Welcome to the Hackney Hall of Fame.  This section of our web site is dedicated to the greatest horses, ponies, exhibitors, breeders and trainers that have made an impact on the Hackney in Canada

Senator Matthew Henry Cochrane


Matthew Henry Cochrane was born on a farm near Compton Quebec in 1823.  The son of an Irish immigrant, he left Quebec for Boston, where he was took up employment in many different large scale manufacturing concerns. Saving enough money to return to Montreal, he established what would become of one the largest boot and shoe manufacturing firms in the Dominion.  This successful enterprise allowed him to establish Hillhurst Farm in 1864. He imported large numbers of sheep, cattle and horses, expanding his farms to include 1100 acres.  In 1872, Sir John A McDonald appointed him to the Canadian Senate, and he served in that capacity until his death in 1903.
His first Hackney horses arrived in 1881, and like all his ventures, it was on a large scale.  Yearly importations of the best stallions and mares arrived at Hillhurst. Senator Cochrane sent horses, cattle and sheep to the biggest fairs and shows to promote the superior stock, often selling out and sending word back to Quebec to ship more livestock far off destinations where they were competing. Others travelled to Compton to view the breeding stock.  Hillhurst is recognized as being Canada's earliest Hackney stud, selling horses throughout North America.
In 1880, he worked toward establishing the beef cattle industry in Alberta, leasing one hundred thousand of acres of grazing land.  The Cochrane Ranche Company was formed in 1881 and became Alberta's first large scale ranch.  The town of Cochrane, Alberta was named after the man who played such an important part in Alberta's agricultural development. By 1903 and the time of M. H. Cochrane's death, all his empire had been sold off.  Canada's first large scale livestock farming operations had come to an end.

(Inducted April 2016)

Click on the CHS Logo to return to the main CHS web page