Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Horse Tails

Thow-ra had two flaws. She was very difficult to catch, and if you went beyond a good canter, you soon found yourself in an all-out gallop, not a hand-gallop either. Her racehorse past would loom large, and she’d lose herself in the sheer glory of speed. I could go on with her story, yet I’m not going to, not today. This story is one about Sundance Kidd, as he too, loved to run. Like Thow-ra, he didn’t bolt, wasn’t erratic while doing so, he simply didn’t want to stop or slow down, until he had it out of his system. People would suggest this or that bit, gag snaffles and the like, things I didn’t need and wouldn’t use anyway. I was already riding with a mechanical hackamore, which in the right hands, could be as soft as a bitless bridle, or stop a runaway freight train if needed.

Over the many years I rode and enjoyed Kidd, we shared quite a few of these joy-runs. Or rather, I went along, and decided to ride them out. I’m just not a bailer, never have been and am unlikely to start. The one and only time I had, I broke my arm in two places. I decided then, to always ride it out. Besides that, his gallops of joy, weren’t really a huge deal, as they happened on long stretches of dirt country road, across grassy fields, and often in fields turned over for summer fallow. I used to wonder, if I would be able to stop him during one of these flights. Until one day, when I simply had no choice in the matter. We were tearing across a worked field, and the ditch and road were coming up, and fast! This wasn’t going to be one of those gallops, I could simply ride out. He was still under full steam, with no sign of tiring. I had to stop him, and before we hit that ditch.
There’s a saying, what can go wrong, will. Maybe it’s one of Murphys many annoying laws, or maybe not, but as I worked at slowing and turning him, hopefully without putting him off balance, a rein broke. Now, breaking a rein isn’t all that rare an occurrence, especially if you ride a good deal, and the horse you ride, is a rip-snorter. I was a tad annoyed though, as this was a new set of reins. I like a good set of reins, like many women like shoes. You can never have enough, or enough kinds either. Single, straight, split, braided or not, English or Western, I have them all. Of all the choices I had, I hadn’t chosen well that day. Though I was annoyed with the fact that the new rein had broken, I had a locomotive, I mean horse, to stop. I didn’t want to put him off balance, in the midst of racing along. Kidd at a dead run was something rather impressive and awing to experience. He would flatten out as he stretched into the speed he so loved. Dust and dirt would trail behind us, as we flew over the ground. The time for an adrenaline rush was swiftly replaced with the realization that I had to act, and quickly. I sat back to slow him down, played with the remaining rein and, to my amazement, was able to achieve some success. I managed to get him to turn, and we swept along the edge of the ditch, then back the way we’d just come. Tighter and tighter, the circle became, until it was so tight, so small, he had no choice but to stop. For the briefest moment, I quite literally brought that big horse to his knees, in that soft, loose dirt. I hopped off to tie the broken rein back together, then hopped back on, something I was actually able to do back then, not so much now, forlorn sigh.
After that day, the nagging little thought that a time would come, that I might not be able to stop him sometime, left me. Of course I would always be able to. If I could stop a full gallop with one rein, I had this covered, no worries.
The next Horse Tail? I’ll give you a hint. This is a photo of Kidd many years ago, my sweetpea astride.

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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