Since 1926, the Canadian Sport Horse Association (originally called the Canadian Hunter and Light Horse Improvement Society) has been registering and identifying sport horses, defined as horses capable of competing in dressage, jumper, eventing or hunter. It is Canada’s oldest indigenous sport horse “breed” registry. Originally they were bred by combining hot bloods such as Thoroughbreds and Arabians with colder draft horses, with European warmbloods added in the mid-1900s. The CSHA is incorporated under Agriculture Canada’s Animal Pedigree Act as an Evolving Breed, which provides breeders the flexibility to plan breeding programs based on market trends and genetic science.

Some notable CSHA-registered horses competing at the top levels of their sport include Foxwood High (Rio Bronco x Evita II), bred by Kingridge Stables, owned by John and Judy Rumble and ridden by Selena O’Hanlon at the 2014 WEG in France and the Pan Am Games in Mexico in 2011. ‘Woody’ and Selena made history in 2018 by being the first Canadians to win the Fair Hill International CCI***.

Fellow eventer Waylon Roberts campaigns Lancaster (Yavari x Indorado), bred by Ashland Farm and owned by John and Michelle Koppin. The pair earned two top-10 placings in the US at the CCI4* level in 2019.

Show jumping athlete Tienna (For Pleasure x Bequia), bred by the late Sue Grange, owned by Ariel Grange Somes and ridden by Daniel Coyle, won the ATB Financial Cup CSI5* at Spruce Meadows in 2018 and in 2019 took the $36,000 D. Elliman 1.45 m at WEF and the $25,000 Grand Prix at Caledon Equestrian Park. Another CSH, Lavender ZF (Laurinn x Illusion), bred by Zeidler Farm, is now competing internationally for China.

Over the past 15 years, the CSHA has become fully compliant under the Animal Pedigree Act and the studbook structure has been designed so breeders can modernize their programs to produce competitive horses with some of the best sport bloodlines available in the world.

Foreseeable Future

According to CSHA national director Paul Morgan, one of the association’s big goals has been accomplished: Canadian Sport Pony, administered by the CSHA, has become an official registry under the Animal Pedigree Act. While the registry has been in existence for half a dozen years, it’s now incorporated as an Evolving Breed. This will be of great benefit to breeders who want to breed and register sport-type ponies. Canadian Sport Pony isn’t meant to compete with other pony registries such as Welsh or Connemara, but to add to the characteristics those breeds bring to the table.