    Funny the only ones I've seen in person were chestnut.

  2. Oh me too - they are just awesome horses. I very seriously considered buying a green-broke 4 yr old 2 years ago when I first started horse shopping - then common sense kicked in and I moved on.

    They tend to be really big through the girth too, so it is hard for me to find one that fits, because they take up so much leg for me.

    There are several breeders near me and I try not to look at their web sites any more - it's too tempting!

    Check out for lots of them for sale...

  3. Wow! Pretty horse for $5500.

    I didn't even know about this breed - thank for the an interesting post.

  4. My best friend has a liver chestnut Canadian Horse. Her horse came to her as a throw-away train wreck and took a good long year to rehab. Now, they jump 3' and do 3 day eventing. The horse is 21 and going strong!

    I suspect the GFJ I wrote about on the geldings post was really a Canadian Horse and not an old-style Morgan as we were told. He wasn't papered, so no way to know for sure. However, he and my friend's horse above had a lot of similarities, which led to the wondering.

  5. They are beautiful horses. I've seen them for several years exhibited at our local Horse Expo, but they too are dark brown and not a true black. I was impressed with their good bone and beautifully large feet. I think they're gorgeous...and they do remind me somewhat of the old-style Morgan horse. If I had 1 of every type of horse that I'd like to have, I'd need a lot of land.

  6. Gorgeous! Like most Canadians (like you and me). [;o)

  7. Okay C, I'm gonna admit it- I have never heard of this breed! Thanks for educating me! I really like Boo, the one you picked out. Like C-ing Spots said, this breed looks a bit like an old type Morgan/QH. I like that look, too! Stocky, yet somewhat refined. Great post!
    p.s. I finished Season One of McLeod's Daughters but haven't gotten the second one yet...I miss the girls! :)

  8. Chelsi-
    Thanks for this great post!!! I may have mentioned this to you before, but I LOVE Canadian horses. I fell in love with them at a horse expo three years ago, and have liked them ever since.

    They can definitely be stout, sturdy, even tempered, etc...All the things I am looking for, right??? What's more is that my son and hubby really liked them too. I have always thought they resemble Spanish and/or Dutch horses (Andalusians/Friesians)with all of that hair and their dark coloring.

    PS-I like that mare!!!

  9. I would have taken those horses for Morgans. I'll bet a lot of 'Morgans' are actually Canadians! Very nice!