THE “SEASONING” STRAINS
A reference by John Winthrop to the 1635 arrival in the Massachusetts Bay Colony of a Dutch vessel with “27 Flanders mares and 3 stallions” is extremely important as evidence that New England’s numerous Dutch settlers wanted to buy horses such as they had been used to using in the home country.
The word “Flanders” as used by Winthrop and other 17th century writers essentially meant “Belgium and Holland,” and the “Flanders” horses may be considered identical to the Friesian horse. In the 17th century, these were punchy, strong, placid animals suited more to draft than to riding, standing about 14 hands high and weighing 900 to 1,000 pounds. Typically they were black or red chestnut in color, with a certain amount of “feather” on the legs. During the 16th century, thanks to improvements prompted by Emperor Charles V, they had received an infusion of the best Andalusian blood. This gave them an upward carriage, a cresty neck and thick, characteristically wavy mane and tail. Dutch farmers in the New World bred these horses extensively but did not cross them with the Narragansett Pacers, which were valued for riding rather than the heavier work of plowing, hauling and logging.
After the conclusion of the French and Indian War in 1763, Dutch settlements south of Quebec came under the administrative control of the English (see “New England Maps,”at right). Unlike Thomas Hazard and the plantation stock-raisers of the Narragansett neighborhood, the Dutch focused on dairy farming and the export of butter and cheese. During the period between This map of New England highlights Vermont and Rhode Island and shows how easily Benedict Arnold and other cattle drovers from Vermont or Massachusetts could reach Montreal. None of the passes in the Green Mountains of Vermont are very high or difficult, especially during the summer months. Most trails followed natural streams. Difficulties were encountered only where boggy ground had to be crossed, such as at the top of Lake Champlain north between St. Albans and Montreal.
LAND BELOW 1,000 FEETLAND ABOVE 1,000 FEETRIVER OR LAKE/OCEANOVERLAND TRAIL ENGLISH FRENCH DUTCH SPANISH