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willowvw@telusplanet.net

Ph # (403) 845-7639

 

Who We Are

Welcome to Willow View Canadians, home of the "Canadian Horse". Enjoy your visit. We (Ron & Suzanne Spierenburg) have been raising Canadian and Canadian Cross horses for the past 10 years. We were first introduced to the breed in an article we read some 15 years ago. We had always wanted to breed horses, and for years had looked at different breeds not really finding what we were looking for.

Finding the Canadian was a dream come true. They had all the desired qualities that we wanted in a horse; great temperments, durability, versatility, and an unparalleled beauty.

We were hooked. We started our herd with 3 yearling fillies and a stallion. Things have a way of compounding and now our herd has grown to include 11 mares, 2 stallions, and their offspring. This brings our total herd to between 30 & 40 purebred Canadians.

Along the way we have used Canadians in a variety of equine sports and for recreation. They are equally at home showjumping and eventing as they are packing or trailriding. Our experience with the Canadian horse has been very pleasurable. They are quick to learn, low maintenance, and incredibly athletic and sound. They are a hardy breed and easily live up to their nickname "The Little Iron Horse".

For a closer look at this incredible breed or if you need more information please e-mail or phone us. We would love to introduce you to Canada's little known treasure "The Canadian Horse".

History of the Canadian Horse

The first horse to gallop on Canadian soil was unloaded in Quebec on June 25, 1647. The original stock was selected from the horses of Normandy and Brittany in France, and sent to Canada by king Louis XIV. These original horses were of Andalusian, Arab and Spanish Barb stock. They flourished without influence over the next 150 years with no infusion of outside blood. Due to natural selection, only the strongest managed to survive the rigors of the winters. They became small in size but the conditions under which they had to exist gave them a hardiness to be found in no other breed. The Canadian is known as the "Little Iron Horse" and is still the sturdiest and best acclimated horse in Canada.

These horses were much loved and appreciated by the habitant farmer and the numbers rose quickly. By 1850 the number of horses was 150,000 however the importing of other breeds and the exporting to the United States for various wars including the Civil War meant the horse was in danger of disappearing as a distinct breed. Their only legacy might have been a contribution to the early bloodlines in the North American developed breeds: the Morgan, Standard bred, Saddle bred, and the Tennessee Walker.

Under the leadership of Dr. j. A. Couture, DVM, a few concerned admirers of the "Little Iron Horse" banded together to try and preserve what remained of the breed. Their efforts produced a first stud book in 1886. Progress was slow however, and it was not until 1895, when the Canadian Horse Breeders Association was formed that any real expansion took place. In 1907 under the leadership of Dr. J. G. Rutherford, the Federal Government livestock commissioner, a new stud book was started with improved standards.

In 1913 the Federal Ministry of Agriculture set up a breeding program at Cap Rouge, Quebec, where Albert De Cap Rouge, one of the foundation studs was bred. There were other breeding programs set up in Quebec at St. Joachim and La Gorgendiere that continued to breed the Canadian Horse until 1981.

The number of Canadian Horses had declined to under 400 in 1976 but risen to over 2000 at present. The Canadian breed is still considered to be on the critical list by the American Livestock Breeds Conversancy.

The Canadian horse can be called a general utility animal. From the very beginning of New France it was valuable not only for plowing, but also as a carriage horse. Breeders appreciated the qualities of strength, willingness, and small food requirements. The breed is long-lived and still useful at an advanced age. The mares are extraordinarily fertile, and reproduce regularly until the age of 20 or older.

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