Our Horse, Our Heritage

Help Us Breed Flavie

A short history of the Canadian Horse

kreighoffThe Cheval Canadien originated in Québec in the late 1600s with horses sent to Canada by Louis XIV of France.  Bred from Spanish, Breton, and Norman stock, only the hardiest animals survived the infamous Canadian winters, and these horses grew into what would become the Canadian Horse.  The “Little Iron Horses” grew in popularity so much that by the 1800s they had attracted the attention of buyers in the US looking for sport and military horses.  Horses were bought by the hundreds and moved to the US, where they provided some of the founding stock  for the Saddlebred, Morgan, and Tennessee Walker horses, among others.

Anglo-SaxonUnfortunately, the Canadian’s popularity led to increased outbreeding.  While many new breeds were founded with the Canadian Horse’s excellent genetics, the Canadian itself was on the verge of dying out.  Even in Quebec, Canadian owners were being encouraged to breed their horses with Percheron stock imported from France in order to make the horses larger.  If not for the efforts of a few individuals and a series of strict breeding guidelines put in place in the early 1900s, the breed would likely have died out altogether.

The breed grew steadily until the 1940s, but the hard recovery from the Depression and the Second World War meant the dissolution of many of the stud farms dedicated to the Cheval Canadien. The breed reached an all-time low in the 1970s, with only 44 registered horses in existence.  Luckily, the use of horses for pleasure and competition rather than for work meant that Canadians were no longer being bred for size and strength, and breeders could instead focus on developing them for driving, jumping, and dressage.  This led to a great revival of the Canadian Horse, and gave us the versatile, well-tempered horses we know today.

Although there are many more Canadian Horses now than there were in the 1970s, registration has dropped significantly since the recession in 2008, and breed has slipped into the endangered category once more.  To read more about this amazing breed, see the excellent article by Melanie Hugget in the Canadian Horse Journal.

By breeding Flavie, Academie Duello is hoping to keep the bloodlines of one more amazing Canadian mare alive, but we can’t afford to do it without your help.   The clock is ticking on Flavie’s last reasonable breeding season.  If you’d like to do your part to help preserve our national horse, consider donating a few dollars to the GoFundMe campaign, and feel proud to stand on guard for the Cheval Canadien!J&F

Find our campaign here: https://www.gofundme.com/2uexs258

Current & Upcoming Classes

Beginner Riding & Horsemanship

This six-week series will teach you to groom, tack up, and handle your horses as well as get you started in the saddle.  By the end of six weeks you should be ready to teleading in handst for Horsemanship Level 1, and a second run through the course will get most people to Riding Level 1. Choose between Saturday or Sunday classes — or take both to get you to your goal twice as fast!

Saturdays 21 May – 25 Jun, 4pm – 6pm
cost: $300 for 6 classes

Riding & Horsemanship Level 2

The Level 2 course covers the same topic areas as Level 1 but in greater depth.  You will progress through the Horsemanship Level 2 curriculum while continuing to work on achieving your Riding Levels 1 or 2.  If you are unsure whether you should sign up for Level 2 or Beginner, just pick the class which has space.  The courses run simultaneously and riders are informally assessed during the first class, with placements shuffled to make sure everyone is riding with a group of the appropriate level.

Saturdays 21 May – 25 Jun, 4pm – 6pm
cost: $300 for 6 classes

Horsemanship Level 3-4IMG_2794

This six-week course is intended to get you through either Level 3 or Level 4 Horsemanship, but there are no prerequisites.  That means anyone who wants to learn about saddlery, vet & first aid, grooming, foot & shoeing and other stable management topics can take the course.  A great way to learn about horse care, taught by certified Pony Club alumni.

Saturdays 21 May – 25 Jun, 4pm – 5pm
cost: $130 for 6 classes

Jack 2Riding Level 3+

Welcome to the Open class!  Here you will further hone your riding skills, adding jumping, cross country, quadrille and mounted games work as you work towards your next riding level.

Saturdays 21 May – 25 Jun, 3pm – 4pm
cost: $200 for 6 classes

Mounted Combat Fundamentals

This five-week course covers the Mounted Combat Skills for the Green Spur.

Saturdays 21 May – 25 Jun, 6:30pm – 8pmChris vs Jen
cost: $120 for 5 classes

Intermediate Mounted Combat

Students in this five-week class will spend approximately an hour and a quarter each week working from horseback on longsword, spear, and grappling skills, as well as mounted games and general riding exercises.  The remainder of the class is taken on the ground and from the falsemount, working on more advanced weapon and unarmed skills.  Students should have their horses tacked up and warmed up ahead of class to maximize training time.  Participants who do not yet have their Green Spurs may take part in class from the ground and falsemount.

Saturdays 21 May – 25 Jun, 6pm – 8pm
cost: $160 for 5 classes


Jennifer Landels Jennifer Landels heads up Academie Duello's Cavaliere Program. She has been swordfighting since 2008, and riding since before she could walk. She started the program as an excuse to combine those passions.
Read more from Jennifer Landels.