The Minstrel: the golden colt shows his true grit

At the moment I am in the final stages of my latest book, Secret Life of Horses, born of my 12 year tenure as rider-in-residence at Windfields Farm estate, home of Eddie EP and Winifred Taylor.

EP Taylor and the author

(Windfields also home to Northern Dancer, and Nearctic and Nijinsky and The Minstrel, etc., etc.)

While there are countless challenges to writing a memoir, what I find most remarkable is the opportunity to revisit the past, from the perspective of the future.  For example: little did any of us know that The Minstrel would play such a pivotal role in the history of Thoroughbred horse racing.

Perhaps the only person to really see The Minstrel’s brilliance was Taylor.   But then, I would learn through writing about the man; and spending time working with him in creating the Jockey Club of Canada; and riding around the estate and environs with him; and travelling with him and his extraordinary wife; that when it came to seeing horses – from the inside out;  Eddie Taylor was like a human diving rod.

Meanwhile back at The Golden Colt from Rivers of Gold:  “..The day the colt (The Minstrel) was to leave for the Keeneland Sale Rolph de Gannes (Windfields resident vet) and his assistant set out to administer precautionary traveling medications.  At the time the belief was that the stress of long distance transport would cause shipping fever or a build-up of bad bacteria in the intestines of the horse.  Standard procedure was to line the stomach with oil which was passed into the animal’s system via a tube.

The colt fought and fought.  Eventually de Gannes and his assistant simply gave up before someone got hurt.  The colt was walked up the ramp to the waiting van.  The destiny of the Thoroughbred was about to take a turn and our Rivers of Gold would overflow their banks.  This golden colt would show the world what our Canadian hybrid horses were made of….”

…to be continued


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