Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Horse Tails

The Ride that was Kidd

Sundance Kidd was always an exciting ride. Though some would tire of a horse that was always asking for more, always prancing, dancing, skipping about, yet I never did. He was always on, and never boring. For all his ‘hot’ behaviour, he never once acted out against any person. He never bucked, kicked, struck or bit. His ‘airs above the ground’ were often spectacular and with little warning, yet I loved to ride him. A phenomenal jumper, he would pull towards jumps, even if you were simply passing them by. He never refused doing things that worried him, not really … he simply let you know that he wasn’t keen, yet always carried through with a little persistence.
His enemy was ‘the rock’. Rocks terrified that big horse. Boulders, well they horrified him. I swear I could hear Kidd trying to convince me that rocks and boulders were actually cougars in hiding. So many cougars, sitting perfectly still and ready to pounce. Yup, as far as Kidd was concerned, rocks ate horses!
Birds Hill provincial park had horse-eating boulders at many trail entrances, in areas where vehicles weren’t allowed, and naturally occurring as well. Sometimes, we would have to ride between two, big boulders to get to a trail or riding area.
Poor Kidd, he would gulp from the stress of it, deke a bit to each side, then inevitably tackle the request, with a mighty leap no cougar could match. Once through, he would simply go along, as if he hadn’t just thwarted his enemy.
One particularly amusing ride, where Kidd’s aversion to rocks came into play, will always stand out in my mind.
My friend Lorelei, her daughter Darcy, and I went riding in Birds Hill park. It was a beautifully sunny day, and we enjoyed a lovely ride. As per usual, Sundance Kidd needed a bit of a run. As far as he was concerned, we’d done enough walking. It was time to stretch his legs!
We’d reached a long stretch of track that ran along the powerlines on the south side of the park. He wanted to blow off steam, and I wanted to let him. These gallops were a high point of every ride, for both of us. I advised my fellow riders of my intention, that I would take Kidd for a bit of a gallop, breeze him out then return to rejoin them. As they weren’t keen on a good run, they were more than agreeable with my plan.
Away we went, that excited horse and I. He simply loved to run, and recognized the opportunities when they appeared before him. As for me, I loved the power I felt beneath me. Every muscle and nuance translated through him to me, and it was amazingly thrilling. There was no saddle between us, no bareback pad to lessen the experience as we galloped along, and I revelled in the feel of the wind on my face.
Suddenly, there was the oddest sensation, as if the tall horse beneath me, dropped a couple of feet of height, while shifting his whole body to the right at the same time. To all affects and purpose, Kidd shrank right out from beneath me, without missing a beat. Just like that, I was no longer astride, but running alongside! I was a trick rider without even knowing how I’d accomplished it. As I still had the reins in my hand, I pulled Kid down to a walk then halt. Attempting to hop back on, I simply couldn’t do it. I was laughing way too hard, for any sort of success. Leading the tall gelding back towards my friends, I came upon the catalyst to Kidd’s reaction, and cause of my unexpected dismount, a large rock. Not a boulder, but a simple rock that was maybe a foot in height. Though almost hidden in the grass, Kidd had spotted that imaginary cougar, and reacted accordingly.
Funny thing, I stood him beside that very rock, and used it as a mounting block! That Kidd, such a funny character.

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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