Little Horse of Iron

Publisher: Vintage Canada
Part history, part memoir, this tale of Canada’s heritage horse is a moving odyssey into the past — and one man’s heart.

Saving what’s left of our history often falls to a passionate few. This is the case with a group of horse breeders who have pledged to re-establish Canada’s heritage horse, aptly called the Canadian — a breed descended from the Norman horses that took European knights into battle. Habitants of old Quebec called this uncommonly strong breed le petit cheval de fer — the little horse of iron — and in many ways the tumultuous story of this horse mirrors the history of Canada.

Little Horse of Iron tells the story of one man and his horse. At the age of 50, Lawrence Scanlan bought his first horse — a Canadian called Saroma Dark Fox Dali. A spirited and untrained young Canadian gelding, Dali taught Scanlan a great deal about patience, fear and courage. Always candid and often amusing, the year-long diary of their relationship deftly explores the joys and sorrows as both horse and human struggle to trust and understand each other.

Along the way, we meet the people who prize the Canadian horse’s unparalleled contributions over three centuries — on the family farm, on the battlefield, on the race track and in the show ring. Marvellously detailed and rich in character, Little Horse of Iron is a heart-warming celebration of one horse, and of his breed — Canada’s own.



The Sun King sent to New France 2 stallions and 20 mares from the royal stables . . . The ship was much weighed down by its cargo of horses, their ample fodder, 80 maids of honour and 70 workers. “The whole,” wrote one historian, “formed a sort of...
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Advance Praise:
"Lawrence Scanlan does a superb job of depicting the emotional roller coaster he embarks on as he struggles to establish a bond based upon mutual respect and trust with his horse. The book was a true pleasure to read." —Chris Irwin, author of the national bestseller Horses Don't Lie