Caribou Drive

In his 1969 book Newfoundland, Harold Horwood recounts the story of a caribou drive in western Newfoundland in the late 1800s. He heard it in the Codroy Valley, from “an aged man named Placide White back in the 1950s.”Newfoundland_Caribou_Milwaukee_Public_Museum

Placide White: 19th Century Caribou Drive

Mr. White, a hunter and woodsman as well as a farmer, took part in the great caribou drive of the last century – the only attempt that I know of to round up caribou and treat them like Lapland reindeer. It began when a European company hired a crew of Newfoundlanders to go to the southern end of Grand Lake at the time of the autumnal caribou migration, to round up a herd of the animals for export. The plan was to drive them into a crude corral, as the Algonkian Indians used to do when they wished to slaughter a herd of white-tailed deer, then to tame them, as far as possible, and finally drive them to the coast. The camp was built on the central plateau just east of the Long Range Mountains within sight of the lake, and the caribou came past by thousands.

‘You should see them – oh! my dear man! stretching off, you know, over the barren ground, as far as you could see, covering a whole hill at a time, thousands of animals on the move. And we cut out small sections of them, you know, like cowboys cutting out cattle from a herd. We rode horses wherever the ground was open enough. We had built a great enclosure of logs with an opening like a funnel in one side, and we’d drive the caribou in.

detail of map showing caribou drive area, from Horwood Newfoundland
Detail of map in Horwood’s Newfoundland, showing Grand Lake near top (tap to enlarge)

Kill themselves from panic

‘It didn’t work too well, though. They used to kill themselves from panic – break their legs, even their necks. And we couldn’t get enough feed for them. But finally we got the survivors quieted down and drove them out, in small herds, to the coast. We lost some of them on the way, and we lost others trying to load them on a ship, but the ones that survived were stowed, at last, in the hold of a vessel, and taken to Europe to stock game parks, you know…’ [pp 20-21]

Poor caribou! It’s kind of the reverse of another misguided and ill-fated tampering with fauna: introducing reindeer to Newfoundland. I’ve never heard of this caribou drive for export. And I couldn’t find anything more about it by googling.

Little-Codroy-Valley Newfoundland_at_the_beginning_of_the_20th_century 1902_M-HarveyPlacide White was born “in the Codroy Valley almost a hundred years ago,” so likely in the 1860s. “He was a member of the widespread family named LeBlanc,” Horwood says.

Cover of Newfoundland by Harold HorwoodThere’s more from Mr. White and others about the history and peoples of the west coast. The book includes Horwood’s travels across the island and Labrador. Some copies of Newfoundland are available on Amazon, and maybe elsewhere in used bookshops. Horwood is not shy about sharing his opinions! It’s a good book, descriptive of place and history. And, at 50 years old, its ‘present’ is now itself history. Also see his 1986 Corner Brook: A social history, below.

Plantar Fasciitis

Nearly a year ago, I bruised my heel. So I thought. When it didn’t stop hurting, I went to my doctor. Plantar Fasciitis, he said. What’s that, I said.

The plantar fascia is a band of tissue on the sole of your foot, connecting your heel to your toes. If it tears or gets inflamed, you feel excruciating pain in the bottom of your heel. There is no sure-fire treatment for it.

strassburg sock for plantar fasciitis
Strassburg sock on Amazon

My doctor recommended a) a Strassburg sock, b) stay off your feet and c) wait. Other treatments, he said, are custom-made insoles, cortisone shots and surgery. He didn’t think they were worth even considering. Wear the Strassburg sock while you sleep, and have patience. It can take 3 or 4 months or longer to heal.

After 4 months and no real relief, I started looking for other remedies or accommodations. Almost everyone I met said they’d had plantar fasciitis or knew someone who had. So from those people and googling, here’s my suggestions. They are in addition to my now well-worn Strassburg sock and well-worn patience.

1. Compression

plantar fasciitis socks and tape photo d stewartBuy compression sleeves. They are kind of half socks that put pressure on the middle of your foot. It feels good by keeping your arch up. Before I found one, I used stretchy vet tape. Just wrapped it around my arch and heel, tight enough to feel the pressure from it. Then I bought KT tape and watched a video on how to apply it. Both worked well. Whether tape or compression sleeves, just wear under your regular socks.

2. Footwear
Dr Scholl's plantar fasciitis insoles on Amazon
Dr Scholl’s Plantar Fasciitis insoles from Amazon

Insoles and shoes – crucial to your mobility. I bought Dr Scholl’s plantar fasciitis insoles. They have arch support and a cushioned heel. I wear them in my slippers but you could also put them in your shoes. People have told me that they had orthotic arch supports custom made and they were worth every penny they cost. That’s likely my next move.

Running shoes. The big, multi-coloured type made by Nike or Reebok. I never normally wear them, but I had to have comfortable shoes. And they are! Lightweight, with arch support and cushioned soles.

mountain horse boots photo d stewartRiding boots. Cowboy boots or English paddock boots. Both have good arch support and soles. Don’t buy boots designed to look like riding boots. Go to a tack shop and buy real ones. I cleaned up my Mountain Horse winter paddock boots for public wear.

3. Exercises
  • A frozen water bottle gives pain relief as well as therapeutic movement of the plantar tendon. Put it on the floor, put your foot on it and roll it back and forth.
  • A foot massage ball works too. I don’t have one, but I do have a dog’s rough plastic squeaky ball. Same procedure as with the frozen water bottle. Just don’t press too hard or it squeaks!
  • Lift your foot off the ground and do the alphabet with it. Making the letters ensures a broad range of movement and muscle stretching.
4. Minimize walking

A step counter might be handy – in reverse of its usual purpose. Got to go upstairs? Wait until you have an armload to take up as well as to bring down. When you’re running errands do only as many as your foot will allow. Sit and rest your foot, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Take your frozen water bottle with you.

So how do you get around?

Getting around town or a work place all day? I don’t know. Maybe a walking stick to take pressure off your foot? A scooter or Segway that lets you move without walking?

snow blades photo d stewart plantar fasciitis postMy biggest problem was getting to the barn. No huge distance, but it feels it when your heel hurts. Once there, you’re in too much pain to do anything. And you still have to get back. So I got a bicycle. Pedalling doesn’t bother your heel because it’s the middle of your foot pushing on the pedal.

Snow makes a problem, however. Cross-country skis are too unwieldy. Snowshoes put the same pressure on your heel as walking. So I’m experimenting with snow blades – adapting the bindings for my boots or attaching the blades to the bicycle frame. And an ATV works.


I read you should use painkillers sparingly. They mask the pain, so you’ll do more than you should and therefore do more damage. Use them only at night. But if I’ve had to do more than I should and the pain is bad, an extra strength Tylenol or Advil does the trick. But remember you took the pill and don’t push yourself!

Will Plantar Fasciitis go away?

A neighbour said that, after many months, “I woke up one day and the pain was gone.” Another friend still does the foot exercises every day even after his plantar fasciitis seemed cured. Because it can come back.

I’m waiting for the day when poof, it’s gone. But until then, I have to rethink how I get from point A to B – literally. And deal with foot pain without doping myself up to the eyeballs. These tricks and products have made it much more tolerable.

Jerry and Oscar

Two new horses, two new horse pedigrees to explore. Jerry was easy. He is registered with the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) as Mea Classico Duster. His full pedigree, therefore, is known and available.

jerry-and-oscar-sept-2019-photo-d-stewartOscar is a different story. He is a Thoroughbred-Quarter Horse cross, or an Appendix if registered. He entered shows under the name Playing to the Crowd. But is that name registered? His recent connections do not know. Nor do they know his parentage.

Jerry, 25 years old, was a career lesson horse at Butternut Stables in Hampton NB. Oscar is about 21. He’s moved around more and been a jack-of-all-trades – lessons, shows, general riding and best friend. They never lived together before, maybe never even met, but they’ve become BFFs.

Pedigree Chart for Jerry, Mea Classico Duster

jerry horse pedigree by d stewart 2019When a horse is registered with a breed association, his or her name is added to a lineage that goes back decades, even centuries. Full pedigrees are available from breed associations like the AQHA. Storied histories, maybe with famous names but also the unknowns like “Waggoner mare”. Like with all genealogies, you find full stories and mere fragments, the oddities and ordinaries. Genealogy charts map out elements of a family history, locating details in the big picture.

jerry-2019-detail horse pedigree by d stewart
Chart detail: top half for sire DJ Classico, lower for dam Mea Royal Duster (tap to enlarge)

Pedigrees are recorded so that breeding matches can be made with knowledge of a horse’s physical, genetic and performance background. That helps enhance desired traits and avoid genetically problematic ones.

It’s not just breeders who pay attention to pedigrees. Watch a handicapper at a horse race. You’ll hear about the lineage of the runners. A horse’s past performance is important in judging their odds of winning, but so is the performance and attributes of the horses in their lineage.

I got three generations of Jerry’s ancestry from his AQHA papers. Then I went to All Breed Pedigree for the rest. Jerry himself is not in its database but his sire and dam are.

Tracing horse pedigrees

Jerry-and-Oscar-Dec-2019-photo-d-stewartSearch for the horse’s registered name. If it doesn’t come up, search for the sire, dam or full sibling. Look at the information as closely as you do with online human genealogies. Horses with the same or similar names can be entered incorrectly. If a date or breed doesn’t make sense, check other sources.

Whether you get the information online or from a breed association, you still might want to put that information in your own style of pedigree chart. Making your own lets you design it as you wish. Include or exclude elements and make it visually manageable. You want a snapshot – something that gives the overall picture at a glance. So it’s a balancing act between the amount of information and the clarity of it. I designed mine to fit 7 generations back on an 11 x 17 inch sheet of paper. That’s a standard size at copy stores and is large enough to show details.

Tracing an unregistered horse

oscar-dec-2019-photo-d-stewartOscar’s pedigree requires more detective work. I don’t know his parentage or if he has a registered name, As a Quarter Horse-Thoroughbred cross, his ancestors could be in the Thoroughbred, Appendix or Quarter Horse registries. But, for sure, some would be registered with the AQHA.

His show name, Playing to the Crowd, gives the only clue. I looked on All Breed Pedigree for names that include Crowd in the years possible for Oscar to be their offspring. A sire in the Quarter Horse database is named Draws A Crowd. Lots of progeny and several have Crowd in their name, including a daughter named Play the Crowd. I also found a Thoroughbred mare named Draws a Crowd. She has some foals but none with names similar to hers.

I think that the QH Draws a Crowd could well be Oscar’s daddy. But I need more information, from people who knew Oscar when he was young or from the internet. Then I could do his pedigree chart as well.oscar-and-jerry-oct-2019-photo-d-stewart