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  • Craig Baird

Vermilion’s Old Prince Passes

The residents of Vermilion, and especially the agricultural students, were in mourning in November 1939 when news of the passing of a prince hit.

Known as Old Prince in the community died on Nov. 3, 1939 at the age of 33. While that may seem young, it is quite old for a horse.

Old Prince, who had spent 26 years in Vermilion, was a fixture of the agriculture school in Vermilion, having arrived in 1913.

Highly regarded, he was often part of alumni annual banquets, despite being a horse and it was custom to bring Prince to the tables to be applauded by former students. Among the school, he was regarded as the oldest of the alumni.

When Old Prince first arrived at the school, his primary duties were transporting students and baggage from the Vermilion depot to the school and hauling a democrat between the school and town on errands.

In 1925 and 1926, when English students arrived to study Canadian farming, he was used as a practice horse for the students due to his gentle nature as most of the students were unfamiliar with the larger Canadian workhorses. He would stand quietly as the students harnessed, groomed and rode him.

When automobiles came along, his duties were confined to the school and for the last six years of his life, he was used sparingly and only for herding stock from pasture to pasture.

The last six months of his life were spent in retirement and he was fed chopped grain as he had only one molar left. He still had his front teeth to nip grass from the fields.

Within the town itself, he was a beloved part of the community and was missed around the community just as much as at the school.

Contact Craig at craig@canadaehx.com

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Listen to his podcasts Canadian History Ehx, Canada’s Great War, From John to Justin, Pucks and Cups and Canada: A Yearly Journey on all podcast platforms.

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