Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Horse Tails


Young horses are like young children, portable entertainment units. Have a child by your side, and you’re bombarded by an endless stream of questions. Each answer seems to lead into another question, then another and another. The curiosity  of a child is insatiable. The curiosity of a young horse, just as ongoing. The saying may be ‘curiosity  killed the cat’, yet it often seemed it was the horse that was too curious for its own good. They run up to potentially dangerous things, like bears and heavy equipment, and simply must look, smell and touch everything with their little noses.
Amy was no different. She had to visit everyone she saw, often running over to visit people swimming in the pit or out walking their dogs. If there were people about, then to her way of thinking, surely they wanted to meet her. Invariably, they always did, which reinforced the idea that people were pretty darn wonderful.
On hot days, friends and I would go swimming, using Thow-ra as a diving board. Thow-ra would patiently stand for ages and ages, parked there in the water, as we took turns launching off her rump, over and over again. When she grew tired of our nonsense, she’d snort and give her head a shake. This was our ‘last call’ for dives, as she was ready to go. Ignore the warning, and the walk home would be a long, tiring one. I learned that from experience, as I waited that little bit too long a couple of times, and walked all the way home as my reward. It had simply been too much fun to stop diving and swimming, and I had to do so, one time too many. Of course it took more than once, for me to learn my lesson. Walking back to the property on a hot, dusty day eventually taught me to pay attention.
One of the times we were having a wonderful time, cooling off from a few hours of racing all over the trails, I looked at Amy, and thought it was strange, how she would come chest-deep into the water, but no further. Surely, I thought to myself, she would enjoy more. The cool water felt wonderful and refreshing. Clearly, she just didn’t understand that … yet. Well, I simply went around to stand between the shore and little, yearling Amy, and easily pushed her in. She didn’t fuss or resist in any way. She simply sank, and kept on sinking! It took a few, long seconds to register in my head that I had to do something, or my sweet Amy would surely drown! Diving in after her, I caught her halter and pulled her, completely unresisting or panicking in any way whatsoever, back to the surface. I stood there beside her as she snorted and gave a little cough, and couldn’t believe what I had just witnessed, so I pushed her in again! Just like moments before, Amy sank without making a single effort to swim or save herself. Diving in, to bring her back up again, I led her to the shore, now coughing and sputtering a bit. It was a bit difficult to absorb, yet the truth had been witnessed by my own two eyes, Amy couldn’t swim. As strange a concept as that was, it was still as true as could be. She had no fear of water, and I could easily have pushed her in, for a third go of it. I owned a horse that sank like a rock. I decided then and there, that I would never check to see if she would try in the future, and went so far as to warn her new owners a few years later, of this strange trait. I surely didn’t want anyone to try swimming with her, and experience what I did.
Her love of people was something else that never changed. She loved being the centre of attention, and revelled in all she could get. There’s one time in particular that sticks in my mind. We were tearing along a long, winding trail, having the time of our lives, when we suddenly realized, there was no little palomino following along behind. The little scamp must’ve taken one of the many trails off the one we were on, and was off exploring on her own.
Now, way back when I was young, a large part of the area we rode was taken up by a resort called the Ponderosa. There were cabins way up on the hill that people from Winnipeg liked to rent, horses to go riding the trails on, and a huge swimming area, similar to the gravel pit we swam in. We steered clear of the resort, as it was usually full of people and all sorts of vehicles and the like. It was the haunt of all the local kids when I was growing up, and I almost drowned in the large kiddy pool, when I was about six or seven. Funny thing was, that experience didn’t take away my love of water, and I learned to swim like a fish.
So, we searched high and low for Amy, with absolutely no success at all. She was a smart, calm little creature, so we were concerned, yet not overly so. She had to be somewhere … but where? Regrouping on the highest hill we could find, we noticed that way down below, and on the other side of the clear blue swimming pit, there was a bit of a commotion going on, by the cafeteria of the resort. As if to make sure we saw what she did, Thow-ra whinnied so long and loudly that her whole body shook from the effort.
The creator of that crowd of people was her very own, adopted filly, Amy, and she wanted her back.
We made our way around the water and down the long parking area to the concession area, to collect the wayward filly. No surprise, she didn’t want to leave. She was being mobbed by enthusiastic admirers, and loved every minute of it. All we could see was the top of her golden head and startling white mane. She certainly was a character, that sweet Amy, and she gave many people who had never interacted with a horse up close like that, a very good story to tell.

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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