Until 1994 these horses had open reign on the Suffield military base in southeastern Alberta, moving freely across one of the largest block of native prairie in the world. The Government had expropriated the land in 1941 from the ranches who had established successful operations more than thirty years earlier. It was then used by the British military for training.
Up to the mid-1960's the horses on the British Block were loosely managed by local ranchers. During this time plenty of good old line Quarter horse, Thoroughbred and other breeds, as well as sound usable ranch horses were turned out. In about 1965 the military fenced the base, cutting off access to the herds for local ranchers. From then until the roundup in 1994, the horses survived unmanaged. They started out as high quality stock and natural selection did its thing, resulting in phenomenal horses.
In the early 1990's the military decided the horses were damaging the grass and had to be controlled. After plenty of discussion it was decided to round them up and disperse them.
The round up of the horses on the British Block could have been the end of them were it not for a few horsemen who recognized the historical significance and the genetic quality that they had. Some people who adopted horses from the roundup joined together to promote and preserve the unique Block Horse bloodlines. Every horse recorded is totally authentic, documented back to the roundup.
There are things about these horses too precious not to preserve. They are historically unique and this can never happen again. These horses are something that nature produced. They are however, more than just an historical curiosity. They are unique horses that have resulted from domesticated stock being exposed to decades of natural selection.
The intelligence and instincts of the Block Horses are being passed on to their offspring. It's in there so deep they don't have to learn it. What took place on the British Block will never be completely known. We now know that Mother Nature did in deed do some great things in the production of the Block Horse. Our goal is to preserve them in their natural state.
These horses were always referred to as "the horse on the Block" or the "Block horses", in the area of southeastern Alberta, Canada, where they originated. Hence the name Block Horse. These horses can never be called a breed under the pedigrees Act, Agriculture Canada, due to the obvious fact that they are a mixture and combination of many breeds. In conformation, there are differences, but in intelligence and strengths, there is consistency.
Under the guidance of David Trus, head of agriculture Canada, Livestock Division, we have been advised that when we prove that these horse breed and hold these strengths and their intelligence, we can be recognized as an Historical Horse with a common denominator: the British Block.
Group spokesman: Arnold McKee, Oyen, AB Phone 403 664-2046