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NEW FOAL BRINGS HOPE FOR ENDANGERED BREED

Photos courtesy of ORANGE HORSE STUDIO

A rare Ojibwe Horse foal born in Ottowa, Canada
SMOKING HOT: Asemaa means Tobacco, a plant considered to be sacred in indigenous culture

The birth of a baby is always cause for celebration, but the arrival of tiny Asemaa is even more exciting because she is an Ojibwe Horse, a breed indigenous to Canada that was almost driven to extinction.

The Ojibwe Horse is a distant cousin to the British pony and considered to be a spirit animal by the Ojibwe people.

With a height range of between 12hh to 14.2hh, the Ojibwe Horse is typically black, bay or dun with distinctive markings. It is a hardy horse, with smooth-flowing gaits and a reputation for being gentle and intelligent.

Sadly, the Ojibwe Horse population nosedived spectacularly in the 20th century when Indigenous people were prohibited from leaving their reserves without a permit and the government took away their horses to further limit their movement.

The increasing use of motorised transport exacerbated this decline and by 1977 the population was critically low with only only four mares left. At that point, Spanish Mustang stallions were introduced to keep the breed alive.

Today, the Ojibwe Horse remains critically endangered with only 200 or so remaining in Canada and parts of America.

For this reason, every new foal born is a cause for hope and celebration – and the arrival of Asemaa is no exception.

Rare Ojibwe Horse foal and dam in Ottowa, Canada
PROUD MUM: Asemaa was born in March to dam Wishkossiwika whose name translates as Sweetgrass

Born on March 14, 2024 to Wishkossiwika at Mādahòkì Farm in Ottowa, Asemaa’s name means ‘Tobacco,’ one of the four sacred medicine plants in Indigenous culture. 

While this is not the first foal for mum, whose name translates as Sweetgrass, it is the first for stallion Migzi, whose name means Eagle.

Delighted breeder Trina Mather-Simard said: “Each foal is so important, and this one even more so because it’s a new stallion for our herd of Ojibwe spirit horses.”

The breeding of Ojibwe Horses is done with careful attention to bloodlines, with genetic management overseen by Canada’s Ojibwe Horse Society. A typical Ojibwe Horse has a thick mane and tail, and a broad forehead that tapers to a refined muzzle.

They have small, hairy ears and nostril flaps to protect themselves from the harsh Canadian winter. And if Asemaa is anything to go by, they are also cute as a button.



 

 

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