Saturday, January 10, 2015


Genetic Study of Chilcotin's Wild Horses - discover some new esl vocabulary!

A recent article in the Vancouver Sun gave us some interesting insights into the ancestry of our Cayuse horses here at the ranch. Almost all of our horses have been ranging freely in the Chilcotin region of B.C. before they were tamed and brought to us.

One of our horses, Fortress, doesn't mind the cold weather thanks to her thick winter fur. Did she inherit it from her Russian ancestors?
Here is a short summary of the article, with plenty new esl vocabulary to get you ready to meet our Cayuse horses:

The study was conducted on a small herd of 150 to 200 wild horses in the Brittany Triangle, 120 km southwest of Williams Lake. The results indicate a strong tie between the wild horses and the Canadian horse and to a lesser extend also to the Siberian Yakut horse.
In the 17th century, King Louis XIV of France introduced his own horses to help with the French settlement in North America. These horses were heavy breeds like the Percheron, Belgian, Breton and Dales Pony and their genes contributed to the strong and well-muscled appearance of the Canadian horse. By 1784, estimations for this breed were at around 30,000 animals whereas today it consists of only 2,500. It has been believed for a long time that all Canadian wild horses originated from the horses Spanish explorers brought to North America in the 1500's but recent DNA analysis of the Brittany Triangle horses revealed that this herd was isolated from any Spanish influences. Instead, most recent findings pointed out that there is a connection to the Siberian Yakut horse. These small, compact horses are adapted to a live above the arctic circle with a thick coat, long mane and short wide feet to stand against the cold Siberian winter. Their perfect adaptation is reflected by the disappearance of external nipples in females because they would freeze off in the cold weather. The breast tissue secretes milk directly when the foal presses against it.

Photography from “The Yakut Horse” , Travel book by Jegor Makarov

DNA samples from 99 horses of the Brittany herd showed that there is an average resemblance of 70 percent to the Canadian horse and 10 percent to the Yakut horse. Therefore, their ancestors must have been immigrating from the French settlements in eastern Canada as well as through aboriginal routes from the Russian fur-trading settlements in Alaska. The study suggested that the Chilcotin people might have started acquiring horses through trading by 1740.

You can find the full newspaper article here.


About Unknown

We are a licensed guide outfitter and we conduct guided wilderness adventures throughout our 5,000 square km operating area. This guide area has been operational since 1880, making it the oldest in British Columbia. More about us HERE.

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