About the Breed
They formerly ran in great herds throughout Canada's boreal forest belt; herds were reported to have numbered in the
thousands. Yet, by the late 20th century they were reduced to just FOUR. Their numbers had been decimated by non-indigenous people who shot them to sell for dog food or destroyed them for 'moral' reasons.
In 1977, Bizhiki, Dark Face, Diamond Face and Lillian were the sole remaining representatives protected by the Ojibwe people of Lac La Croix First Nation. In an effort to halt the path to extinction, the four mares were collected and spirited away to Minnesota where the last few were offered sanctuary.
From The Four, the breed has been carefully stewarded and increased to more than 200. Thanks to the dedicated work of a small group of allies, the horse has returned to the land they once roamed in freedom. The Ojibwe Horse remains CRITICALLY ENDANGERED and will not continue without committed and conscientious support.
It is our mission at With a Twist Ranch to increase the genetic footprint of this indomitable little horse and return the knowledge of Indigenous Horses to the People that first shared this land with them. We seek to re-establish and strengthen the close connection of all Indigenous people of Turtle Island to these horses. It is our hope and prayer, with the help of Our Creator, that the restoration of what was so nearly lost will assist in reconciliation and help heal The People and the Horses.
The Ojibwe Horse, although belonging to ALL Indigenous People of Canada, is named for the last keepers of these sacred animals, the Anishinaabeg of Northern Ontario.
Historically, the Horses belonged to no one and were seen as spirit animals and helpers. In keeping with, and respect for, this understanding we chose to be referred to as the Caretakers of the Horses.
The breed is formerly and variably known as the Lac La Croix Indigenous Pony, Ojibway Pony or Horse , Ojibwe Pony or Horse, and the Little Horse of the Big Woods.