Eddie Arnold - December 10, 1898 - September 23, 2005
One of the most interesting men I have known in the livestock business recently passed away. I'd like to take a little space here to tell those of you who may not have known him about Eddie Arnold.
I met Eddie while I was setting up the Saskatchewan Clydesdale Association's booth at Agribition one morning in 1989. At the time he was two weeks shy of his 91st birthday. We had a most enjoyable visit, and he said to write him sometime. I'm not generally very good at writing letters, but a little before Christmas, I managed to get one sent to him. In no time at all I had a reply, more neatly written than mine, and definitely more interesting. Eddie mentioned in that letter that improving livestock is one of the most interesting things there is.
Eddie began showing Clydesdales at shows including the Toronto Royal and the Chicago International in 1925, and showed at Toronto for the last time in 1986 at the age of 88 years. He was one of the best breeders of all time, and there are still some good Clydesdales yet today that carry the Croydon bloodline.
Last fall (2004) I was working not so far from Eddie's home town of Shoal Lake, Manitoba. He'd have been coming 106 years old at the time. By that point his hearing wasn't very good, but otherwise he was in absolutely remarkable shape. I don't suppose I've met anyone with a memory like his. Sometimes as folks get older the past stays sharp and clear, but the present is sometimes a trifle fuzzy. Not so with Eddie - it didn't matter whether it was past or present he was crystal clear about everything.
His accuracy at remembering details about horses and livestock from the past was also second to none. He could remember who had stood in what placing at a certain show, etc. from way back in the 1920's and 30's. Over the years Eddie and I wrote back and forth a bit. I kept every one of his letters - they were always very interesting, and there was a lot of draft horse history in each one.
It would take a lot of time and room to tell you all about Eddie. If you ever meet up with me at the shows and want to hear a little more, I'd be more than happy to visit with you.
One of Eddie's closest (both in terms of distance and in other ways) Clydesdale breeders was Clarence Martin of Strathclair, Manitoba - just the next town up the road. Clarence was one of my all time favorites - a first rate man, he passed away a few years prior to Eddie. Maybe if I have a little time, and there are a few that express an interest, I can try to tell a little about Clarence and other draft horse breeders who have since passed on.
With that, I had better close my tribute to Eddie - one of the most remarkable Clydesdale breeders this country of ours has seen. I'm going to miss him.
Buchanan, Saskatchewan, Canada
Phone: (306) 592-2132
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