Monday, 16 August 2010 14:10

25 Years Ago Winter/Early Spring 1983

Written by  Maurice Telleen
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(From general news sources, the Spring 1983 Draft Horse Journal and the various breed publications of the time.)

The Spring 1983 issue was a 156-page magazine, considered large for the DHJ in those days. It was a very interesting mix of old and new, so much so that this segment might run a tad long. With so many of the old horsemen still around, coupled with the big time infusion of young and enthusiastic breeders, it was in many respects the best of times–at least for us. The draft horse had been rediscovered.

It was our second designated brood mare issue. The inaugural brood mare issue the previous year had celebrated several outstanding mare families that had been put together at Charley Orndorff's farm in Pennsylvania. For our second brood mare story we went north to Canada. John Lester, then a young man from Lindsay, Ontario, was doing some good writing for us in those days so we just kind of left it up to him. I liked John's opening paragraph so well that I'm going to rerun it right here: "I remember quite clearly the first time I met S.G. "Sinc" Nesbitt. It was in 1962 and I was 5 years old. My dad (who was and still is Sinc's veterinarian) perched me on an extremely high yellow wagon and we rode in the Bobcaygeon Fair Parade. About all I can remember about the horses are their names–Lady and Brenda. Little did I think that some twenty years later, I would be writing about Lady as a featured Canadian brood mare." Conqueror's Silver Lady was bred by Charley Orndorff, yep–the same one we had written about in our brood mare feature the previous year.

Well, anybody who knew both Charley and Sinc–the seller and buyer, respectfully–would know that both savored the accomplishments of this young mare who was brought up to Canada. She was a very good mare on the line and an absolutely great mare in harness. In short, the kind stories are written about when they are dead and gone. I will run two pictures from the brood mare story of 1983 with the same cutlines we used then. It was a well-written story by John Lester and the two men involved were also top of the line.

And then, to sort of round things out and keep everyone happy, we had a second brood mare story. And you know darn well it would be a Percheron. So Matilda Degas III and Ray and Helen Bast, from Wisconsin, found themselves as the other brood mare story. We will run a couple pictures and cutlines from that one too.

Ray Bast served on the Percheron board for over 30 years–including 18 years as president. That included some very lean years. No one had reason to be more proud of that new office building than Ray.

There was also an important 50 Year Celebration that took place in 1983. On December 5, 1933, the repeal of the 18th Amendment that prohibited all alcoholic beverages took place. The Clydes had "work to do" … delivering the product.

Since this is an all-breed magazine we couldn't very well let the Belgians and Percherons have all the fun. And since Anheuser-Busch was then celebrating fifty years of product promotion with their Clydesdale hitches, we find ourselves looking at no less than twelve pages of Clydesdale/Budweiser text and photos. We are going to reproduce a few of the pictures from that spread too.

Now, that is an awful lot of horse history to be packed into one old dog-eared (by now) issue–and we haven't said a word about national or world affairs and politics. I think that is part of my duty as I understand it.

So I hearby dutifully recognize any and all history nuts by mentioning that Margaret (better known as Maggie) Thatcher won a landslide victory at the polls 25 years ago and that she would be the prime minister of Great Britain for the next twenty-five years. And, as all of you know, Maggie lived in and governed the nation that is the historic home of the Shire horse. There, we got four of the six recognized breeds of draft horses mentioned in just one old issue of this magazine.

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