The Canadian Horse - A Pictorial History Boook
The Canadian Horse
A Pictorial History
By Gladys Mackey Beattie
Excerpt from the book: "The first horse to gallop on Canadian soil”, writes Ernest Gagnon, a historian of the era, “was unloaded at Quebec on June 25th 1647. It was brought over as a gift for the Governor, Le Chevalier de Montmagny, by the Compagnie des Habitants, as it was thought unfitting that a knight be without a horse.”
Eighteen years later, on July 16, 1665, a ship with ten mares and two stallions arrived. Eight mares had died in the crossing. For horses as well as people, that three to five week journey in the dark hold of a sailing ship was often more than could be borne. In 1667 another shipment arrived. Among these were a stallion and two mares for the Ursaline Nuns who were trying to run a school and a hospital. In 1670 a final shipment of eleven mares and one stallion was unloaded at Quebec.
The exact breeding of these horses is not known. Breed records as we know them did not come into being until one hundred years later. Breeds as such, did not even exist. But it is known that Louis 14th was a very vain person.
He would have nothing but the best of horses in his stables. Also he was constantly warring with every country bordering on France. The age of the Knights with their great war horses was just past. Post roads were opening all over Europe. Smaller and swifter horses were much in demand. War continued to be the chief and paramount vocation of large numbers of able bodied men and horses.
Part of the plunder of war, were the horses obtained from the enemy; oriental horses from the Turkish Empire, Barb horses from Spain, Arabs from the south and east. The best went to the Royal stables. And from among all the King’s horse were selected the ones to be sent to New France to impress the colonists……."
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Location: Onoway, AB
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