CHHAPS was formed in 2002 to assist in the stewardship of the Canadian Horse, and we have now been in operation for over 20 years. Our mandate is that of member participation, breed education, and the preservation of this historic breed.
To paraphrase Aldo Leopold, the founder of the modern conservation movement, “The first rule of intelligent tinkering is to save all the parts.” The same applies when trying to preserve rare breeds like the Canadian Horse.
The Canadian Horse has a unique genetic legacy, starting with its origins in France and shaped by the Canada’s land and people. Over the centuries, the Canadian Horse developed not only unique physical characteristics, but unique psychological traits as well. He could survive bitterly cold winters, live on short rations, and pull far above his weight, but he was also kind, adaptable, and courageous.
We feel that continuing to emphasize breeding for conformation, versatility, usability, and most importantly temperament is much more important than trying to breed for size, colour or any one discipline. And so, like foundation-stock oriented groups in other breeds such as the Morgan and the Quarter Horse, CHHAPS was founded to ensure the survival of not just the breed, but the qualities that make the Canadian Horse so special.
We recognize that good Canadians come in a range of sizes, types and colors, and indeed value that. Having said that, we want to ensure that all types continue to be valued and preserved, and that some are not lost just because they may not fit “current fashions.” Rather, we encourage the preservation of the breed’s genetic diversity, which is critical to its health and long-term survival.
We’re proud of our breed’s unique history and heritage. Let’s keep a good thing going!
Created in 1895, the Canadian Horse Breeders Association (CHBA) is a federal association incorporated under the Canada’s Animal Pedigree Act (APA). The CHBA’s mission is to register all animals belonging to the Canadian Horse breed; to define, maintain and promote breed standards; and provide services to breeders of Canadian Horses. The CHBA also assists its members via education and information sharing.
When CHHAPS was first formed in 2002, we envisioned a more “hands on” role to increase awareness of Canada’s National Horse through education and in-person events. From its inception, CHHAPS has been a relaxed, informal group whose interests lie with preserving the unique type, temperament and hardiness of the Canadian Horse, and in networking with others of a similar mindset.
Although CHHAPS initially formed as an independent nonprofit society in 2002, we were eventually recognized by the CHBA as a regional district representing British Columbia and the United States.
Today the CHBA no longer formally recognizes the different districts, but does support local, regional, and provincial Canadian Horse associations, including CHHAPS, through education and information sharing, networking, and assisting in breed promotion with grants and coverage in the CHBA newsletter.
Many CHHAPS members are also members of the CHBA. CHHAPS members have served as CHBA directors and advised or served on various committees- such as the drafting of show guidelines, the revision of the CHBA’s Constitution and By-laws, and in helping to ensure that Canadian foals are properly registered or transferred to new owners. Thus, the work of CHHAPS and the CHBA well complement each other to ensure that the Canadian Horse not only survives, but thrives for future generations to love and enjoy.
If you love the Canadian Horse and care about the future of this heritage breed—if you are passionate about preserving the breed’s type, temperament, and hardiness for future generations–CHHAPS may be the organization for you!
Why join CHHAPS? First and foremost, information sharing! With your membership comes an invitation to join our private “members only” Facebook group (or for non-Facebook users, our private email group) where you can share information or ask questions in a supportive, respectful environment. We also share news and information via our quarterly newsletter. Our members collectively have many decades of experience breeding, training, and showing Canadian Horses. Whether you want to share lessons learned or are new to the breed and have many questions, we welcome you to be part of the conversation!
Second, CHHAPS members can participate in multiple programs that recognize and reward your horse’s versatility and performance achievements, no matter where you live. CHHAPS members are spread literally across the continent, so these programs allow all our members, particularly those located in far flung locations, to participate long distance. For more information on these, see the Versatility Award Program, the Performance Award Program and our virtual event, the CHHAPS Challenge.
Finally, members can participate in in-person events sponsored by CHHAPS, including breed demos and booths at equine events, from large regional horse expos to local fairs. CHHAPS members are also eligible to apply for grants to participate in shows, clinics, or other events that increase public awareness of the Canadian Horse. CHHAPS can even supply you with promotional materials and for larger events, loans of our high-quality exhibits.
We encourage the versatility of the breed, and have a wide variety of talents and interests represented in our membership. Some of our members are dedicated horse show enthusiasts, competing in a variety of disciplines including dressage, eventing, working equitation and driving. Others enjoy cattle sorting or penning, trail riding, pack trips or pleasure and family type activities, while some use their horses for work in the backcountry, farm, or ranch. Some are fascinated by the history of the breed, and some are wonderful event organizers. And then there are those who simply enjoy helping out and “meeting and greeting” the public at our events.
We strive to create a welcoming place where the interests and contributions of all are valued and respected, and where no one discipline, type or particular bloodline of horse, or interest is favoured above another. If you have a passion for the Canadian Horse, we welcome you to join us!
Although based and legally incorporated in British Columbia, CHHAPS is not limited to residents of BC, or Canada for that matter. Approximately half of our members hail from the US. Accordingly, we encourage anyone from any geographical area to become a CHHAPS member. If you support our goals, and want to participate in our events and programs, we welcome you to join us!
CHHAPS sponsors events throughout BC and the United States. And we are happy to help facilitate members outside of BC to help organize events in their own regions. Given our far-flung membership, we offer a variety of virtual programs that you can participate in, no matter where you live. For more information on these, see our Versatility Award program, Performance Award Program, and our virtual CHHAPS Challenge.
Absolutely! We welcome anyone with an interest in the breed to join the organization regardless of whether you own a Canadian Horse or not. As a member you will be welcome to attend any and all of our events, and to learn more about the breed. And if you want to volunteer, even better!
We do limit participation in CHHAPS sponsored formal shows and exhibitions only to purebred Canadian Horses registered with the Canadian Livestock Records Corporation (CLRC). However, all registered purebred and part-bred Canadians (the latter being registered with the CAN ID program) are welcome to participate in both our Versatility and Performance award programs. Horses of all breeds are welcome to participate in the CHHAPS Challenge, and in most of our informal events.
With your membership comes an invitation to join our private “members only” Facebook group, or for non-Facebook users, our private email group. We encourage participation, networking among like minded Canadian Horse owners and the asking of questions and sharing of information in our friendly, supportive, and informative forums. You will also be subscribed to our emailed quarterly newsletter. Links to member websites can be posted on our CHHAPS website if desired.
CHHAPS members can participate in a variety of different types of events sponsored by our organization. This may include competing at a CHHAPS Sponsored show or clinic, staffing an information booth, bringing your horse to a promotional event, as well as organizing or participating in breed demos. For more information, see Events.
CHHAPS members are also eligible to apply for grants that provide assistance for attending clinics, shows, and exhibitions that further our goals of increasing public awareness of the Canadian Horse. Click for more information on our Grant and Sponsorships program.
Yes! You are welcome to join CHHAPS if you support our goals and are interested in participating in our events, unique programs, and initiatives–no matter what other organizations you belong to. Many CHHAPS members are also members of our national organization, the Canadian Horse Breeders Association (CHBA), other regional Canadian Horse organizations (for example, CHARMD) or other local groups with different, but complementary missions such as the Canadian Horse Rescue and Rehoming Society (CHRRS).
Since CHHAPS has its own unique mandate and goals, we’re not in conflict or competition with any provincial or local Canadian Horse groups. Rather, our organization strives to complement the work of other groups both in helping to preserve and educate people about this heritage breed.
Yes. The Canadian horse is listed as critically endangered by The Livestock Conservancy and Equus Survival Trust. They also appear on Heritage Livestock Canada’s conservation list.
Although the population is currently estimated to be about 6,000 Canadian Horses in
existence, the reality is that this is likely a significant over-estimation. Breed census surveys
indicate that the breed population is likely less than this, as horse deaths have often not been
And unfortunately all too often, registration paperwork has either been lost, not completed or
not transferred, essentially losing these horses to the breed. Estimates of losses to the breed
due to this reason range as high as 30%.
In addition, many mares have been sold to non-breeding homes so fewer foals are being born.
This has resulted in the number of new registrations falling to between 100 and 150 per year
for the past several years. The number of foal registrations is now slowly starting to creep up
again, however we are a long way from being out of the woods. To maintain current breed
numbers, approximately 500 foals need to be born each year. Sadly, there are simply not
enough new Canadian Horses being born and registered to replace those naturally being lost.