Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Horse Tails

Higgins the wonder horse

Higgins was future hubby’s wonderful mount and buddy, Thow-ra’s beau, and an enjoyable ride. He went on many a trail ride, did a bit of competitive trail, and the future hubby’s favourite, parades. As it turned out, Higgins was a bit of a ham. He loved the camera, and all the attention. After all, life surely was all about him, so if there were people about, of course they should be patting and paying attention to him. He was eternally forgiving, was incredibly careful around little children, and didn’t have a mean bone in his body. He would be as wooly as a buffalo in the winter, and as slick as could be in the summer. So much so that it was like he was two different horses depending on the season. Out on a beautiful lovely summer day’s ride, he pulled up dead lame. It didn’t take a rocket scientist, to immediately see the problem. The wonderful Higgins had surely torn a suspensory ligament. The angle of his pastern had changed radically. There was a definite drop, and I felt absolutely ill over it. This wasn’t fixable. There was little to do but walk him home, and call the vet.
To my dismay, I was correct. Future hubby’s Higgins had a torn suspensory ligament. His days of riding seemed over. Still, we’re not the sort who throw in the towel, at the first sign of trouble. If we could help him heal, we were going to do everything possible.
The vet sighed as he looked at Higgins’ poor leg, “If there was only some way to support the fetlock, allow everything to calm down and heal, that would be a big help. With the weight off the pastern, he just may have a chance.”
By this time, a very concerned future hubby had joined us, and he wanted to know more, “like how? What do you mean?”
Glancing away from Higgins to future hubby, the vet perked up. The interest in designing whatever the horse required was evident. If it was at all possible, it would be done. The wheels in hubby’s head were already turning. The vet discussed the requirements and concerns, and we called a farrier. Hubby and I studied angles, compared one leg to another, a million measurements were taken, and in no time at all, future hubby created a support, using a horseshoe as the base. To all effects and purpose, there was now a sling to support Higgins fetlock. There were adaptations that were made as design flaws became apparent, but it worked. Higgins could heal without adding extra strain on the tear. Swelling went down, and he didn’t appear in pain. A few days after the farrier set the shoe, one of the vertical side bars broke. What did we do with the incomparable Higgins? Why, we draped a damp cloth down his shoulder and leg, covered his eye on that side, and hubby welded the break. Not only did he weld the break, he also added a horizontal bar for added strength. There was no question that Higgins wouldn’t patiently stand and not make a fuss, even as sparks flew and molten metal sizzled. He was Higgins the great. Of course he would stand. Was there ever a doubt? Not a one.
After the shoe came off, he couldn’t do the long rides any longer, and galloping and playing were left to the pasture, but we would wrap his leg for support and he could be ridden in parades. At the young age of eighteen, and with a bit of a hiccup a couple of weeks into it, he was trained to pull the democrat, for when future hubby became now hubby.
Not long after the wedding, I had several weanling Arabs for sale. It’s funny sometimes, just how small the world is, and how happenchance can step in. One of the people who came to see the weanlings, was Higgins old owner. Not from the stable hubby bought him from, but the woman who sold him to them. She was shocked and emotional to see him, and we learned so much about him. He was indeed, a very rare breed. The snooty, somewhat arrogant but still loveable Higgins was a rare Moyle horse.
He became the talk of the town, and through the grapevine, was invited to be at the Winnipeg Convention Centre in a display of rare breeds. Higgins loved it and was a huge hit. At the end of the day, because he was so steady and people-friendly, he was led out into the open area before the stalls, and people were invited to say hello. We never expected the rush of people, mostly children, who mobbed him, yet we didn’t have to worry. He took it all in his usual, casual style, and soaked it in the unexpected rush of attention. He didn’t have even an inch of physical space or room to move, yet it was fine. He was quite simply, that wonderful a horse. He lifted his head high and looked at the hubby and I, as if checking to make sure this was okay. Hubby scratched the warm neck, I patted the buckskin rump, and there were no issues. He loved all the attention, that darn horse. He was getting his fifteen minutes of fame, and was making the most of it.
Higgins years after his injury were casual, low-impact ones. He was ridden a little, driven a little, and generally lived the life of Riley. He was spoiled a little and loved a lot.  The special shoe that aided his recovery was brassed, and has been a doorstop in our home for decades. Higgins suffered an injury that many people would have ended his life over, but we didn’t allow it to be the end of his story. He was a very special horse, that Higgins.

  1. Ok, this is the best

  2. Hi Trudy

    I found your “BLOG”! Thought I may have missed one on the other site. I re-read about Higgins. And I still have tears in my eyes as I write this. What a beloved horse! As soon as I had a little more time I want to order some of your books.

    • Higgins was a special horse and we were fortunate to have him. I’m so pleased that you enjoy the little Horse Tails.

  3. This is my 3rd time reading Higgins. What I wouldnt give to find a Higgins of my own!❤

    • He was a pretty wonderful horse, but I’m sure there are more Higgins out there! 3 times eh? Guess I need to write another Higgins story.

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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