Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Horse Tails

More Mayphil

When you own Morgan horses, you soon learn that you are working with a curious mind. Mayphil was just like her papa. She had to check out everything. If there was a knot, she undid it. If a gate was closed, she checked to see if she could open it. Leave anything hanging on the fence, it would be gone. Her curiosity was endless and insatiable. She was incredibly generous when practicing escapism. If she could get out and open more gates, she did so. After all, what fun was freedom without friends to share it with?
One of those horses that skipped the first steps of basic training, she simply went along with anything, we asked of her. My attention was caught by some noise outside of the kitchen window one day, only to see our girl-Friday and one of our boarders riding double on a completely compliant Mayphil. She didn’t fuss at all, nor did she care about saddles and bridles. If a human was asking her to do something, clearly it had to be okay.
When we built and build anything that will have horses around it, we try to go for safe, as safe as possible. To that end, when hubby made a gate for our round pen, he thought hard about a sturdy, yet safe mechanism for closing and securing it in place. I trained horses in that pen. The gate had to be every bit as substantial and formidable as the rest of the structure. The handle was a concern and a bit of something to puzzle over. Finally deciding on a heavy threaded rod, hubby drilled a hole into the slider, slid the rod in half way then covered it thusly. First, heavy washers went on to sit against the middle, then a couple of big nuts were wound all the way on from both sides, keeping the rod solid and securely in place. A metal tube was slid over the rod, and it too, was secured with big nuts. Too make everything safe, both sides had a motorcycle handle cover slipped on.
Though Mayphil practically trained herself, I still wanted to work on the finer points, like reining and standing still when asked. Leaving her in the round pen, I ran up to the house for a few minutes. Walking back just a short time later, I was amused by her enthusiastic nicker. It surely seemed like she was eagerly trying to tell me something. Something she was extremely pleased about.
“Geez, I’m coming already,” I chuckled as I hurried back, “Hold your horses, or yourself, funny girl.”
The nearer I got, the more I thought that something didn’t look quite right. She was bobbimg her head up and down, talking to me as if telling a big story, and really did appear to be quite happy with something. Then I understood. The gate would’ve been swinging open, if it wasn’t for the ‘security’ rope I’d tied it shut with and tied to the outside, well out of Mayphil’s reach, she would’ve been out. As I’d astutely assumed, she’d slid the gate open, but had been stymied by the rope. Still, something still looked a bit odd.
Reaching the gate, I had to laugh. There on the ground at Mayphil’s hooves, were all the components that made up the handle, heavy nuts that had been tightened with hand tools, big flat washers, the rubber handlebar cover and round tube, it was all there. If ever there was a horse that was proud of its accomplishment, it was Mayphil. She put her nose to the random bits and pieces lying on the sandy ground then touched my arm, just as if she was saying, “see boss … see what I did? Pretty great, eh?”
I had to agree with her as she nuzzled me and made a big deal of her efforts, well sort of anyway. It wasn’t a good thing, her being able to undo all of that with her teeth and lips, but darn it, how amazing that she could do it, too.
I thought this story would make more sense, if I added some more pictures. They’re of the handle when it’s all together, and how it was when Mayphil dismantled it. The handle we now have on the inside of the pen, and how the gate was also tied for extra security, and what we do now, so horses can’t slide the gate open! They’re tricky, so I have to be trickier!

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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