Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Horse Tails

Life with Higgins

The intention was to keep Higgins by himself, at the property of friends with the calves for company, until he settled in and became used to us. Over the stretch of days where future hubby had taken to walking him to break the bad habits of being both barn soured and herd bound, the pair had formed a bond. The man had instantly fallen victim to Higgins huge personality and somewhat aloof, yet endearing charms. Higgins took a little longer, to understand that future hubby was his person, but when he did, it was clearly obvious for anyone with eyes to see. The gentle horse loved his gentle man. Higgins was affectionate towards me, and loved any attention I bestowed upon him, but if future hubby was about, he was the object of main focus.

Future hubby was very proud of the way Higgins would stay by his side like a big dog, as they walked along together. He enjoyed rubbing in how if I was to allow Thow-ra to walk free by my side, she’d take advantage and be off like a flash! My sweet horse was amazing and could read my mood and emotions like a book, but some habits were impossible to break. She never pulled back or away, yet given the opportunity, would quite happily run home, her head high and to one side, to avoid stepping on the reins. She’d come to me with this knowledge, and used it whenever she could. Funny thing though. She never did so when we were far from home. I never had to worry about losing her when camping out in the wilderness.
Well, future hubby enjoyed showing off how amazing Higgins the wonder horse was, and I continued to caution for him to not be quite so casual and sure. After all, it had only been about a month, they were still developing that special bond, and getting to know each other. We would dismount about a half mile from home, and walk the last distance home. This prevented impatience in the horse, taught them to chill and not be in an all-fired big hurry to get home, as well as having the added benefit of allowing cool-down time for the horse. We also enjoyed conversation time, which was often both entertaining and amusingly argumentative because we’re both the same sort of people, stubborn as all get out. He usually believed he was right about everything, while I knew, I really was. We were walking home one lovely day, I with rein in hand, he with his invisible connection to Higgins, when it seemed to me, that Higgins was getting a bit too far ahead of future hubby.

“He’s walking a bit longer and faster today,” I warned, rolling my eyes and grinning at the immediate assurance that I was worrying, for no good reason. Still, I persisted.
“You shouldn’t let him get ahead of you like that. His head should be beside you, not his shoulder.”
“We do this all the time,” he scoffed with a chuckle, “and he always stays with me. He’s not like your horse. Higgins loves me,” he added with a huge, teasing grin.
Just then, as if to prove him wrong, Higgins broke into a casual, easy, ground-covering trot that was swiftly putting space between us.
“Higgins, Ho!”
Future hubby’s command prompted no response, other than a waggle of Higgins ears.
“Higgins, Whoa,” I added my order directly after. As I wasn’t as much of a softy, and demanded obedience, I had a better chance of receiving it. Not this time though. Higgins was quite happily heading home. The big trot was replaced by an easy canter, and I sighed. Clearly, I was going to have to do some horse wrangling. Meeting future hubby’s expression of sheepish apology with an amused smile, I leapt onto Thow-ra’s bare back, yes … I could actually leap back then, and cantered off after the naughty boy. Now, chasing a horse almost always resulted in more speed in response. As Thow-ra and Higgins were now trail buddies, I hoped to canter alongside, just as we often would on any ordinary day out. He was no dummy. He simply moved a bit further over, and lengthened his stride. He was pulling away from us. He wasn’t afraid or at all threatened. He was going home. No more, no less.

Home for Higgins was about a half mile beyond the land I rented for my horses. As we swiftly approached the driveway, I could tell that although Higgins was very familiar with it, he was going right on by. I had no option but to follow. There was no way I was going to expose him to more risk than necessary. If a vehicle came along, it would be up to me to stop it.
Higgins cantered by the driveway. I followed not too far behind. At the very point of being passed it, my darling Thow-ra, my predictable mare I knew better than I knew myself, did something completely unpredictable. At the very last second, she turned with precision and made that ninety-degree, abrupt turn into the drive. Me, well not so much. I found myself flying through the air, to land in the bottom of the ditch! It was a tad wet, rather muddy, and smelled like, well, a ditch.
Crawling my way up out of that stinking mess, I was met with future hubby’s laughter as he jogged towards me in his cowboy boots. Thow-ra was waiting by the gate while attentively watching me. I could well imagine the trouble she thought herself in, and what did Higgins do? He didn’t carry on, not at all. That darn horse came trotting back, softly nickering to me as if saying, “hey, whatcha doing down there? I thought we were having fun. Are you okay? Anything I can do for you?”
I looked up at that darn horse, and couldn’t help but wryly smile.
“Butthead,” I slowly shook my head with a grin, “you’re hilarious, but still a butthead.”
I had never met a horse as concerned, as apologetic as Higgins was that day. He kept softly talking to me, and gently touched me with his nose. It was impossible to be upset with him
As for future hubby, he continued to walk with Higgins loose by his side, and Higgins never left him again.

  1. I can see that happening!
    But, you still haven’t shared what mysterious breed he was..

    • So many amusing experiences, as for Higgins breed, I still don’t think anyone will guess, but I will tell…eventually!

  2. Higgins was quite a lovely horse after all. He reminds me of a mare we bought for my brother, after the girls all had a horse …. my brother didn’t really like or dislike horses … he just didn’t care one way or the other. I think we girls figured this was another way to get another horse that WE could ride. Anyway, we named the mare White Sox as she was Higgin’s color with four white stockings and the colt at her side was named Scuttlebutt. But as we never really got around to riding White Sox, and my brother never thought about it either, she wasn’t with us long. But she, like Higgins, was a sweetie and we sold her and her colt, to a great home.

  3. Such great writing, I am tempted to busy and write Navada’s story. I don’t know if any one would like it though. My family is sick of hearing about him. I consider him my greatest accomplishment. I don’t have many pictures though, the flood of 2010 took care of that. Nashville made news that day. We couldn’t even see the Kentucky Derby!! The channels were watching the flooding. I was too as our stuff floated everywhere.

    • Thanks for the compliment, and I will bet that there would be an appreciation for another entertaining story. Go for it.

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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