Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Horse Tails

When a man falls for a horse crazy woman, he’s left with two options. He can accept the undeniable, incurable affliction the girl he fancies suffers from, and carry on with planning to see her when she’s not playing with her ponies, or he could join her. The man who would eventually become this particular woman’s husband, chose to join in, and so began the search, for a suitable horse for him.

We travelled and looked at horses all over Manitoba. Many, many lovely horses, yet none met the mental picture, he had in his head of what he wanted, or they didn’t stand up to my inspection. We began taking the trailer with us, so we wouldn’t have to make a second trip. Some horses were far enough away, that we had to overnight it, before heading back the next day. Horses pulled up lame, after a few rounds of a ring. Horses were far smaller than advertised, not desirable when the rider is all of six feet tall, and some were far too spooky. Then there was Mista Tim, a beautiful, robust Morgan gelding. We looked at him and thought, ‘now this is promising ‘. He had the size and build, my future hubby needed, was gentle and sweet, and I couldn’t find anything wrong, either physically or conformation-wise. We were hopeful that, we’d finally found his horse.
They brought Tim out of the pen, so obedient. Led him into the barn, brushed and tacked up, super quiet, very impressive. We were ready to lead him towards the open, very large riding ring, and were pretty pleased, with how things were going. So far, so good.
They were an older couple, so when they said they couldn’t climb up to ride Tim, we took that at face value. It made sense, and we understood. What I didn’t like was that he had a month of ‘professional’ training, and had been doing flying lead changes in that short time. It sounded like too much too fast for my liking, but what was done, was done.
Anyway, my husband accepted the reins, led the very quiet horse out of the barn and into the riding ring. I stood near Tim’s head, as future hubby gathered the reins and mounted up. He sat there, a pleased smile on his face, while awaiting my sage suggestions.
“Don’t ask for much, right off the bat,” I said, without any clue as to what would happen next, “Maybe just walk around a little … get the feel of him, okay?”
The words were barely out of my mouth, when Mista Tim exploded with a mighty snort and grunt that belied the excellent ground manners we’d been witness to right up until that very moment. He’d even obediently stood stockstill to be mounted. Now the seemingly quiet horse, was anything but. He was bucking hard, and my man, who had played with the horses of family friends when he was a boy, and ridden some of mine now and again, was on the bundle of exploding TNT!
In vain, I attempted to catch hold of the bridle or reins. Something that was entirely possible, as Tim was crowhopping virtually on the spot. But no luck there. I missed every time I tried.
“Pull his head up!” I loudly said, both to get future hubby’s attention, and to be heard over the sounds of grunting horse and leather saddle, “He won’t be able to buck as hard, if he can’t bog his head down!”
The order was immediately obeyed, without the desired result. Instead of lessening the strength of the bucks, the darn horse bucked higher! How future hubby was still up there, I’ll never know, but I was pretty sure that could change at any moment.
“Drop the reins to his neck!” I barked out the order, all the while, worrying that the horse could go over backwards, or finally toss future hubby.
I don’t know how he still had the presence of mind to immediately listen, but listen he did. At my wit’s end, I shouted at the wildly bucking gelding with my most stern voice.
Amazingly, he did. As abruptly as he’d started, he stopped. The big horse stood there, shaking like a leaf, blowing through flared nostrils, his eyes open wide. The poor fellow was clearly freaked out.
“Get off,” I quietly, steadily ordered, all the while expecting a new blow up. “Carefully get your feet out of the stirrups and swing off, now.”
Two seconds later, future hubby was off the big horse, and safely on terra firma. Trying to make sense of it all, we walked Tim around, while he slowly calmed down. I was ready to walk away from the rather expensive gelding. Future hubby, not quite yet.
“You should ride him,” he suggested, “You know what you’re doing. Maybe you can stop him from bucking.”
“That wasn’t a one ride fix,” slowly shaking my head, I didn’t see the point, “I think he’s been pushed too hard, too fast, and this is going to be a huge problem. We have no idea what was done to him, and they want a lot of money, too. I think we should walk away from this one.”
“But … I still really like him.”
“I think you could ‘really like’ a different horse,” I kept on, “one without a big issue.” “I still think you should ride him,” he stubbornly persisted,” then added what he already knew would irk me, “you’re the big trainer. He should be nothing to you, unless you’re afraid?”
If there was one thing I wasn’t, it was afraid. No way was I going to listen to him say that I’d been afraid to get on a horse, especially one he’d somehow managed to stay on, for the rest of all time. Despite all the warning bells going off in my head, despite the fact that I surely knew better, I climbed up.
The intention was for future hubby to hold the bridle near the bit, and lead me around a little while. The best plans can be changed, in the briefest of moments. Like a flash, Tim ripped out of future hubby’s strong grasp and was gone, me on his back. With the abrupt speed of a tightly wound spring that is suddenly released, we shot across that far too big space, straight at the fence.
‘Oh no’,” the thought raced just as quickly through my mind, ‘we going through, or over? Dang dang dang.’
At the very last second, Tim slid to a stop, spun back around, and bolted for the opposite side of the ring. For the next few minutes, we were like a ping pong ball, and I was thinking, bucking would be better. That thought grew when he rolled back after another sliding stop, and headed, full steam ahead, straight at the gate. This time, I figured the bolting was going to come to an end, and it wasn’t going to be pretty. The gate was in direct line with the barn door. Mista Tim was going for the safety of the barn.
I prepared for the inevitable jump, or for crashing through the heavy, plank gate. I imagined how to deal with galloping into a barn, where the ceiling wasn’t high enough for a mounted rider. Never mind the ceiling, the door opening was even lower. I was in a spot of trouble, no matter what.
Well, at the last second, Tim stopped, his broad chest pressed against the gate. Future hubby leapt to take hold of the bridle, and it was over, sort of. Unbelievably, future hubby was still fascinated.
“Stay up there. I’ll lead him around a liitle, okay?”
“Seriously,” I groaned, “after that, you still want him?”
“Well,” he hopefully grinned, “maybe that’s it now. Maybe he’s done?”
“Oh,” I grumbled, “he’s done all right, and I should be, too.”
“Just a liitle ride around … a pony ride?”
“I guess,” I relented, all the while appreciating how ridiculous it was of me to do so.
Thankfully, though he continued to fret and gulped from the stress of it, Mista Tim seemed to be done running. Future hubby walked us around a bit, I eventually dismounted, and the quiet, sensible horse returned. I couldn’t believe that future hubby was still interested, but he was. We had a lot of thinking to do. Or I should say, I had a good deal of discouraging to do. I had no intention of dragging that horse home.
This photo is one of a stallion I owned many years later, as I couldn’t find any photos of Mista Tim. Storm reminded of Tim’s look, in so many ways.

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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