Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Horse Tails

The search continues.

With Higgins on permanent light-duties, we searched and found Sundance Kidd, hubby’s second horse. The horse that had been touted to be so good, you could shoot off him, was anything but. Shoot off that horse, and you’d physically be ‘shooting’ off him! Over the next while, we got to know him. He didn’t stand tied, and showed us this repeatedly and in dramatic fashion. We’d been misled about how steady and sensible he was, as he was anything but, yet there was something they had been truthful about. Kidd wanted nothing to do with being dewormed or shots. We were told that it took ten people and a giant of a vet to see to the task, and after dealing with Kidd for a bit, we could see it as true. It was spring and it was time to do what had to be done. We gathered up a few helpers, and prepared to tackle the task.
I had Kidd in a small pen, and a couple of heavy panels to make it even smaller. Poor Kidd. It was plain as the nose on your face that he knew something was up, and was freaked out about it. His eyes were wild and wide, head high, nostrils flared as he blew at us. The poor fellow was so stressed, I swear I could hear his heart madly thumping. We approached with intentions of restraining the big fellow then I changed my mind.
“This isn’t right,” I frowned, while contemplating the possibilities, “we can’t be doing this, every single time he needs a shot or deworming. This is ridiculous.
Give me a minute to think.”
I didn’t need the whole minute. I decided that the best plan of action was to leave him be for a few minutes, allow him time to calm down then use a different approach. I would deworm and give him his shots by myself. No help, no over-restraint, and hopefully far less stress for the poor horse. Everyone left the area while I took down the panels, Kidd warily watching my every move. As concerned and distrustful as he was, he was never difficult to catch. I easily caught him up again, walked him around inside the pen a little, all the while patting his neck and talking sweet talk to calm him, then decided it was as good a time as any. Walking over to where I’d set the syringe and dewormer, I casually picked up the shot and made sure to tap any air bubbles out. I didn’t do anything to warn him of my intentions, so I didn’t shorten my hold on Kidd. To remove the chance of startling him, I bumped my fist at the spot where the needle would go in to desensitize then had the deed done in mere seconds. Without all the nonsense to stress him out, Kidd was perfectly fine. No fighting, no rearing, no pounding heart, nothing but a prick forward of his ears. Now for the deworming.
I rarely had problems deworming horses. Keeping the same casual hold on the lead, neither giving him enough slack to move away from me, but not so restrictive that he stressed either, I simply played with his mouth. I stuck my finger between the gap in a horse’s teeth, touched his tongue, poked around to show him it wasn’t a big deal then, when he was quite disgusted with me touching his tongue, I simply replaced my finger with the deworming syringe, job done. Not only was it done, it was done simply and without a fight. Score one for me, or maybe even two. It was time for the hubby to start riding his new horse.
I have to give the man credit. He certainly gave it a good go. We went riding every chance we had. Hubby up on Sundance Kidd, me on whichever horse I happened to be training or putting work on. We were barely a half mile from home, one fine, sunny day, Kidd doing his usual hop, prance, hop skip little jump, when hubby looked at me up on Chewy, the big Morgan gelding I had just finished training.
“Pull up,” he said, even as he did so. Well as much as one could stay in one spot on Kidd. The horse didn’t know the meaning of stand, and the prancing and fussing generally continued.
“Why? What’s wrong?” Instantly wondering, I was a bit confused.
“Nothing’s wrong,” he assured as he swung off Kidd then held out the reins to me, “I just want to try out your horse, okay?”
Taken aback, I was both surprised and pleased by the request. I liked that he wanted to ride more than one horse, and the horses benefited from being ridden by different people as well. Having pulled up as soon as he did, I agreed and immediately dismounted. We exchanged horses, mounted up and were barely a few feet further when he completely threw me for a loop.
“He’s your horse now. I can’t deal with him.”
“But …?” I began to protest, only to be stopped by a firm shake of the head.
“No buts about it. You can deal with that. I can’t. He’s yours.”
And that’s how I came to own and thoroughly enjoy the biggest wingnut around. Hubby was down a horse, and my herd had increased by one. The search for another horse for hubby began again, and that’s how Robin came to live with us.

  1. It is always smart to be honest and when you are done with a project (or a horse?) to just fess up and get on with your life! Few people I have ever known have had the good sense to do so though.

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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