poetry and prose about place

in the shelter of the covered bridge – passage for horses

with 2 comments

Why are covered bridges covered? The usual explanation says that a covered bridge lasts longer if the wood is protected from the elements. However there are other explanations.


One of these claims the covering of the bridge made it easier to coax horses to cross the river. The horses, accustomed to entering and leaving a barn, would be less alarmed if a bridge was covered.


In the early 1900s, when most of the remaining covered bridges in New Brunswick were built, horses were still a common means of conveyance.


In my travels to study the plants and animals associated with covered bridges, I have come across three instances of the association between covered bridges and horses.


In June, while visiting the Tantramar River #2 (Wheaton Covered Bridge, built in 1916), we saw a team of horses pulling a sight-seeing group across the Tantramar marshes.


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Wheaton Covered Bridge over the Tantramar River in Westmorland County (photo taken June 2015)


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team of horses drawing a sightseeing wagon near Wheaton Covered Bridge (June 2015)


A notation in the Nackawic River #5 (Nackawic Siding Covered Bridge, built in 1927) mentions the use of the horse-drawn wagon.



Nackawic Siding Covered Bridge in York County (photo taken 2012)



notation in the Nackawic Siding Covered Bridge (photo taken 2012)


And last weekend, in the covered bridge over the Quisibis River (Quisibis River #2, Pont Lavoie, built in 1951), we found a painting of a horse. Whoever painted the horse resisted the urge to make any other black marks on the bridge walls. Clearly, he or she had a single intent – to depict the horse.


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Pont Lavoie over the Quisibis River in Madawaska County (photo taken July 2015)


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portrait of a horse, in the Quisibis River #2 Covered Bridge (photo taken July 2015)


When I close my eyes and imagine a covered bridge, I always hear the clatter of horses hooves on the wooden boards …


Copyright Jane Tims 2015


2 Responses

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  1. I love your last line and the sound image it evokes. Thanks for your thoughtful comments on history and your respectful way of sharing what you know. It is always a pleasure to read anything you’ve written.

    Liked by 1 person

    Carol Steel

    July 31, 2015 at 7:40 am

    • Thanks Carol. Your comments are always appreciated. I try to be respectful, thinking people who live near these bridges may read my posts. Having lots of fun visiting these bridges. Jane


      jane tims

      July 31, 2015 at 7:44 am

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