Terry Jenkins is best known as Captain and Founder of the Canadian Cowgirls and owner of TJ Stables, an entry level Riding Centre and Therapy program in Chatham. She has recently acquired a small herd of rare and critically endangered Ojibway Spirit Horses also known as the Lac La Croix Indian Pony.
Thousands of Ojibway Spirit Horses ran free in north America particularly around the great lakes area. Indigenous Elders tell of these little horses of the Big Woods and that were always here. It is thought, to be the only existing breed of horse developed by Indigenous people in Canada without influence of Spanish or settlers’ horses. They were traditionally used for hauling logs, fish nets and ice, checking trap lines, and riding.
Due to colonization, these “Indian Ponies” were considered worthless and systematically eradicated from native culture, their spiritual teachings, mobility and the independence of First Nations people.
In 1977 the numbers dwindled to only 4 ponies left in the world. They were rescued from extinction by 5 men in an action resembling a heist movie. They loaded the horses onto a trailer and drove them across the frozen lake to a private property in Minnesota where a breeding effort was launched that continues today.
Rhonda Snow, awarded as Keeper of the Spirit Horses by Rare breeds Canada, brought the Ponies back to Northern Ontario and listened as Elders told her the oral stories of the ponies passed down thru the generations. Snow documented the pony’s stories on canvas thru her woodland Art which she includes in her presentations.
This presentation is a small glimpse of the Native way of life thru storytelling and drumming and song and the harmony of survival the ponies played in the lives of The First Nations People.