Quest in Roots:
Brookdale Manitoba History

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A horse by the name of Champ has become a landmark in the Brookdale farming area. This horse has been at the W.L. McDonald farm for about 16 years.

He is a pinto pony and originated in the Laurier area. It was said he was used for hauling poached game (elk) from the Riding Mountains. His owner killed the game, hooked it to the horse and sent him home. It has also been told that the Game Warden tried desperately to catch the horse and its owner.

Finally, he succeeded in catching the horse, hauling game and impounded said horse.

Doug Sangster was pound keeper. The owners did not claim the horse. Doug sold it to his uncle Charles Banyard of the Stony Creek District.

Charles and Alma''s daughter Karen rode the horse for a few years. They named him "Champ".

Champ foundered on green grass every summer and Charlie decided to ship him for fox meat.

Robert Davidson felt sorry for the horse and paid Charlie $50 for him. He was ridden by the Davidson family and used as a chore horse in winter.

Dr. BillBrydges tells of calling at the Davidson farm with a drug traveller who remarked that he felt sorry for the pinto pony. Champ was hooked with a mare to a sleigh. Brydges recalls replying, "You''d better feel sorry for the mare. That pony will pull sleigh and mare, too." .

Champ remained at the Davidson farm for many years. He worked for two winters choring when the snow was too deep for tractors.

Bob decided to ship Champ for fox meat. He asked BillMitchell, then in the trucking business, to pick the horse up some day when Bob wasn''t around. When Bill arrived to pick up Champ, he was in fine fettle and BillMitchell told Bob that Bill McDonald wanted a horse for choring. So, Champ''s life was saved once more.

Bill Brydges can recall doctoring Champ only once in his life at the three above mentioned farms and that was for colic. Champ continued to do daily choring around the McDonald farm for approximately the next six years. The last 10 years he has enjoyed complete retirement with freedom of the yard and pasture. He can open most gates, untie knots and open granary doors but he never over eats. For all his faults and mischievious acts, Champ is really never in anyone''s bad books for too long.

No one knows Champ''s exact age. He was a working horse when Dr. Brydges started his veterinary practice in Neepawa in 1950.

Champ willremain a landmark on the McDonald farm as long as he lives.


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