The (American) Livestock Conservancy has (again) classified the Canadian Horse as Critically Endangered. I looked at the data. Maybe...oh, 7 years or so ago there were more than 6,000 Canadian Horses and the breed registry data showed encouraging breeding data, with over 400 horses born in both 2007 and 2008.
Economic downturn always hurts the horse industry. For many of us equestrian pursuits are luxurious discretionary pastimes. Canadian Horses have been endangered before and their numbers were on a healthy rebound the early half of the past 20 years. Seven and eight years ago one would expect to see over 400 Canadian Horses born each year.
I looked at the numbers and ...well, I guess I just haven't paid much attention lately. I was shocked to learn the population has dropped to less than 2000 animals and the last year or record, 2013, there were only 170 newly registered Canadian Horses. Such sad news. These are perfectly delightful animals.
L is everything a Canadian Horse should be. Her farrier says "those are what feet are supposed to be like". Her dentist says "those are what teeth are supposed to be like". I put a blanket on her once. It was below 0. She overheated. She's big. She's strong. She has a lot of presence. She's a Little Iron Horse type. Luxurious is a word that comes to mind.
Canadian Horses are highly prized for their temperaments. L is very smart. She's also very ...sensible. Everything about her is reassuring to a rider. Oh, it wasn't always that way. I'm the only rider she's every carried. I trained her (under the supervision of my trainer) and, oh, there were times my hands shook so bad I could barely buckle her bridle. Riding her was that scary. She didn't mean any harm...just a young horse. Mare. Doing young horse things. She'd puff up like a cat and throw a tantrum. When she stomped both of her front feet you knew to hang on.
After becoming more comfortable and starting some trail work outside of the ring I'd gone to mount up near the barn. I climb on board and, *just* as I swing my leg over her back, the heel of my right foot over the cantle, dead middle of her back, she *leaps* into a dead run. I'm hanging on for dear life. Yelling "HO! HO! HO!" while she ran the length of the barn. As fast as she could. While someone in the barn yelled back "Merry Christmas!". Very funny. Actually it was. She stopped, I hoisted my sorry butt into the saddle. And she never did that again. Young horse stuff.
Whatever issues we'd had, we always remained engaged. There was always "conversation". We had that going for us and *that* is 100% Canadian Horse!
If horses are your thing, get to know a Canadian Horse sometime.