Horses have enabled life on Mackinac Island to flourish since they first hauled Fort Mackinac, Ste. Anne's Church, and other buildings from the mainland, across a frozen Lake Huron, and to the island during the 1700's. In the 1800's, numerous stables were constructed by island families and businesses to shelter a growing horse population that had become critical to the transport of both goods and people. In 1901, the ban of automobiles on the island further strengthened the role of horses in the island community. Horses continue to be a mainstay of island life year-round, with a population of 500 horses in the summer months and a few dozen during the winter.
Mackinac Island is home to a thiving community of equestrians and organizations including 4H and the Mackinac Island Horseman association. Every year, Mackinac Island hosts the Horse Show, a chance for equestrians of all skill level to compete, and the Mackinac Island Festival of the Horse, a celebration of horses and horse culture.