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Rawlinson Brothers

Calgary Alberta

In 1882, Christopher and Arthur Rawlinson, left from their home at Hawkeshead, in England's Lake district, and established a farming operation in the newly opened territory now known as Alberta, Canada.

They acquired a large property at that time located 11 miles north of the town of Calgary along the Bow River. With them came four Hackney horses from England.

The horses spent the first few weeks crossing the Atlantic, arriving in Montreal. From Montreal, they were loaded on the westbound train for a five-day ride to Medicine Hat, Alberta, the furthest point west offering rail service. From this point, they were trailed in a herd by guides following the stagecoach and wagon trail across the Prairie to the Calgary. Once a homestead was established and facilities to house livestock were constructed, a suitable ranch house was constructed . An english butler, housekeepers, and a chinesse cook also were hired to operate the ranch house overlooking the property.

More livestock arrived in 1883, chosen from the leading breeders in England and made the journey to Alberta.

The Hackney breeding operation continued expand yearly, with mares and stallion imported on a regular basis. Mares were also purchased in eastern Canada, with offspring being inspected and approved for registry in the Canadian Hackney studbook. Over 60 registrations are listed in Volume 1 of the Canadian Hackney Society Studbook.

Some of the outstanding offspring that was produced included the stallion Saxon, and a mare Priscilla, both being Grand Champion at the 1904 St. Louis World Fair for owner Robert Beith. Robin Adair II, imported in 1891 sired a great number of foals, was sold to Robert Beith in 1901, was exhibited at the National Horse Show in New York, twice winning Grand champion stallion. Following his first victory at New York, Mitchell Harrison, Philadelphia took possession of Robin Adair II at a price reported to be $6500.

The farm operated on a large scale until 1907 when 159 Hackneys were sold by auction. Buyers from Ontario, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan were joined by local buyers to take advantage of the quality stock being offered. The sale realized over $50,000. Also sold was the ranch property.

Christopher and Arthur returned to Cumberland in England, then to the Barbados where they purchased a Rum factory.

In 1909, they returned to Alberta. Summers were in Alberta, winters in warmer climates. They never did return to breeding Hackneys. Arthur passed away in 1926, Christopher in 1943.

The Rawlinson Brothers did much to popularize the Hackney horse in developing years of Canada's western provinces.

(Inducted March 2010)

Robin Adiar II. - owned by the Rawlinson Brothers 

Robin Adiar 
Copyright Glenbow Museum

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