Brandon in the 1880’s established itself as the draft horse center on the Prairies and became the headquarters for many leading Canadian horse dealers such as Colquhoun and Beattie, Trotter and Trotter, Alexander Galbraith, J.B. Hogate, J.A. McMillan, Ben Finlayson, J.D. McGregor and others. How Brandon managed to attract a large number of horse dealers is a combination of factors. Brandon had good rail connections east and west plus as the largest town in the area Brandon attracted settlers into Brandon on a regular basis. Brandon also benefited from the settlement pattern of the time. Settlers had to travel well west of Winnipeg in the 1880s to obtain homestead land due large blocks of land being unavailable in the area between Winnipeg and Brandon because of purchase by speculators, being reserved for various ethnic groups or as a result of land grants to the Canadian Pacific Railway.
When the flood of settlers on to the Prairies began in earnest in the period 1895 to 1914, there was a correspondingly large increase in demand for draft horses, the predominant source of power on the farm in that period. Brandon was well positioned to fill this demand. Brandon horse dealers brought in stallions and mares from Scotland, England, France, Belgium, Ontario and the USA. The better animals were used for breeding purposes with the offspring sold to farmers. As well farmers would bring their mares into Brandon so they could be mated with a quality stallion that a horse dealer owned. This was a cheap method of improving the blood lines of a farmer’s horses. Stallions being somewhat more unpredictable and less easy to handle were not an animal well suited to a draft horse team and so many farmers would not want to keep a stallion. Lesser quality animals were also purchased by dealers from areas outside the Prairies and resold to Western farmers. While many stories abound of farmers being sold problem horses by unscrupulous horse dealers, some accounts by dealers tell of farmers being somewhat less than truthful when selling horses to the dealer. In one account by a dealer, a farmer was telling the dealer that the horse was in middle age when the dealer informed the farmer that the horse was that age when the dealer brought the animal to the Prairies 10 years previously! It would appear that horse trading was not for the gullible and naïve!
Sacramento Mile Cancelled
The Sacramento Mile, scheduled for July 26 at the Cal Expo in Sacramento, California, has been cancelled.
The news comes this afternoon via a press release from event promoter Bob Bellino.
"This is a very unfortunate turn of events," said Bob Bellino. "We're sorry that we won't be able to host the AMA Pro Flat Track races at the Cal Expo venue this year. There were unexpected complications with the horse racing industry regarding track conditions that have led to the improbable cancelation of the event. It is very disheartening to me that we won't run the Sacramento Mile in 2014