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Page 41 - Horses in the Coal Mines

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1982/8/1 (328 reads)

thing, well, they wouldn't go down; they'd stay on the surface and the pit would be idle. So they were having a problem with the horses. The good horses were over? worked and the bad horses would be stand? ing in. So the underground manager, he had a half-brother that was quite a tough char? acter, but he loved horses, very fond of horses. He was what you might call in those days a barroom fighter--big, heavy, stocky fellow, as tall as you are, and heavier. Loved horses, and he hated the drivers. And I bet you the underground man? ager, his half-brother, appointed him as the road boss especially in charge of horses. And he wandered around the stables and looked over all the horses. A horse that came in, the driver'd come with him, the way the law said; the contract said he had to take' his horse in and secure him in the stable. He just didn't turn him loose, let him go in the stable. The horse would sense when he was getting handy the stable, and he'd start hurrying up, and the driv? er 'd have to go along, take him in under control, and take his bridle off and the bit that was in his mouth, and the heavy leather piece over his head, where if he bumped his head he wouldn't knock his scalp off. It was a "cap" they called it. In the afternoon and evening, when the horses would be coming in, this big husky fellow would watch them coming in, looking for any bruises or scrapes or anything like that,. And if he did, he'd hold them up--"Just a minute, I want to have a look at that"--he'd hold them up--"How did this happen?" And the driver had to have a good reason for it, or the first thing he knew, the fellow'd have him by the throat and want to know how it happened. And he had to tell him. And there were none of the drivers tough enough to back this fellow up. And I bet you in three months, three months or less, the horses were in spic and span condition, no scrapes or bruises or anything like that, because they were a- fraid of this fellow. And they had good reason to be afraid of him, because when this fellow came, he said he hated drivers, especially a driver that was hard on his horse. That fellow, he had no quarter for them at all. He'd get him off that horse, or he had to start treating his horses bet? ter, or the other fellow'd go and beat him up. He'd do it. There'd be nobody around, and he'd get him in a corner of the stable and rough him up. So he knew he was up a- gainst his master then, the man that was looking after the horses. If he was taking a horse out, he was going to take it back in good shape. And it was a true story. That fellow lived to be an old man. He re? tired. But he loved horses. And he could not tolerate in any way, shape, or form a driver that abused his horse. Wouldn't put up with it. (And he re-trained the driv? ers?) He sure did. Nobody'd tackle a horse or damage a horse while this fellow was on. CO-OP COOP Building Supplies and Harbour Homes COMPONENT HOMES & COTTAGES We Feature Portable Kerosene Heater '''''' ''''''' ''.' Come to CO-OP for I CJ V'CJ''I"'" I complete stocks of '' • ''"-' - • ? lumber, building supplies, plumbing, heating and elec- Ififi iiiTii]l|| 'mF trical materials . Sydney 539-6J'i'10 Port Hawkesbury 625-2600 OraED AND OPERATED BY CO-OP ATLANTIC Isle Royale Beverages Ltd. Your authorized COCA-COLA bottler 564-8130 526-4439 245 Welton Street Sydney. N. S. THE HOME OF FINE SEAFOOD, we have a pickup booth at the SYDNEY AIRPORT. Call us. Coast To Cdast Air Shipping • Ask For Our Price List- Phone: Plant (902) 849-5505, Night (902) 849-2705 Write: P. O. Box 160, Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, BI A 5V2 Telex: 619-35241 CHARGEX - MUSTCR CHARGE - VISA (41)
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