Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Horse Tails

Cantering Kidd

Recalling competitive trail rides on Robin, reminds me of some that stick in my mind, but with that big wingnut, Sundance Kidd. I did compete with him a few times, even in competitive trail, though he didn’t do great at vet checks, as he was too easily excited. Heart rates need to come down at the vet checks, not jump, because there’s a lot going on. Our favourite thing to do together, was simply pleasure riding, and I found riding Kidd extremely pleasurable. Often, I had to force myself to forgo riding him, because I seriously needed to put rides on horses in training. Still, I gave in to the impulse a good amount of the time anyway.
It didn’t matter how long you rode for, or how far, Kidd needed the chance to stretch his legs now and again. The big fellow had a need for speed, and the truth of it was, so did I. Once, when I was riding in Birds Hill Park with a few friends, I said that I was going for a bit of a gallop, and would catch up with them in a bit.
Away we went, Kidd revelling in a bit of speed, me loving the wind against my face. After a while, we came to an area that appeared to be leading towards an approaching road, and I was pretty pleased with how well I’d done. I was to meet back up with my friends near the east gate of the park. Kidd had a bit of a run, I’d enjoyed myself, everything was good. Approaching the horse gate, I frowned as I had a better look at the road coming into view. I wasn’t anywhere near the park’s east gate. I was on the south side of the park instead.
No problem, Kidd could gallop for miles before he tired, and I certainly didn’t mind the run. Back into the bush we went. My plan was to cut across, as the crow flies. Never mind crows flying. Kidd’s hooves could fly over the ground, and would make up the time, no problem at all. I had every confidence in him. What I shouldn’t have had confidence in was, my sense of direction, of which I have absolutely none. Not one iota, nothing, nada and nil. I quite happily venture off time and again, blissfully oblivious to my shortcomings. The next time we came out of the bush, I was somewhat surprised to find, we’d somehow completely missed the park stables, and the east horse gate by miles.
About here is where I should remind you that as previously mentioned, I have no sense of direction. Never mind turn me around twice and I’d be lost. Give me a half turn, and I have no idea at all, which way is which.
The wisest thing to do at that point, would’ve been to leave the park, and travel in the ditch, to get where I wanted to go. That would’ve been the wise choice, yet not the one I made. Of course I returned to the forest and trails. I mean seriously, why ride in a ditch, no matter how wide and nice, if you can canter along lovely trails through forest?
I wasn’t too concerned about the time, as we motored along. My friends were casually walking. Kidd and I, well, we were covering ground. If I missed catching them in the park, I’d see them at the farm of a friend. It was where we had trailered to and ridden from, so no worries.
There were a few times we were enveloped in the quiet of thick bush. The only sound was Kidd’s breathing and his hooves on the dirt trail. It smelled of evergreens, flowers and horse sweat. It was, quite simply, the most glorious thing.
Catching the sounds of traffic, I smiled. I’d finally done it. I had worked my way in an arc back to highway 206. I wondered if I would still catch my friends, or if I’d missed them. Following the trail, I rode out of the bush into the open then sat there in dismay. Before us was Highway 59. The 4-lane highway that ran north and south, on the west side of the park. Highway 206, the highway I wanted, was behind me a good six miles or so.
Oh no.
For the briefest moment, I was a bit bummed. Yet, I had no choice but to head back again. This time, I stayed to the outside edge of the park. I had no intention of ending up on yet another side of the park. Certainly, everyone would be waiting on me by now.
Kidd’s long stride covers ground, like nobodies business. Riding out in the open wasn’t as much fun or as pleasant as the shade of the trees, but I had no choice. I was suddenly pressured for time. Eventually cantering up the powerline behind my friends farm, I was feeling guilty for making everyone wait. Riding into the yard, I scanned ahead with a sense of confusion. Where in the world was everyone? Was it possible? Could I have beaten them back, despite all the miles Kidd and I had travelled? As incredible as it was, it appeared that we had indeed, made it back before them.
Just in case they were waiting around by the park for me, I headed Kidd back again, this time at a walk. It was time to cool down and recover. As much as he would’ve cantered on, one of us had to use some common sense. Even if it was a little late in the game. Sure enough, it wasn’t very long, before I saw the riders coming back to our starting point.
After telling my story, I don’t know if they actually believed what I’d done, and how many miles I had put on. Then again, they knew me well, so it wasn’t a stretch. Man oh man, but could Kidd canter.

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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