Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Horse Tails

Hubby’s First Horse, continued

One simply has to laugh sometimes, at how frustrating it is, when a seller sticks to their asking price, no matter how badly a horse behaves, or what issues show themselves. Even after seeing Mista Tim behave like a rodeo bronc, then an out of control, ping pong ball, his owners weren’t budging on price, not by a single penny. We decided to take the night to talk it over, and come to a decision that wasn’t based on want. One of us had to be sensible. The big surprise was that this time, it was me. We went and had supper at a local restaurant then found lodging.
I was determined to leave Mista Tim behind for many reasons. They wanted far more for him than he was worth. He had been pushed far too fast in training, and had to be taken back to the beginning, and started over again. There was no way to know if he could or would be a reliable, steady mount for future hubby. A young horse should be well-started after a month, not doing flying lead changes. What was needed was a now horse, not a ‘maybe in a few months’ one. Still, future hubby wasn’t quite dissuaded yet. I had more work to do. I needed a second opinion. One that gave future hubby something to think about, and would take his rose-coloured glasses off.
A call to an acquaintance, who was a very well-known horse trainer, served to do what I believed it would. He thought as I did. If Mista Tim’s issue could be addressed, it would take a good deal of time. There was also the chance he would never be a suitable riding horse, for what future hubby needed.
After ending the call, I felt sorry, yet relieved as well. The horse had given me a bad vibe when I was up. My experience was that whenever I felt that way about a horse, it had never been wrong. If we left it behind, I was good with that. Still, I felt sorry for future hubby, too. He really wanted that darn horse.
“How about this,” I bargained, because I’d learned that men were a lot like horses and mules. If they believed an idea was theirs, they usually came to the right decision. “You have all the information you need, to come to an informed decision, right?”
He half-nodded, so I struck while the iron was hot, “so sleep on it, and if you still really, really want him by morning, and they drop their price, we’ll take him home. What do you think? That makes sense, doesn’t it?”
He slowly nodded as he mulled it over, “yeah … I guess it does.”
I made sure not to smile too much, and remained logical and supportive, “first thing in the morning, we’ll call them either way, okay?”
“Okay,” he readily agreed. I could see the wheels turning, and it appeared that he was putting serious thought into the horse, and the problems it had. Suddenly, I was sure he would come to the right decision, mine.

For as small a village as we were in, we would’ve believed it to be peacefully quiet. As it turned out, not so much. There happened to be a railroad gang in town, and after a week of toiling at their labor-intensive jobs, they were letting loose. We could hear raucous laughter and loud, drunken voices way into the wee hours of the morning. There seemed to be no end to the noise behind the motel, as the rail crew gradually returned to the sleeping railcars, just at the edge of the village. Finally, we were able to fall asleep.
Morning came all too quickly. In the United Kingdom and Ireland, they’d describe how we felt as knackered or shattered. We were all of that and more. Dragging our sorry selves into the new day, we did a quick check of the room, as I’m notorious for leaving something behind, nearly everytime I go somewhere, then we headed for our truck. This is where I must add more information. I was and am a full blown horse addict. Future hubby, a fanatic for horsepower. He was interested in my passion, and I was pretty interested in his. He loves everything about certain cars, trucks, tractors, motorcycles and, of course semi-tractors and trailers. There was very little he couldn’t fix, build or repair, and we’d met on the job. The truck we drove around in, was a 1954 Dodge Powerwagon with the original flathead, six cylinder under the hood. If the butterfly hood had actually been on it, that is, as he had taken it off for this weekend road trip. The engine got way too hot when it worked hard, and the hot days didn’t help that small problem.
We walked out to where the truck patiently waited, only to find we were going nowhere fast. Clearly, some of the early morning revellers had decided it would be hilarious to remove all the sparkplug wires, every single one, and they were nowhere to be found.
Just picture it. A beautifully sunny, quiet Sunday morning in a sleepy, little village. No one was stirring, no services, certainly no automotive parts stores. We had a big problem. No sparkplug wires, equalled an engine that couldn’t run. No spark, no fire.
I looked at future hubby, who certainly didn’t appear as concerned as I believed he should be, “Um, so now what?”
“Now … we go scavenge for parts,” he answered, as if he did so every day.
“What do you mean, scavenge?” I suspiciously asked, “Where do you think, we’ll find sparkplug wires around here?”
“I noticed some wrecks not too far away from here when we first came into town,” he nonchalantly answered, “if we’re lucky, there’ll still be sparkplug wires.”
We went for a walk, and as we neared the rusty wrecks, I had serious doubts. They were in extremely rough shape, willows and grass poking up through multiple holes in rusty steel. The cars had clearly been there forever, and the abuse had continued, long after they’d left the road and a useful life. Many a BB pellet had been shot against them, and most of the glass was gone as well.
“Never mind wires,” I sighed, “I’ll be shocked, if there are still engines under the hoods.”
He opened the first hood to the complaining grind and groan of rusty hinges, and grinned. There were six wires on that old, derelict engine … six, just what we needed. They looked to be rough and a tad dried out, but if we were really lucky, they could save us from the bind we were in.
“They’re not in very good shape, are they?” I stated the obvious. “Do you think they’ll work? You know, be good enough?”
“I guess we’ll find out soon enough,” he answered with a nonchalance that was just a bit exasperating.
Here we were, stuck in a one horse town, and that horse wasn’t even rideable, so no use at all. He certainly didn’t seem to grasp the seriousness of the situation, we now found ourselves in.
Well, he busily installed them then told me to fire up the truck. To my utter astonishment, not only did the engine turn over, it started! Sliding over to let future hubby get behind the wheel, I wasn’t surprised when he flashed a self-satisfied grin and said, “And you doubted me.”
“I never doubted you,” I laughed, “I doubted the wires.”
He simply gave a snort in reply. Before we did anything else, it was time to grab some breakfast. It was way too early to bother anyone on a Sunday. I hadn’t asked future hubby what or if he’d come to a decision on Mista Tim. To be honest, I was avoiding asking, just in case he still wanted that darn horse. The second we walked into the packed restaurant, we couldn’t help but notice the somewhat surprised, somewhat ashamed expressions on some of the faces turned towards us. Instantly, I knew we were face to face with the jokesters, who had removed our plug wires. We didn’t say a word to them, and I struggled to keep from grinning. They were completely befuddled. I could almost hear what they were thinking. They had no clue at all, how we were able to start and drive the truck, and that was hilarious.

“As soon as we’re done here,” future hubby abruptly said, “I think you should call them. We’ll make an offer, and if they don’t take it, we’re going to leave him here.”
Startled and relieved, I nodded, “Okay. That sounds like a good plan.”
I was okay with bringing Tim home, if his price reflected his real value, and not someone’s wishful thinking. If he didn’t come around after a few months work, it wouldn’t be a huge loss of money we could ill afford.
As we headed for home a while later, because they still weren’t willing to budge on their price,  I could tell that future hubby was hiding disappointment.
“You know your horse is out there, eh?”
“I guess,” he sighed and shrugged, “we’ll keep looking, but let’s take a break for a while, okay?”
“Sure,” nodding, I understood how he was feeling. Searching for that right horse, seemed a pointless pursuit at times. Future hubby was becoming disenchanted with the whole process.
We arrived home early in the afternoon, only to hear from a friend about a horse. A buckskin gelding at a local riding stable was up for sale because it didn’t fit in. It didn’t do well in a big herd, and riders could easily pull it out of line, not a good thing when what was desired, were horses that followed nose to tail. Not only did he sound like he had potential, he was a ten minute drive from home!
“We’re not taking the trailer,” future hubby stated, “We won’t be buying him anyway, because he won’t be the right horse. Just like every other time.”
I wasn’t worried about it. After all, if he did buy the horse, it was super close to home. “That’s fine.”
Well, future hubby met ‘his’ perfect horse and didn’t want to leave him, to go and get the trailer. The saddle and bridle were in the back of the truck, so he saddled up and rode his new horse home.
That’s how Higgins joined our equine family.

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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