Spirit of the Times May 21, 1842. (published weekly in New York city, William T Porter, editor)
“The borders of the St. Lawrence itself, and the smaller streams that flow in to it, are covered with ice of the required quality through a great part of the long winters. The activity and hardihood of the French horses, and the pleasure-seeking disposition of their owners, have contributed to establish this diversion for the more tedious and unemployed half of the year. Here, then, is a whole country, the only one abundantly gifted by nature with the best of ground for training to a trot, and possessing the essential requisite of an almost perfect breed of horses for the purpose, devoted – and obliged by rigorous circumstances to be devoted – for amusement to a sport, which, by increasing the value of the trained and successful horses, goes directly to enrich the people. The animals employed in this diversion need not be kept, like the thoroughbred racer, at an enormous expense exclusively for the purpose. They are the everyday work horse of the country, and true and strong, and, and slow if required, as oxen. I own one of these with a with a head of iron and a heart of steel. He is now picking his way singly among the stumps and roots of newly cleared land, with a row at his heels that would tease many a goodly pair of coach horses if attached to their traces. …
These are the horses that yield both sport and profit to the inhabitants of Canada; and small and rude as they show, these are the horses whose blood when crossed on the large female stock of our immediate southern neighbours, has helped to give celebrity to the horses of Vermont, and produced soem of the best animals for work or speed, and even of the largest size, known to the farmer or turfman of New York. There is no reason why they may not produce as great - ay, greater improvement on the business horses of the United States than the small Arabians have on the racing stock of England.
To say that, in the business horses, strength, speed, size, action, hardiness, courage, patience, etc, are all required, is not to state the matter with regard to breeding, so strongly as to urge that the powerful fast trotter is the pattern and perfection of the business horse; for he must have nearly all the required qualities in excess, and a constitution in the bargain. Now fast trotters are only produced in abundance and perfection in the North; because 1st, the ice is their school; 2nd, for a multitude to engage, compete and succeed in any pursuit, there must be a pleasure in its practice; which is only the case in trotting where the sleigh is the vehicle; how would a southern gentleman feel after bestriding a rough going colt at speed on so jolting a gait as the trot, and how would the colt feel after carrying so jolting a burden in that sweaty climate? 3rd, because of the propensity to fatten, which gives the horse weight and muscular power for the moving of loads, far superior to that of the racer, accustomed to go at his greatest speed. This fattening is said to be indigenous to cold regions; the deposit under the skin seeming to be a natural provision against the severity of the climate. 4th, because of the bracing or stimulating effect of cold air upon the lungs, which gives hardiness of constitution and firmness of fibre, and moves the system to action as a resource against suffering…..
GB (George Barnard)
Sherbrooke, Canada, May 9, 1842