An Ontario woman who was forced to auction off a group of critically rare horses in Manitoba says she's "relieved" after all of them were sold to families across Canada and the U.S.

The 23 horses, including 20 Lac La Croix, or Ojibway ponies, went up for sale in Grunthal, Man. on Saturday.

At least six of the horses were bought by a group of families in Manitoba, including the owner of Aurora Farms.

"I'm really shocked that this turned out so positive. This place is amazing and they did everything they could," said Rhonda Snow, the farmer from Fort Frances, Ont. had rescued the animals in an effort to save the breed, which some estimates say there are only a few dozen left in existence.

Snow was forced to sell the horses as part of her divorce from her husband.

Woman 'relieved' after rare horses auctioned off to farms across Canada, U.S.1:58

"I know this all came down fast and I didn't plan it that way but it was the best thing for the breed and I'm just really, really relieved that all of them went to wonderful, amazing homes," Snow said.

There was concern that some of the horses might have been sold for slaughter, but Snow said she learned that she could refuse to sell if she wanted to.

Louise May owns Aurora Farms. She said she got together with a few other families in order to help save the animals. She says the new owners will do whatever is necessary to preserve the breed.

"That might mean moving them to different places, getting them with the right stallions. Right now is a critical time for the breed, so whatever is necessary is what we'll do," May said.

Ojibway ponies

'They're like my babies,' says Ontario farmer who won award for preserving rare breed. (Lyza Sale/CBC)

With files from Teghan Beaudette