Times, September 27, 1891

Address on "The Horse" Delivered at a Meeting of Farmers by Captain Orris A. Browne.

Tourists and sportsmen -- Other recreation - Horse racingFields -- Livestock - Horses

At a recent large meeting of farmers, Captain Orris A. Browne, of Cape Charles, Va., who is the manager of the largest cultivated farm in the State, made the following interesting address on the horse. Captain Browne said:

This a broad question and can only be considered in a general way. The advantages of the business are published daily, and the large prices obtained for good animals is a fact well known to all readers of the papers. Certain sections of the country have, however, made great reputation for the horses produced by them, and the idea has gone abroad that they are superior to all others in producing valuable horses. The minds of the people have been directed that way so long that it is now accepted by many as a fact, a very erroneous idea. Certain localities do produce fine horses, while others do not, but it is because the people in the one have gone into the business, studied the subject, produced what was wanted and sold it a great profit; while in the other, equally as favorable, the people have not gone into the business, and of course, as the interest is neglected by them, it is thought by the world that the horse cannot be produced there of superior qualities. No State has been more famous for fine horses than Virginia in the past and for the extent of the business now carried, none surpass her, and how can they? We have the soil of all and as much sunshine and rain as the Almighty has given to any.

Colonel William R. Johnson made more reputation with Virginia bred race horses (the highest of the horse) than any man that ever lived in America. And the Doswells were second to none in their day. Of course the war changed the standing of Virginia as a producing State. The breeding stock, with rare exceptions, was captured and run off during the war, but with the limited opportunities the business is taking high rank again. Eurus, St. Savior, Eolian, Eleve, Eos, Russell, Diablo, Elkwood, Eolo, Elkton, Eoloist, and Young Grace, a mare of great promise but unfortunate, were all bred and raised in this county, and the success of them is an invitation to other counties to follow. Chaos, the winner of the Futurity stakes in 1889, worth $63,000; Torso, the winner of the Double Event in '89, and the Lorillard stake in '90 that amounted to $50,000; Banquet with the fastest record for one mile and a quarter; Bolero, sold under the hammer at two years old for $35,000, were all trained, developed and prepared on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Does any country surpass the record when it is considered that not one stable in fifty are in Virginia? There is no reason, then, why the best cannot be grown again. The advantages of the climate in Virginia is being appreciated. Race-horses are brought here from New York and Pennsylvania to be trained, with the grandest results and no doubt the business will grow and Virginia will have her own again. The natural advantages of this State cannot be denied -- the mild climate, adjacent to the over-flowing population of the North, will at an early date be known, appreciated and accepted. Shall we, however, allow all the development to come from beyond our borders, or shall our own people step early into the field of horse breeding and reap their share of horse profits? "It is the early bird that gets the worm," and I see no reason why the Virginia bird should not be there first; it is on the ground already and in position. We should therefore be up and doing. If capital is lacking, combine ten, twenty or one hundred farmers and buy the best stock.

The crop of race colts to be sold this year is very short, and the prices must run high. The field is inviting. Second on the list of equine values is the trotting horse, and Virginia has had success in this direction also with winners over all the best trotting localities of the United States. So with the saddle and heavy draught horses Virginia has been successful. There is no class of horses that cannot be grown to perfection in this State. The question then comes up, How shall the farmers reach the success looked for? I would suggest that they decide on what they wish to breed -- I refer to the types -- and then pursue it, only using the sire of high breeding. The running race horse is the most profitable, but then it requires considerable capital to start in the business, and it is useless to commence with second-class animals. The fact is it is the best only that pays in everything; the cost may deter some people, but I have always found that where there is a will there is a way, and it is not to be stopped by the pessimist and those fellows who can tell how not to do it.

First-class sires are known all over the country by all the horsemen, and the produce of them always brings good money. In advising the farmers to combine and grow good race stock, it does not follow that they must necessarily go into racing. This they should not do, and if I thought it would tend to that end I would say let the business alone. Raise the stock and sell it young; turn it into money quick. I am not opposed to racing, but the business of growing the stock and that of racing are entirely separate and distinct, and has never been successful when combined with farming for profit. To raise stock of any kind the sire should be of the purest and best breeding, and be individually a superior animal, and be able to do that for which he is bred. If a trotting horse is to be bred, get for a sire an animal of the best breeding, excellent in all that goes to make a fine horse, and he must be able to trot fast -- first, breeding; second, individual excellence; third, speed -- and these three points the sire should possess. It costs quite a sum to buy such a horse, but he is worth the money nine times out of ten.

There is one class of horses that I have been very much taken with, and this is the Hackney horse. They have been imported from England, and the breed has been established long enough in that country to breed with uniformity. They, I would say, are the best general purposes horse I know of, and they have contributed no little to the trotter. Imported Bellfounder, a registered Hackney, got the dam of Rysdyk's Hambletonian. The breeding of horses should be encouraged in Virginia, and farmers should pay more attention to it.

I never figured the cost of producing the horse or cow, but I do not believe that there is a great difference in the cost of a pound of one and a pound of the other, and one often brings a hundred times as much as the other. I do not see any reason, then, why the farmer should not consider the subject in a measure preferable to the breeding of cattle.

Mr. Browne then cordially extended to the horsemen of the State an invitation to visit this section of the State, where he would take pleasure in furnishing the men with a good, level and graded race track.

Richmond, Va.
September 27, 1891