Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Horse Tails

If I was to be perfectly honest, Thow-ra wasn’t completely perfect. She had two issues, I had to deal with. One, was that she was extremely difficult to catch. Though she seemed to love to go out, and enjoyed a good brushing, she simply couldn’t help herself, and avoided capture at all costs. I say capture, because it took patience, time, extreme cunning, and did I mention, endless patience? She was too wise and wary, to fall for a bribe. Knew when you were trying to trap her, and easily jumped out of one pen to the next. What was funny and a bit of a relief, was that she never, ever jumped out of the pasture or corral areas. I never had to worry about her leaving. Thank goodness for small favours.
It didn’t help that, Smokey was every bit as difficult to catch either. The pair of them would tear around, leading me, or when I had company, us, on a merry chase that could easily go on a good half hour or more. Unlike Thow-ra, Smokey was more than willing to jump out, yet she didn’t want to leave Thow-ra behind. Eventually, they would concede defeat, or simply have pity on us, and stop running. Not only did we stay fit because we rode bareback, but we had our daily run as well. Smokey was a pretty, little thing, with her shiny, red-bay coat, lovely head and nice conformation. She was however, one of the smartest horses, I’ve ever known. That little, 12 hh pony-quarter horse cross, gave me a run for my money, that’s for sure.
Incredibly difficult to keep in a fence, she gave me no end of trouble over the years. Though the fences were compromised of posts and 3 rails, and were over 5 feet tall, she could rear back on her hind legs, and bound over with apparent ease. If she couldn’t go over, she squeezed between, or went under. I owned my very own, equine escape artist. If she’d only stayed home, this wouldn’t be as big a deal as it became. Staying home was no fun at all. Going across to visit the neighbour’s horses, now clearly, to her way of thinking, that was a good time!

I was 16, had my driver’s license and an old International pickup, my farmer friends called a cornbinder. I would spend as much time as I could with my horses, at what we called ‘the property’, then hop in the cornbinder and head home. Home was about a mile kitty-corner from the property, as the crow flies, and a mere 2 mile drive. One late afternoon, I was barely in the door, when the phone was ringing. This was a good many years before cell phones. Back when there weren’t just landlines, but party lines as well. It was Dave, the neighbour across the road from the property.
“Trudy, Smokey is here. Come and get her.”
Of course, I hopped right back into my truck, and back I went. Nearing the property, I could see both Thow-ra and Smokey standing together in the pasture. Hmm, I thought, there she is. He must’ve just heard something outside, and thought it was her. Supper was going to be late if I didn’t hurry, and my father was a stickler about being on time. Though notoriously late, I still had to make an attempt. Turning around, I headed back home again. Again, I was barely in the house, and the phone was ringing.
“Hello?” I tentatively answered, with the sense it would be Dave once again, and it was.
“Trudy,” I could hear some irritation in his voice, “I told you to come and get Smokey. What’s taking you so long?”
Completely confused, I answered, “but I was just there, and she’s in the pasture.”
“Well,” his voice now had a bit of an incredulous tinge, along with irritation, “I’m looking out my kitchen window, and I see Smokey. She’s stirring up my horses. Come and get her, now.”
Once again, I raced to my truck. Once again, Smokey was in the pasture, beside her best buddy, Thow-ra. This time, I drove all the way in, and patted my 2 girls.
“I don’t know what he’s imagining,” I told them, “but you’re right where you’re supposed to be, aren’t you, good girl?”
This time, mom was holding out the phone to me as I walked in. Avoiding my father’s disapproving shake of the head, I tentatively answered, “yes?”
“Okay Trudy,” Dave wasn’t making any attempt, to hide how thoroughly annoyed he was, “now I’m extremely upset about this. I shouldn’t have to ask 3 times.”
“I’m really sorry,” I tried to explain, “but I went every time, and she’s in the pasture.”
“Well,” I heard the disbelief in his words, “I’m looking at her right now, and this is my last warning.”
I had no idea what that meant, and didn’t want to find out either. This time, as I headed back, dust billowing behind my old truck, from my tires on the dry, gravel road, I was looking across the field towards Dave’s. Son of a gun! There was a little, dark red dot beside their fence. Suddenly, the head shot up, to stare in my direction, and I was a good three quarters of a mile away. I could see her give a few, good bucks, and she was off like a shot! By the time I turned into the driveway, Smokey was back in the pasture, standing there beside Thow-ra, as innocent as usual. What a naughty, incredibly smart little troublemaker, I owned.

Feature photo: Me up on an unconcerned Smokey, with a friends screaming tot.

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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