Breed Report: Canadian Cutting Horse

Canada does not have any indigenous horse breeds, but it does have a thriving horse breeding industry.

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Cattle ranching is a big business in Canada, still employing a large numbers of horses for ranch work.  And while the country does not have any indigenous horse breeds, but it does have a thriving horse breeding industry.  The Canadian Cutting Horse has evolved from this industry to meet the needs of the ranch owners.

ORIGIN:  Canada

ENVIRONMENT:  Mountains and open habitat including grassland, moor and heath

USES:  Riding and ranch work

HEIGHT:  15.2 to 16.1 hh (62 to 65 in)

COLORS:  Black, brown, chestnut, dun, gray, bay and palomino


The main aim of the Canadian Cutting Horse Association is to promote the sport of cutting cattle, that is, separating a specified animal from a herd.  The Association does not have a closed studbook, so the bloodlines of this horse are not specified.  It is left to the horse to prove that he has the necessary attributes to cut cattle.


Most Canadian Cutting Horses carry a high percentage of Quarter Horse blood.  In turn, the Quarter Horse evolved from the Spanish Horse, from which both these breeds inherit their ” cow sense”.  In cutting competitions, once the selected cow is split from the herd, the rider drops the reins and leaves the horse to “mark” the cow and prevent it rejoining the herd.  The horse’s agility, stamina, and intelligence enable it to outmaneuver a cow.

Cutting horse featured


The well-proportioned head of the Canadian Cutting Horse is set on a gently arched neck.  The shoulders are sloping and powerful, the chest broad and deep, and the hindquarters immense and powerful.

Debby Sly: Encyclopedia of Horses.  Bath, UK 2008, p. 203

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