Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Horse Tails


The first winter that I owned my first Morgan, the young stallion, Paprika was also a winter of huge snow. The roads were often impassable. Our yard had huge drifts that we blew paths that looked more like tunnels through, and corral fences disappeared. We were still in the process of planning corral layout and building fences, so there was no stallion pen yet. Paprika had daily turnout into the round pen, as it was one of the first things we built. As the winter dragged on, it too, became impossible to use. Spring was right around the corner, but it wasn’t coming fast enough.
After several particularly snowy days, we had to blow out the yard, all over again. There was no choice but to leave Paprika in his box stall in the barn. There was simply no place, to safely put him out for the day.
Hubby left for work after a weekend of cleaning snow, I went out to do chores. The whole time I was seeing to Paprika then the horses outside, I was feeling badly for the little stallion. He wanted out, and I so wished, I could let him out. Of course, I simply couldn’t leave him in the barn any longer. He needed exercise, and pen to put him into or not, I was going to give him the chance to burn off some steam. The area by the house and garage were cleared of snow, and there was a nice, big area to lunge him in. To me, it was a better idea than keeping poor Paprika cooped up, for days on end.
About now, it’s probably a good time to mention that I was a tad pregnant and as big as a house! Still, it never once entered my head that I possibly shouldn’t take a wired stallion, full of pent up energy, out on my own. That it made far more sense to wait until hubby got home, for a bit of physical support, if nothing else. Sure, it wasn’t easy slogging around in heavy snowmobile boots and one-piece, thick insulated coveralls, never mind the big belly, yet those didn’t qualify as impediments, to my way of thinking. I got out a lunge line, attached the snap to Paprika’s halter and brought him out of his stall.
Oh my, but he was eager. He took one look at that open barn door, and wanted out, more than ever. He was a bit strong, which wasn’t surprising, considering that he’d been confined for days, yet I didn’t worry about it. From a good deal of work from the day we’d bought him, he’d always been respectful and obedient. Excited or not, he would behave. Sure, he was a tad full of himself, but a bit of time on the end of a lunge line, and he’d be a happy camper again. He simply needed energy release, and release energy he did! Galloping at the end of that line, he had me dizzy, in no time at all. He leapt, and bucked, and farted with the sheer exuberance of life and quasi freedom. Then it happened. He leapt into the air with a mighty bound, striking out at nothing but air, only to land with a front leg over the line. Seconds later, I was being towed up the driveway, my boots skidding on the packed snow, as Paprika galloped full tilt towards the road. I couldn’t hold on. Try as I might, I just couldn’t. Halfway up the drive, I lost my grip along with my winter mittens, and Paprika was off! To the road he went, as fast as his four hooves would carry him! Thankfully, he made a hard left, then another onto the dirt road running beside the farm. Through the trees, naked without summer leaves, I watched his spirited exuberance. He was having the best time ever. My mind was racing, as I contemplated all the trouble, a loose stallion could cause. I had to catch him.
Racing, and by racing, I mean slowly running while holding my belly, I headed back towards the barn. I fully intended to run-waddle all the way to the backyard, and catch my wayward scamp.
I truly don’t know what I was thinking. There’s no way a woman with a giant baby-belly, can run anywhere. There was certainly no darn way, I could run fast enough to catch Paprika, before he ran amok amongst the pens and created all kinds of a kerfuffle. Still, that was my intention, and I gave it my all.
I don’t know what possessed that horse to ignore all the horses in the back, but thankfully, he did. We met close to the open, barn door. He, flying up from the south, alongside our long quonset building. Me, panting with exertion from the north. He took one look at me, and charged through that open door into the barn. As quick as I could, I slid the door closed. Leaning against the doorframe, I recovered my breath for a bit, took a minute to call him over to unclip the line then slowly dragged my sorry self to the house. There was no way, I could deal with the horse, not yet. I kicked off the heavy boots that now felt like anchors on my feet, shed the winter wear then managed to climb the stairs to the bedroom.
I was soaked from the effort of running. I had to change into fresh, dry clothes and recover from my ‘run’, before I could go out and deal with Paprika. Though I could well imagine, the trouble that mischievous horse was likely up to, I wasn’t physically able to do more than rest.
Changing my clothes, I caught a glimpse of my huge belly in a mirror, and was aghast with horror. Just like that, I had gone from not one stretch mark, to a meandering roadmap of ugly lines. Now, I’m not a vain person, but that was an extremely disheartening sight. Completely discouraged, I resigned myself to the fact that my unexpected exercise had caused this, and as there wasn’t anything I could do about it, finished up, took a little break then headed back outside. After all, I still had a horse to deal with.
I trudged over to the barn, slid open the big door, and found myself face to face with Paprika, the upholstered seat of the tractor, hanging from his mouth! The damage was done. As I entered the barn, being sure to close the door securely behind me, I surveyed the utter chaos. He’d taken everything off the walls, buckets were strewn about, no inch was left untouched. Taking my pleased appearing horse, back to his stall, I was amazed at the mess he’d created, in such a short while. This was the third tractor seat, my Houdini had ripped apart. Hubby was not going to be impressed.

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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