Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Horse Tails

The Bigger They Are

The bigger horses are, the harder you fall, for them. At least that’s what seems to happen here. There’s something incredibly endearing about Draft horses. They usually have a gentleness about them that’s as big as they are. Tom was that horse. He was as loveable a Belgian horse as he was large, and easily wound his way into our lives.
Just better than two thousand pounds of beautiful sorrel, he was as keen on attention, as we were on giving it. He was a people horse, and enjoyed attention of any kind, especially from children of any age. He was so sweet that the kidlets could do pretty well anything with him, and when it came to sweetpea, often did.
After the run away event, hubby decided he would like to drive his horses single, as well as double. With that in mind, he bought the proper bits and pieces of harness to adapt half a team harness, into a single one. As Tom was hubby’s favourite, and horse of choice, he was the one hubby started out with.
Everything went exceedingly well at first. As hubby had wanted at least one of his heavy horses to be trained to saddle, I had seen to that part of Tom’s education, soon after he’d joined our herd. He was used to being away from his teammate, so we figured driving him by himself, would be as easy as pie. Hubby practiced driving Tom all over the yard, as well as up and down the gravel roads, built a stoneboat to pull then it was time to enjoy the fruits of his labour.
Towing the stoneboat into our large riding ring, because though Tom was harness trained, and had a good deal of experience under his collar, we saw no reason to be careless, at this point in the game. Tom was harnessed and driven over to the ring. He was as good as gold, just as we’d expected him to be. When asked to back up to the stoneboat, he immediately obeyed. I hooked the tugs to the boat then took my place at Tom’s head. It was now or never.
“Step,” hubby encouraged, using the word Tom was conditioned to respond to.
On cue, Tom leaned into the harness then stopped with something akin to confusion. When hubby repeated his command, Tom briefly tried to pull the stoneboat again, only to give up just as quickly at the considerable weight. We had assumed he would be a bit surprised, by the difference in pulling a stoneboat, compared to anything on wheels. Dragging something on the ground, snow or not, would be harder to do than pulling anything on wheels. Then there was the lack of a buddy as well. Tom had never pulled anything, without another horse by his side. For all we knew, Tom was the slacker, and Pat did all the work when they were hitched together.
“Poor baby,” I chuckled and shared a grin with hubby, “Is this too heavy for you, big boy? Do you need my help?”
Half joking around for hubby’s benefit, I reached up, put a couple of fingers on the cheekpiece of Tom’s bridle, as if it would help and grinned. Lo and behold, the second my fingers, touched just above the bit, Tom could pull! The weight of the stoneboat was suddenly of no significance. He went from weak marshmallow to super horse, in the blink of an eye! Amazed and amused, I lifted my fingers off, Tom stopped. Put them back on, he could suddenly pull.
Now, when I say fingertips, I mean fingertips. I wasn’t holding or pulling on the big horse, in any way at all. Apparently, I’m not touched like hubby likes to tease that I am at all! Instead, I have the ‘magic’ touch! Two of my fingertips, against a Draft horse’s bridle, and it gets super strength. Funny, I always figured that if I was to have a superhero strength or talent, it would be something just a tad different. I was thinking read minds, or invisibility, maybe fly, but control a giant horse with an almost nonexistent touch, never came into the picture. Clearly, when in harness, Tom needed to be part of a team effort. To be ridden was an entirely different story, as he could do that without a buddy beside him. I suppose the person on his back, worked the same as a person beside him. Human or horse, a teammate was a teammate. To Tom, size didn’t matter, not one, little bit. Whether hubby, myself or sweetpea, as long as he had someone, life was good and he was good to go!

Leave a Reply

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.
All rights reserved. No part of this website or book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means – graphic, electronic or mechanical – without the prior written permission of the author.


 Oakbank, MB