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First Posted: July 10,, 2009
Jan 3, 2012

Canadian Pacer - Gaited


Country of Origin: Canada

Sent to me in an e-mail: ..."There is no such breed as a Canadian Pacer. In the early days of Canada, 20% of Canadian Horses paced. These CANADIAN HORSES were sent to the US and entered in to the stud books of most US gaited breeds but they were never a separate breed from the Canadian Horse. Today, Canadian Horses are not a gaited breed..."

Characteristics

The Canadian Horse is relatively unknown and is quite rare. In the Canadian Provinces, French mares were crossed with Dutch and English stock. The bloodlines of the Canadian Pacer are not exactly known, but are thought to be descended from the French Norman horse and a strain of pacers (possibly Narragansett or an English pacer) bred in the 1820s. The Canadian Horse was extremely hardy and possessed much endurance, but did not have natural pacing ability, so it was necessary to import the Narragansett to breed it in. The breed has influenced many other North American gaited breeds. The Morgan, American Saddlebred, Tennessee Walker and Standardbred are among them. There have been several times when the breed almost went extinct; however, it still survives today.

The Canadian Horse gave rise to the Canadian Pacer, thus, has had a profound impact on many of the gaited breeds of today. The resulting Canadian Pacer was small, although larger than the Narragansett. They tend to have large, plain heads, a lean body, and small eyes. The Canadian Pacer influenced the Tennessee Walker, the American Saddlebred and the Standardbred.

The old-style Canadian Horse resembles the Morgan. It is very compact and stout, muscular, with a crested neck. The Canadian Horse is sound, with hard feet, with animated gaits, and is extremely hardy with great powers of endurance. They are willing horses, and easy keepers. Most Canadian Horses are bay or brown, although other colors exist, and they stand between 14.3-16.2 hh.

History

French mares were crossed with Dutch and English stock in the Canadian Provinces. The bloodlines of the Canadian Pacer are not exactly known, but are thought to be descended from the French Norman horse and a strain of pacers (possibly Narragansett or an English pacer) bred in the 1820's. The Canadian Horse was extremely hardy and possessed much endurance, but did not have natural pacing ability, so it was necessary to import the Narragansett to breed it in.

Interesting Information:

The most notable Canadian Pacer sire was the blue roan Tom Hal ("...in the early 1800's the French-Canadian horses were well-known in America. Their specific locale was usually given as being "about 30 miles below Montreal on the St. Lawrence." The severe climate stamped their type. Their hair was coarse, their manes and tails heavy and full flowing and displayed a wave or curl. They grew shaggy growths around the fetlocks and had thick necks, heavy around the wind pipe and throat. They were closely built and quite muscular and displayed the sloping rump that characterizes the pacer of today. The original Tom Hal, founder of the Hal family, was purchased in Philadelphia about 1824 and was identified as a Canadian. He went to Kentucky where he was variously known as Mason's, Boswell's, West's and Shropshire's Tom Hal. He was a roan and when bred to a mare by Chinn's Copper-bottom, a light chestnut and a son of the original Copperbottom, who also came from Canada, produced a chestnut colt known as Bald Stockings and also called Lail's Tom Hal and Clark's Tom Hal. From a mare of Thoroughbred blood, Bald Stocking s sired Kittrell's Tom Hal, a bay, who went to Tennessee in 1850 as the property of Major M. B. Kittrell. From the pacing mare Julia Johnson, whose mixed blood was principally Thoroughbred, Kittrell's Tom Hal sired Gibson's Tom Hal, the true foundation horse of the Hal breed. Bred to Lizzie, a great granddaughter of Kittrell's Tom Hal, Gibson's Tom Hal sired the full brothers Little Brown Jug and Brown Hal. Little Brown Jug, a gelding, was the first world champion of the Hal line pacing in 2:11 3/4 in 1881. Brown Hal was the champion pacing stallion with a record of 2:12. Lizzie's antecedents combined Thoroughbred and pacing blood, much of the former tracing to the Virginia stallion Sir Archy, a son of Diomed. (Incidentally, Sir Archy, the leading American running horse sire of his day, deserves more credit for his contribution to the harness horse breed than the early historians have given him. I have counted at ]east 20 separate sons whose names may be found in early Standardbred pedigrees. Obviously, he was a horse who suffered as a result of Wallace's antipathy to non-Messenger Thoroughbred blood.) Sweepstakes, another great granddaughter of Kittrel's Tom Hal, and, like Lizzie, bred along pacing and Thoroughbred lines maternally, also produced two world champions. The first was Hal Pointer by Gibson's Tom Hal that Geers raced so successfully on the Grand Circuit and who was matched against Direct in the early nineties in a pair of the keenest contests ever waged. The second of Sweepstakes' championship foals was Star Pointer himself, he by Brown Hal the son of Gibson's Tom Hal and Lizzie. Thus, the Hal breed, at its apogee, was woven around two stallions, Gibson's Tom Hal and his son Brown Hal, and two mares, Lizzie and Sweepstakes, all of whom traced in the direct male line to Kittrelrs Tom Hal, who was foaled in Canada in 1806 and then taken to Kentucky. He had a heavy influence on the Tennessee Walker, the American Saddlebred and the Standardbred. Another influential sire was Old Pacer Pilot, foaled in 1826, who was important in the lineages of many Gaited horses...") The website that this quote was taken from is no longer available. You will get a 404 page. However, I will still provide it: Michigan Harnass You may be able to retrieve it from archives.

For More Information:

Canadian Pacer
The Canadian Pacer
History of the Canadian Pacer
Horses of the Americas


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