Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Horse Tails

The whole time I was saving to buy a horse, I was also negotiating with my parents to allow me to buy one. It was only when a neighbour, who lived about a mile away, offered to let me use a chunk of land that they finally relented. In exchange, I had to help build and maintain the fence, take care of the horses they were buying, and help around his place. I was over the moon with excitement. Finally, I was able to truly begin shopping for a horse. A mane and tail, equine in nature were my criteria. A simple enough endeavour, or so I thought. I had three hundred and ten dollars, didn’t want anything registered or fancy, and figured it would be no problem to find a horse. As it turned out, it wasn’t that easy at all. I tried out several, perfectly nice horses. Lovely horses with no issues at all. Two even came with saddles and bridles, yet I wouldn’t commit to buying any of them. After so long, and living with the desperate desire to have a horse of my own, I didn’t want any of the ones I was trying out! Seriously, what was the matter with me? My parents even took me to see the horses of friends kids, still nothing. Not a single one of these lovely horses of all shapes, sizes and colours clicked. I don’t know why, they just didn’t.
Then good friends of my parents came visiting with an intriguing offer. They had told a friend of theirs, who was a big-time horse trader, about me and my search. That I’d saved for years, and had three hundred and ten dollars for a horse. I was welcome to choose a horse for my money, and the ten dollars would pay for delivery. My hopes soared. Surely, I would find a horse among his many. The clincher, I had to choose myself. No help. No input from anyone else. It was to be, entirely my decision.
The very next day, we made the 45 minute drive to his big farm. There were horses everywhere! They were in the corrals and dotted the fields. There were a few nearby that I was taken to have a look at. Horses of every size, shape, colour and gender. A few were pointed out to me, caught, saddled and ridden around to show me how awesome they were.
I wasn’t interested. Way out in the furthest pasture, my gaze had been caught by a copper coat, gleaming like a bright, new penny in the sunshine. Yes, we used to have pennies back then, and they could actually buy things, too.
Anyway, I pointed at the shiny dot, aĺl by itself, a good half mile away, “that one. That’s the one I want to try, please?”
“That one,” they all looked at each other with dismay, “you don’t want to try this one?” He motioned towards the big, Roman-nosed gelding still patiently standing there, all saddled and ready to go. “He’s super well-trained.”
I think I surprised even myself, as I was incredibly shy back then, but I stuck to my guns, “No thank you, that one please.”
Heaving huge sighs, two of the young men who had been wrangling the horses, took a halter and rope each, and headed out to get the horse.
It took a bit of time for them to get to ‘my’ horse. The red head snapped up at their approach, then it was off like a shot! They herded/chased the horse towards where we waited by the network of pens. As soon as all the horses came galloping in, as the others had joined in on the fun, the big gate was quickly shut behind them. It was quite the impressive sight. All wound up by their run, they were still running here and there. The one I wanted, right in the thick of things. Wild-eyed, manes and tails flowing aa they whipped around, I was in awe. It took a bit of work to split off the one I wanted from the rest, but they finally had the others in the barn, mine was now alone in the big pen.
Now, this was a cattle pen, rough from the deep holes cloven hooves had imprinted when wet, it was treacherous going to say the least. They moved the red mare towards some huge, long, heavy wooden cattle feeders with the intention of cornering her. With the biggest trot I’d ever seen, she headed at the first with a determined look. Like a deer, she leapt over the tall, wide feeder with ease, landed on the rough ground, did a somersault, scrambled back onto her four hooves, jumped the second, then the gate and was gone again!
They didn’t even have to ask. I wanted that horse.
They got her back into the pen, someone stood in front of the gate, and just like that, she gave up. A saddle was thrown on, sans pad or blanket. A bridle followed, and I climbed aboard. The gate was opened and away we went. The sweat ran off her like rain, white froth flecked here and there. Tiny trickles of blood ran were where she’d nicked herself, but I was in love. I told her that she was mine. That I was taking her home, and we were going to have wonderful times together. Oblivious to the sweat, I patted the wet neck while her ears flipped back and forth as she intently listened. I had finally found the horse that was meant for me. “I’m going to name you, Thow-ra, from my favourite book,” I told her, “and we’re going to be best buds.”
And that is how, I finally came to find my first, perfect horse.

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About Trudy Andrew

Trudy Andrew lives on a small farm just east of Winnipeg, Manitoba, where she enjoys her Morgan horses. A dreamer since she was a child, its no surprise to those who know her well that her imagination would find an outlet in writing, as it has in the past through artwork.
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 Oakbank, MB