The Sable Island Horse comes from the Sable Island, a sandbar off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada. Although no one is quite sure how they came to such a remote place, many people believe that French colonists, who colonized the area in the mid 1700s, purchased a small herd horses to use in their farming settlement on the island.
Between the years 1755 and 1763, thousands of French colonists were forced off of the Sable Island by the British, leaving their horses behind. For the next few decades, the horses remained on the island, thriving without any influence, for good ir bad, by humans. Occasionally, a few would be taken to work in the coal mines on the nearby Cape Breton Island, but other than that they were completely isolated from mankind.
|A group of Sable Island Horses. credit|
However, in the early 1800s, draft horses were brought to the area to work at stations helping shipwrecked people. In the 1900s, stock horses were brought to the area and introduced into the feral herds. People began rounding the horses up and sending them to the slaughter. Consequently, the number of purebred Sable Island Horses began to decline, getting as low as 300 by the 21st century. Now, the island is a wildlife reserve, and the horses are protected by the a law as of 1960.
Breed Description and Uses
Because the Sable Island Horses are the descendents are various breeds of horses, they can be quited diverse. They do have things in common, though. All of them are small, standing from 13 to 15.2 hands high, and seem to be genetically similar to horses on the mainland. Some of them have straight profiles, while others have concave, Arab-like faces. Most come in dark colors.