Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Horse Tails

Finding Robin

Sometimes, you’ll come across what you’re looking for, without having done the looking. Happenchance can be a wonderful thing, yet at times, not. Coming across Robin was like that.
I was delivering a load of gravel out in the countryside a few miles from home, when out in a pasture, what did I see? There, shining like gold, to the point where the other horses faded into the background was my hubby’s dream horse. Dark gold, super white mane and tail, and the clincher, four white legs! Pulling over the truck, I simply couldn’t resist walking through the ditch to go to the fence for a closer look. Be still my beating heart! The horses walked over, because of course curiousity is as ingrained in horses as it is in cats, and I was afforded a good look-over the pretty horse. That she was a mare made not a bit of difference. What I liked, beyond the colour that had caught my attention, was her conformation and size. Not only was she pretty and the ‘perfect’ combination of colours, the girl was built. Now all there was as an issue, was whether or not she could be bought. It didn’t matter if she was trained or not. I could fix that. Not for sale was a problem I couldn’t do anything about.
It was a good thing, I had just delivered my last load of the day, as I could hardly wait to get home to tell the hubby all about her. Sure, it was entirely possible that she wasn’t available for purchase, but then again, maybe she was. I had every intention of collecting the man the minute I got home, so we could go and find out.
Well, after I excitedly told hubby about my ‘golden find’, he also became a bit on the eager side.
“Should I bring cash? You know, just in case.”
“Absolutely,” immediately agreeing, because cash in the hand was always tempting, and often saw the result you wanted, I was enthusiastically optimistic. It had to be kismet, me hauling a load to an area I rarely did, and seeing that horse. She was perfect, at least colour-wise, for a spaghetti western loving man. As we drew near enough to see her, I eagerly pointed her out, though I needn’t have. Of course he’d already spotted her. By the expression on hubby’s face and in his eyes, he wanted her as much as I thought he would.
“It won’t be for sale,” he said as we drove up the long driveway, “nobody in their right mind is going to sell a horse like that. For sure not for what we can afford.”
Clearly, he was trying very hard to keep from getting his hopes up too high.
“You never know,” I cheerfully disagreed, “maybe they hate her, and want to get rid of her, eh? Maybe,” I grinned as he rolled his eyes and sighed, “maybe we’re just at the right time. We’re here now. I guess we’ll know soon enough, right?”
“I guess,” giving in to my optimism, he parked and we got out of the pickup.
There were already people coming out of the house. We were committed.
To our pleased surprise, the horse was for sale. Her name was Robin. She was a mix of Quarter horse, Arabian and Thoroughbred, and would we like to try her out?
Um, do ducks like water? Of course we did! Or rather, hubby wanted me to try Robin out, and I wanted to see her be ridden, before I climbed aboard. Mista Tim had taught me a lesson, sort of maybe. Well, this time anyway. Unlike Mista Tim, she was a little tricky to catch, fussed a little while being tacked up, yet not that bad at all. He led her from the barn to an empty pasture, then the craziest, most bizarre, coolest, most cowboy thing I’d ever seen happened. That horse began to gallop, not trot, not spin, but gallop as if she was turning a barrel and didn’t know how to get away from it. The owner stood there in the middle of this tiny, crazy circle of speed, because to all effects and purpose, he was the barrel she was turning. His hand followed the saddlehorn as he turned with her, then he suddenly caught the saddlehorn and like a gymnast, swung up into the saddle and they were off! Astounded, hubby and I watched them go in a flurry of white mane and tail, enthusiastically bucking at a full gallop as they tore away down the field.
I don’t know whose eyes were bigger when hubby and I exchanged glances, but we were both amazed and dismayed, yet impressed. Wow, I mean wow! He came galloping back to pull up and stop before us. Well, sort of stop before us, because her whoa wasn’t very evident, and emergency brakes completely nonexistent. He leapt down with the same easy agility that he’d mounted Robin with and grinned, “So, who’s trying her out?”
“She is,” my husband said, casually motioning my way before giving me that look that I knew meant that if I didn’t, he’d never let me forget it.
“Right,” I agreed, as it seemed I didn’t have much choice. After all, I didn’t want hubby to tell the story of how I was ‘afraid’ to ride a horse, “I’ll try her out, but none of that galloping around me stuff. Hold her head please?”
He did, Robin stood, sort of, I climbed aboard and away we went. Most of the buck had been galloped out of her.
The most I got was a few running hops, which were no big deal. She wasn’t the smoothest horse, which surprised me a little. But then, she was all strung out without a shred of collection, so it wasn’t all that surprising. All in all, I figured I had something to work with, and hubby would end up with a good horse with lots of stamina. She would be perfect, for miles and miles of trail riding. After hopping down, I shared a look and slight nod with hubby. It was his turn now, but not to ride, to negotiate the purchase.
While we admired his incredibly well trained gelding, hubby felt him out for a price, and an agreement was made. Holding out cash money, really was effective.
Hubby paid, recieved a bill of sale then we hurried home to get the trailer. We were gone all of thirty or forty minutes only to return and find that there was no one home. It was the weirdest thing. They knew we were coming right back, but had left. There was nothing to do but catch Robin, who was back out in the pasture, another rather odd thing, load up and go.
I always had a little pail of oats in the trailer, just for emergencies, and used it to bribe Robin over and get a halter on her pretty head. Leading her to the trailer, I hoped she’d just step up and in. Within minutes, we knew why the homeowners had flown the coop, Robin didn’t load. It wasn’t that she was afraid or anything. She simply planted her hooves, lay back her ears, and said no. She said it with every shiny hair of her golden coat, and actually ground her teeth at us. Well, no horse was going to grind her teeth and threaten me. Certainly not without some sort of discipline.
Instructing hubby to stand at the front of the trailer, but out of the way on the passenger side of the trailer. When only hauling one horse, we always loaded it on the driver’s side for safety reasons.
Roads are slightly rounded to the middle, to keep moisture from sitting on them. If loaded on the driver’s side, the weight of the horse kept the trailer on the road far longer if it was to detach from the tow vehicle, far longer than if the weight was on the ditch side. Hubby tried to coax Robin in with no result. I picked up the lunge whip we’d brought along and gave her a tap on the butt. Robin was not impressed. Swiftly turning her rear to me, she kicked out like a mule! No matter where I moved to, that butt followed. She would’ve kicked my head off if she could’ve.
It took us more hours to get that blasted horse onto the trailer than I care to remember. As we finally drove out of their yard, hubby looked at me, shrugged and smiled, “Well, we certainly know why they left home. She was aiming for you.”
“She certainly was,” I agreed and had to laugh, “What have we done this time? I mean, how are we going to fix this, eh?”
“There is no we,” he snorted with a laugh, “You get to fix her. I’m happy to wait.”
“Thanks,” I wryly chuckled, “But not today. I’m pooped. Tomorrow, okay?”
“Okay,” hubby laughed, “but tomorrow, to work!”

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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