Rivers of Gold – excerpts: part 12

(When we moved the riding horses from Windfields Toronto estate to the Oshawa farm, they were housed in a loafing shed just across the lane from the mares.  Indeed, long-time farm manager, Peter Poole, made every effort to ensure the riding horses, and their care-taker/rider, were well-cared for.  The riding horses dozed in the shelter in straw almost up to their bellies; hay racks overflowed; a heating gizmo kept the water fountain flowing; they were fed twice a day; and could wander in and out at will.)

Rivers of Gold

“… In the early years, Windfields foals and yearlings were turned out during the day and returned to their comfortable stalls at night.  Based on how well the mares and older horses fared essentially living outdoors during the winter, management decided to see how it would affect the youngsters.

Like the mares and riding horses, the foals appeared to prefer being outdoors plowing through snow up to their bellies.  I often saw them slipping and sliding as they merrily chased one another about their ice and snow-covered fields.

Federico Tesio proffered that Thoroughbreds run on lungs and heart.  There can be little doubt that the experience of living out of doors, constantly on the move, would have a positive effect on the lung and heart capacity of Windfields youngsters.

Thoroughbred racehorses are faced with a range of challenges and stresses: from pollution to air travel.  As elite athletes, they need to be physically omnipotent to prevail at optimum efficiency.  While there is no scientific data to confirm my suspicion that our Canadian climate has factored in the creation of a new strain of Thoroughbred hybrid – more resilient, certainly tougher – it is certainly fodder for thought.

Nor is it a stretch to consider that horses descending from these Canadian genetic streams have something extra in their makeup – especially considering the superior quality of these animals.”

Harry Green and Northern Dancer. Windfields 1967 (toronto Star photo)

…to be continued


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