(This chapter is titled “CANADA, HOME OF THE HARDIER HYBRID” And, for me, this is when things really started to get interesting. The pieces were falling into place. Much to my absolute delight I began to understand how Canada and our horses have had such an extraordinary impact on the Thoroughbred breed.)
“… Gregor Mendel’s scientific findings established that the convergence of genetic streams creates a hardier hybrid. I have always wondered if Canada’s northern, and often harsh, climate was also a component in the creation of a more vigorous strain of Thoroughbred? My grandfather, an Irish horseman to the bone, would suggest the answer is Yes. He would remind me of the importance of how and where horses are raised, which would include the terrain, quality of their grazing lands, and the climate.
When Eddie Taylor set out to breed champion Thoroughbreds in Canada his Kentucky friends, to a man, advised him not to even bother trying. Too much ice and snow they warned. Yet at Windfields many of the horses spent bitterly cold winters in loafing sheds. This was not because there were insufficient stalls to accommodate the 500-or-so equine residents.
The rationale was that it was healthier, especially for the mares. Horses are, after all, designed to be constantly on the move. The spacious Windfields structures were enclosed on 3 side with the open end facing south and allowing the mares to wander in and out at will. Hay racks lined the north walls and the entire area was bedded in knee-deep straw. Herds of mares thrived in this environment as did our riding horses. By spring the coats of the older horses were so thick they looked like wooly mammoths.