Public invited to name Bar U’s new residents

The famous Alberta ranch was once home to 1,000 Percherons, 
and Parks Canada wants help naming its newest gentle giants

Parks Canada has acquired a brand new pair of Percheron draft horses at the Bar U Ranch National Historic Site.

Before the horses begin to welcome visitors, we need to name them.

Animals this magnificent deserve equally impressive names, and Parks Canada is inviting the public to submit name suggestions for Bar U’s newest gentle giants.

Anyone can enter, and the person who submits the best-suited names will receive a Parks Canada Family Discovery Pass, good for an entire year of entry to 27 participating national parks and 77 national historic sites across the country.

Submissions will be accepted until Feb. 29. Send your suggestion by email to [email protected], by regular mail at Bar U Ranch National Historic Site, Post Office Box 168, Longview, Alta., T0L 1H0, or tweet to @BarURanchNHS.

You can also submit names to the national historic site’s volunteer group, Friends of the Bar U Historic Ranch Association, on its Facebook page, Friends of the Bar U.

Here are some naming tips. Both horses are male. Short and simple names make it easier to relay driving instructions. Historic or western-inspired names help tell the story and tradition of ranching. The Bar U Ranch is the only Parks Canada administered national historic site commemorating the important role that ranching played in developing Canada and the continuing role it plays as a symbol of our country.

Established in 1882, the Bar U Ranch relied on teams of Percheron horses throughout its history. They hauled feed to cattle during the winter, harvested hay, cultivated fields and helped harvest crops.

In the early part of the 20th century, the second Bar U Ranch owner, George Lane, brought together some of the finest Percheron horses from France and the United States to build the largest and arguably the most famous Percheron herd in the world. At one time, it numbered over 1,000 horses.

“Imagine the sight and sound of Percherons, 1,000 strong, thundering across the fescue pastures at the Bar-U,” said Warren Webber, director of the Friends of the Bar U Historic Ranch Association. “There was nothing else like it in the world. Having Percheron horses on the Bar U today ensures, first and foremost, the conservation and historical connection of this herd.”

After the First World War, young horses from the Bar U contributed much to the development of the Percheron breed in Britain, the U.S., and Japan.

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