Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Horse Tails

Kids and their Horses

There is little more important than pairing a precious child, with a perfect horse. I could never understand the logic of some parents who would come to look at horses I had for sale, then dismiss them as too expensive. Why buy one of mine for fifteen to thirty-five hundred, when it was possible to buy a thoroughbred off the track, for a few hundred? My answer was always the same, “Don’t you love your child more than anything in the whole, wide world?”
The answer was always the same, “Yes, that’s why I’m buying little Sally a horse, because I love her.”
My reply? “Then choose a horse that isn’t likely to kill her.”
The discussion would invariably turn to the difference in price. I would explain that raising a horse to maturity, gelding if a colt, seeing to health care, feed and the like were expensive. I would add that training had to be worth something, especially the breadth and scope of work that was put into the horse. On top of all of that, there was a stud fee to consider, as well as the costs of keeping a gestating mare. A race horse off the track didn’t have the training or work put into it, that my horses had either. Race horses are bred and pointed in another direction … to race, as fast as they possibly could. A race horse off the track and a child, are rarely a wise combination. Still, they’re cheap, have a mane and tail, and the proper neigh. Too many couldn’t see by all of that and went the least expensive, initial price route.
I on the other hand, searched for the right mounts for my children. A pony for the boychild was easy. I bought back Chauncey, a lovely, Shetland Welsh cross gelding I had raised and sold, before I thought about having kids of my own. A pony for sweetpea proved far more difficult. I went through a few ponies, none of which worked out for the girlchild. You see, right from the very beginning, Sweetpea rode with a very light hand. As a matter of fact, to say she rode with a light hand was actually incorrect. She rode with her fingertips, a thumb and pointing finger on each hand, as a matter of fact.
There was Northern Cross Laddy, from the smallest type of Welsh pony, a section A. I trained him to ride and drive then sold him to a young mom who wanted a driving pony. Then there was Puzzle, an adorable, slightly older Pinto pony that was far too strong for gentle, soft sweetpea. The whole time I was hunting for a pony for sweetpea, I was on the hunt for the tiniest Morgan I could find, and after three, long years of searching, found the lovely Beatrice. At twelve hands high, she fit the bill height-wise, and she had a sweet, tractable personality. Both child and tiny Morgan were three years old. While I trained Beatrice, sweetpea could continue to ride Chauncey double with her brother, or on her own.
Those two kidlets had the best buddy, best childminder and best pony possible in Chauncey. He was an incredibly trustworthy pony, with none of the vices so many seem to have. As Chauncey was raised and trained like a horse, and never treated like a dog, he didn’t become spoiled and unruly. The kidlets could happily play with and ride him, and I never had to worry, no saddle so no getting hung up either. I preferred that they simply fell off, dust themselves off and carry on.
As they grew braver, or I did, they were allowed to take him out of the round pen and ride around our expansive yard. Off they would go, the pair of them perched on Chauncey’s round back, the boychild up front, tiny girl behind. I can’t even count the times they would want Chauncey to go faster, only to experience that body jiggling trot that was near impossible to sit. I don’t know why, but it always seemed to be the boy who would bobble off, leaving sweetpea up there on the rumble seat, all by herself, sans reins. Chauncey never took advantage of the situation, never dumped sweetpea off, never began running. He would simply jog a bit further, or stop and look back at the boy.
Poor boychild. He would be so upset that Chauncey would suddenly be for sale, until he was asked how much. His answer, a million diamonds! Chauncey was his million diamind pony, and worth every carat and carrot, too. Funny thing was, as much as Chauncey babysat his tiny charges, he had little use for the neighbour girls. That was when he would look for those low-hanging branches, to swipe them off with. He didn’t bite, buck, kick or strike, but he was certainly no dummy. He knew who he liked, and showed it.
Over the years, Chauncey and the kids went in parades, to birthday parties and all sorts of events. Though the boychild outgrew Chauncey and moved up to a far bigger horse, there was never a thought of selling his beloved pony. He grew into a giant man, but the pony remained his forever friend.

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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