Brandon, horse capital of Canada
Brandon’s success as a ‘jumping-off point’ for settling families resulted in the community developing a continent-wide reputation for the quality and the number of its horse sales.
While no pioneer would knock the motive-power potential of a span of oxen, they were, at the best of times, intractable brutes known mainly for their resistance to training.
They soon fell from favour and were replaced by sturdy ‘farm chunks’ whose bloodlines stemmed from Old Country breeds such as the Belgian, Clydesdale, and Percheron.
Before the winter fair was organized, Brandon was the scene of a major annual horse show, widely known as the Stallion Show and Sale, held each year on the grounds of the first city hall at Ninth Street and Princess Avenue.
This event was of such prominence no one thought it unusual that it was held on the city-hall lawn.
Within a few years the horse events, which attracted buyers from as far away as Chicago, gave Brandon one of its first nicknames, ‘The Horse Capital of Canada.’
– The Wheat City: A Pictorial History of Brandon by Fred McGuinness
Brandon in 1886 had twenty-three livery stables, and a larger number of men than this made a living as horse dealers.
Brandon was the ideal location for horseman and prospective buyer to make a deal.
One of Brandon’s early horsemen, Beecham Trotter, travelled to Scotland, France, and Belgium to personally select the horses he knew would be bought by Manitoba farmers.
Among the owners of the three dominant breeds, the Clydesdale, the Percheron, and the Belgian, there was keen rivalry at the horse fairs.
Tensions comparable to those at a crucial hockey game prevailed during the judging competitions.
The announcement of the judges’ decision was greeted by wild cheering from the benches of the winning breed’s supporters.
– Brandon: A Prospect of a City by Mary Hume
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Need help managing everyday stress?
Although there are lots of ways to manage stress, here is a selection of techniques tried and tested to help you:
Deep breathing: When we are nervous or stressed breathing can become shallow and rapid.
To find out how you are breathing, place one hand on your chest and one on your abdomen and see what the pace is.
To rebalance your breathing lengthen your breath, counting slowly to four as you breathe in, and to six as you breathe out.
Gradually increase this length until you reach seven and nine counts respectively.
You can also try taking micro relaxation breaks – just 5 deep breaths will momentarily switch off stress.
Rediscover your positive side – smile: Even though it’s annoying when you’re extremely stressed and someone says “smile” they may actually be on to something.
Positive thinking and a willingness to accept things outside your control are good ways to reduce tension.
Take a step back from difficult situations and look at them objectively.
This can sometimes help a solution to a problem come to you or may even let you laugh at the situation.
This often makes you feel better as laughing releases stress-reducing endorphins that give you an instant lift.
Exercise: Have you noticed how the world can look much brighter after some exercise?
15 to 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise is another way to release those feel-good endorphins.
And it doesn’t have to be running.
Anything that gets your heart rate up such as walking, yoga, tai chi, stretching or even housework can count.
Keeping active can provide a physical outlet for your frustrations, keeps you healthy, and makes you feel good about yourself.
This in turn can help you handle stress better in the first place.
Take time out for yourself: Sometimes dealing with stress is about quieting your mind and re-grouping so you are in a place where you can better cope with what’s required.
Taking 30 minutes to relax in the bath, have a massage or read a magazine with a cup of tea can help do this.
Eat yourself more relaxed: What we put into our bodies has a big impact on how we feel.
However, the busier and more stressed we become, the more likely we are to grab processed, sugary foods and drink latte after latte.
Here are a few tips for you to try:
• Cut down on caffeine – it’s a stimulant and will make you feel more tense.
• Cut down on processed foods and stock up on fruit & vegetables.
• Try taking a multivitamin that includes vitamins C, B3 and magnesium as stress can reduce the body’s absorption of some nutrients.
• Eat five or six small meals a day to stabilise your blood sugar levels.
This will help reduce the stress hormone cortisol and regulate levels of the feel-good hormones – serotonin and dopamine.
• Foods such as cottage cheese, pasta, avocados, bananas and skimmed milk can really calm you down.
All are rich in a protein called tryptophan, which the body uses to make serotonin – a sleep and mood enhancer.
• Eat slowly and take the time to chew your food thoroughly – 18% of digestion occurs in the mouth.
Meditate for inner calm: Meditation has been shown to boost the immune system, calm the mind, get rid of negative thoughts and even fight disease.
Millions of people swear by it! The whole point of meditation is to still the brain, ignore the thoughts coming into your mind, and let them drift out again.
The more you practice meditation the quieter your thoughts will become.
Set aside five minutes every day when you won’t be interrupted.
Stress support for busy people!