Today’s Horse Facts: The Canadian Horse – “Little Iron Horse”

Have you ever heard of a Canadian Horse? Do you know what he looks like?

The Canadian Horse: “Little Iron Horse”

(Photo compliments of Wikipedia)

“Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men,

for he breaks down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron.” 

(Psalm 107: 15-16 NIRV)

In the late 1600s, King Louis XIV of France sent two different breeds of horses, the Breton and Norman, to a region we now call Quebec, Canada. Those two breeds are believed to be the ancestors of the modern Canadian Horse. Today the Canadian Horse possesses traits similar to the Arabian, Andalusian, and Barb that the Breton and Norman horses had so very long ago—rugged, strong, dashing, and quick.

The Breton and Norman multiplied with little interference for hundreds of years, resulting in a beautiful yet tough little equine, the Canadian Horse or Cheval Canadien. The limited number of those first horses in the newly-founded Canadian colony meant they were highly valued, and since they were so isolated from the rest of the known world, the breed remained pure. Thus, the horse became a versatile helper to the new colonists even through harsh weather and sparse food supplies. His jobs included farm work, driving stagecoaches, riding, and racing. Because this equine trooper excelled at any task he was asked to do, he earned the nickname “Little Iron Horse.”

Because the Canadian Horse had such strong traits, in the mid-1800s he became popular in the United States as well as in Canada where he was crossbred to improve the strength of other breeds. The Morgan, Tennessee Walking Horse, Standardbred, and American Saddlebred can all thank the Canadian Horse for their stamina and determination.

Soon the Canadian Horses earned such a reputation, many were exported to southern Africa to work on sugar plantations in the West Indies and to pull wagons and cannons in the U.S. Civil War where many were killed. With so many horses leaving Canada, the war, and the invention of farm machines and automobiles, the Canadian Horse nearly became extinct.

But that’s when Canadian Horse lovers saved the breed in 1886, starting the first studbook. Nine years later the Canadian Horse Breeders Association was formed to further preserve the horse. However, today the breed is still listed as critical by the American Livestock Conservancy with only an estimated 2,000 Canadian Horses on record. Yet, the future of the breed is looking brighter as horse lovers in Canada work endlessly to preserve this special horse.

The Canadian Horse stands 14 to 16 hands, weighs 900-1000 pounds, and is usually black or bay with a long flowing mane and tail. He has lots of well-developed muscles and has a handsome arched neck. This overachiever is energetic without being nervous and has great strength to fulfill the tasks asked of him. Is it any wonder he’s called the “Little Iron Horse?”

The word “iron” always indicates strength and power. Do you know there are verses in the Bible that tell us that God is so powerful, He can bend iron?  Our Wonderful Lord has the strength and might to do anything He wants. He’s so strong and mighty, He created the universe and the heavens in just six days. If we worship a God who is so powerful, don’t you think He’s able to help us with our troubles?

God can, and will, help us. All we need to do is ask. The next time you have a problem that seems to overwhelm you, take it to the Lord in prayer. If God can bend iron, He certainly can give you the wisdom and strength you need.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank you for being such a strong God, strong enough to cut through bars of iron. I know I can depend on you for my strength to solve problems in my life. In Jesus’ name, amen.

SADDLE UP!   (What would God have you do now?)

Think about how God displays his power and strength in your life or in the world around you. Write some of the things you’ve observed.


Take your ride: (Do you know?)  A few chestnut-colored Canadian Horses have been found occasionally with flaxen manes and tails, and the cream gene appears rarely as the result of interbreeding with just one cream-colored stallion.

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?)  “Iron he treats like straw and bronze like rotten wood” (Job 41:27 NIRV).






Today’s Horse Facts: The Paso Fino – Strives to Please his Master

Do you know what a Paso Fino horse is? All Pasos have their roots with the Paso from Peru, the American Mustang, and other descendants of Colonial Spanish Horses.

The Paso Fino: Strives to Please his Master

To see a picture of a Paso Fino, go to

“A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master.”

(Matthew 10:24 NIRV)

The Paso Fino (Paah´-so fee´ no) is a naturally-gaited horse bred by Spanish land owners in Puerto Rico and Colombia, South America, who wanted an obedient steed with endurance and a comfortable ride that would aim to please.  All Pasos have their roots with the Paso from Peru, the American Mustang, and other descendants of Colonial Spanish Horses. The Barb, Spanish Jennet, and Andalusian have also been interbred in the U. S. to produce the Paso Fino of today. But Pasos go back to the time of Christopher Columbus when it’s believed he brought some of the horses with him to the New World.

The Paso Fino is a gorgeous equine, standing an average of 13 to 15.2 hands but strong for his size. He weighs from 700 to 1000 pounds, although it might take a foal five years to reach his adult weight. He has a Roman-nosed head with beautiful large eyes, an arching neck, a short back with strong withers, and a thick mane and tail. He can come in any color or combination of colors, including white, pinto, and palomino.

The Paso Fino name means “fine step.” It’s a perfect title for a horse that’s prized for his smooth, natural, four-beat amble. This is a lively horse that has a pleasant disposition with the desire to please his master. The Paso Fino has three different dominant gaits, all dependent on how fast he’s moving. But in each gait, all four hooves travel close to the ground while he’s in motion. At whatever speed he travels, the smoothness of the gait ideally allows the rider to appear motionless with no bounce. And a smooth ride like that would please any rider. Horse enthusiasts consider the Paso Fino the smoothest ride in the horse world (although owners of Tennessee Walking Horses hotly debate that issue!)

The Paso Fino is a competitive trail horse with both speed and stamina. But he’s much more versatile than that. He often competes in western classes such as trail, barrel racing, versatility, and team penning, and is very popular for trail riding and endurance competitions, driving, and gymkhana. No matter what this spunky horse is doing, he’s got one goal in mind: to do the best he can for his master who is riding him in the ring or down the woodsy trail.

Speaking of doing the best for the master, have you ever thought about God as your Master? An old hymn entitled “Give of Your Best to the Master” reminds us that we do have a Lord who should be the King of our lives. Everything we say and do should focus on trying to please God.

A master is someone in charge…someone who has authority over someone else. Our wonderful God is the Master of the Universe; yet, he loves us and wants us to live for him every day to show Him how much we love Him.

Sadly, sometimes we decide to run our own lives. We think we know better than God and want to become our own boss. Going our own way away from God’s instructions (the Bible) always leads to trouble.

As a Christian young person, if you love Jesus with your whole heart, then strive to please Him in all you say and do. Be thankful God is your Master, who will always lead you down a path that only has the best in store for your life.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank you for being the Master of my life. I pray that I’ll always let you lead me in the way that is pleasing to You. In Jesus’ name, amen.

SADDLE UP!   (What would God have you do now?)

Think of any “paths” in your life that might not be pleasing to God (examples: not reading your Bible, too much video game time, sassing your parents, being unkind to family or friends). Ask God to help you walk down the right path and always look to Him as your Master:

Take your ride: (Do you know?)  Ladies who ride Paso Finos in parades often wear the “traditional” Spanish garb: a fancy hat, long brightly-colored dresses with layers of ruffles, and high black boots.

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?)  “Ye call Me Master and Lord, and ye say well; for so I am” (John 13:13).


Read about foster kid, Skye Nicholson, and her champion show horse, Champ,

and their exciting adventures in the Keystone Stables Series!




Today’s Horse Fact: The Palomino – Pretty as a Picture

If you want heads to turn your way when you ride by on your horse, then make sure that horse is a Palomino!

The Palomino: Pretty as a Picture

My Palomino Coke

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.”

(Proverbs 25:11)

If you want heads to turn your way when you ride by on your horse, then make sure that horse is a Palomino! Above all other breeds and colors of horses, the Palomino is most likely the one that most folks look for at parades. This equine is all about color. Stunning color!

Palomino horses have a yellow or gold coat with a white or light cream mane and tail. The shades of the coat range from cream to a dark gold. The darkest coats are called “liver” or “chocolate” Palominos. Palominos almost always have dark skin and brown eyes, though some may be born with pinkish skin that darkens with age. Some have slightly lighter brown or amber eyes. They stand between 14 and 17 hands.

No one’s quite sure where or when the Palomino appeared in history. Myths and legends from several countries shroud his beginnings, although the golden horse with the ivory-colored mane and tail appears in paintings and in ancient tapestries in Europe and Asia.

It’s believed the gorgeous Palomino breed dates back at least to the 1400s with her Majesty Isabella de-Bourbon of France, the queen who pawned her jewels so she could fund the expedition which discovered the New World. It’s recorded that she kept a hundred Palominos just because they were her favorites, and she forbid any commoner from owning one. However, we probably should thank Queen Isabella for her passion because she sent a Palomino stallion and five mares to her representative in New Spain (now Mexico) sometime during her reign, and from there, the Palominos spread into Texas and California. Cortes also brought some of the queen’s Palominos with him to America in 1519. Some of them, or their offspring, eventually escaped and contributed to the golden colors common in Mustangs.

Horse enthusiasts call the Palomino a color breed because his color is found in almost every other breed of horse. Quarter Horses make up about fifty percent of registered Palominos. Thoroughbreds, American Saddle Horses, Arabians, Morgans, Standardbreds, and Tennessee Walking Horses make up the rest. Therefore, the Palomino is considered a multi-purpose horse, admired for his beauty as well as his versatility and endurance. You can find him in ranching, racing, rodeos, parades, shows, fiestas, trail riding, and jumping.

The name “Palomino” comes from a royal family in Spain, the Palominos. While Palomino organizations describe the ideal color as that of a brand new shiny gold coin, a wide range of gold, tan, and brown shades are all acceptable.  And because of their distinct colors, Palominos are extremely popular for the show ring and parades. Many horse lovers say, “Palominos are as pretty as a picture!”

Do you know what else the Bible says is as pretty as a picture? Kind words.

God’s Word has dozens of verses that tell us how important our words are. Words reveal what’s in our hearts, whether we have kind thoughts toward others or nasty thoughts. Words can encourage a friend, or words can hurt like a knife going into someone’s heart. The book of James tells us that our tongue can be a blessing or can be like fire. How do you use your tongue? Have you ever said anything you wished you could take back because they hurt someone?

As a Christian, you should want to use your words to cheer up others.  If Jesus is your Savior, He can give you the right words to say in every situation.  Then you’ll be known as a young person who is kind and tenderhearted.

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me be a blessing to others with the words I say. Help me to control angry thoughts so they don’t spill out of my mouth. In Jesus’ name, amen.

SADDLE UP!   (What would God have you do now?)

Think back over the last few days. Are there any nasty words you said to anyone? If so, think of some people you might have hurt with your words. Then ask God to help you be kind enough to apologize to those folks.

Take your ride: (Do you know?)  One of the most famous Palominos was Trigger, known as “the smartest horse in movies,” the beautiful horse of cowboy star Roy Rogers. Another famous Palomino was Mister Ed, who starred on his own TV show in the 1960s. His real name was Bamboo Harvester.

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?)  “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).


Read about foster kid, Skye Nicholson, and her champion show horse, Champ,

and their exciting adventures in the Keystone Stables Series!

Today’s Horse Facts: The Norwegian Fjord

The Norwegian Fjord (Fēˈôrd) is one of the oldest and purest breeds of horses. It’s believed he has his roots in western Norway for more than 4,000 years.

The Norwegian Fjord: A Distinct Appearance!

To see a picture of this horse go to 

“Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.”

(Proverbs 20:11)

            The Norwegian Fjord (Fēˈôrd) is one of the oldest and purest breeds of horses. It’s believed he has his roots in western Norway for more than 4,000 years. History records the Vikings embracing him as early as 2000 B.C. In more modern times, Norwegian hill farmers used these horses, (often called ponies), as little draft animals for plowing and carriage driving. However, as with most horses of this caliber, the Fjord can be found in competition worldwide such as dressage, jumping, eventing, and competitive driving.

Although he’s considered a mini draft horse, the Fjord has smooth gaits, not high knee action like many draft horses. Because of his smooth ride and a pleasant temperament, he’s a popular riding horse. He’s great with children and special needs folks at Norwegian riding and therapeutic schools.

Fjords range in size from 13.2 to 14.2 hands and weigh between 900 and 1200 pounds when full-grown, but that’s not what gives them a distinct appearance. They’re all shades of dun (tan), mostly gray and buckskin. But yellow duns are very rare. The breed standards accept five different shades of dun, recognized in Norway since 1922. He can have no white markings except a small star on the forehead. In 1982, the Norwegian Fjord Horse Association made a rule that stallions of any age with any other white markings than a small white star cannot be accepted for breeding.

But now we get to the really distinct characteristics. Some Fjord horses have small brown spots on their heads or bodies. These “Njal marks” are named after one of the foundation sires of the Fjord breed, who had such markings. Many Fjords have zebra stripes on their withers and legs. The hooves are most often dark but can be a lighter brown color on light-colored horses. The feet sometimes have feathering, but that’s discouraged by Fjord breeders.

Next, Norwegian Fjord Horses have a black “dorsal” stripe that starts on the top of their heads (the forelock) then runs down through their manes and down the middle of their backs to their tails. Another unique characteristic is the Fjord’s mane. Because of the dorsal stripe, the hair at the roots of the mane is dark (usually black) but the outer hair is white. Fjord owners usually cut the mane very short so all the hair stands up straight. Sometimes it’s trimmed in a crescent shape to emphasize the horse’s graceful, curved neck.  Other times, the mane can be trimmed in different patterns to display the obvious dark stripe.

And that’s not all! The Fjord breed’s conformation differs from many other breeds, and you can instantly identify a Fjord when you see him. Besides his strong, arched neck, he has sturdy legs and a solid body with lots of muscles. He has large eyes and small ears, and with a flat forehead, his face then appears straight or slightly dished. In the winter, his coat resembles that of a teddy bear because it grows long and thick.

Do you agree that the Norwegian Fjord Horse has a distinct appearance, which makes him so easy to identify? How about you? Do you have a distinct appearance, which makes you easy to identify as a Christian?

Your appearance doesn’t necessarily mean the way you comb your hair or the way you dress, although your physical “appearance” should be modest and God-honoring. Instead, the word can refer to your demeanor or behavior.

How do you act when things don’t go your way? Are you stubborn? Do you throw tantrum fits? Are you bossy, especially to siblings or other family members?  Do you have friends, or do other kids avoid you?

If your answers to any of these questions indicate a problem with your behavior, today can be the time to ask God to help you change. God is willing and able to help you with any problem you have. If you’re a Christian, the Holy Spirit is inside of you, and He’s always ready to guide you to your best behavior. All you need to do is ask.

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to have a distinct appearance (behavior) so that everyone around me knows I am a Christian. In Jesus’ name, amen.

SADDLE UP!   (What would God have you do now?)

Think about your behavior over the last few days. Were there things you did that you’d like to change? Think hard about those things and ask God to help you change:

Take your ride: (Do you know?)  Fjord Horses have two-toned manes and tails. Lighter hairs are on the outside edges of the mane and edges of the tail, and darker colors are close to the skin.

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?)  “I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way” (Psalm 101:2a).


Read about foster kid, Skye Nicholson, and her champion show horse, Champ,

and their exciting adventures in the Keystone Stables Series!