Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Horse Tails


We came across an advertisement, for a rather reasonably priced, Morgan gelding that needed work, and decided to look into it a bit more. It was always nice to pick up the odd horse here and there, put some work into it then sell it on. There were and are always people looking for a good gelding. We’d studied the video we were sent, and he appeared to be a nice, solid horse, of about fifteen two hands high. There were a couple of glitches in the video that I did ask about though.
“So, right after the video ends in those two spots, is it because he started bucking?”
I had read the warning signs, and was sure I was correct. As it turned out, I was.
“Yes,” she hesitantly answered.
I could tell, she was thinking the admission might kill the sale, it didn’t. I wasn’t too worried about that. I could deal with a bit of naughtiness, as long as the horse had a sensible mind. There was enough video there that told me he was simply being young and silly. I don’t worry about that sort of thing.
We bought the gelding, and were soon working on him. He proved to be smart, even tempered, and as we worked on furthering his training, more and more sociable. Clearly, he hadn’t suffered any sort of ill treatment in his life. He simply needed more education, and education was what he got. It wasn’t very hard to get him going well. After all, he had a pretty good foundation and some basics. The big horse knew things, he just didn’t always want to go along with them. At least, not at first. Still, a few days in the round pen, being worked from the basics forward, and he swiftly came around to what I expected from him. It was time for some finishing work.
He now stood stock still for mounting and dismounting from either side. He’d been sacked out and shown, all sorts of nonsense that usually terrify horses, until he didn’t give plastic bags and tin cans a second look. I’d been up on the big horse from the second day, and things were progressing quite nicely. It was time to move to the riding ring, to give him more room to be naughty if he was going to. I wanted to know, if he was going to pull the nonsense on me that he had on his previous owners.
After a few, trouble free rounds of the ring, I decided to work on his leads. He was all over the map, and that wasn’t a good thing at all. A horse loping or galloping, could pretty well be in any lead, as long as forward movement in a straight line was maintained. Some horses are left handed, some are right handed, and some lucky ones, like some people, are ambidextrous. Some are equally smooth, or equally rough, no matter what the lead. Where leads are absolutely critical, is in corners. If a horse isn’t on the inside lead when cornering, there’s the very real possibility of stumbling, or sliding out and falling. At the very least, the ride becomes extremely rough, while the horse desperately struggles and scrambles to stay upright. Leads are important, lead changes are important. It was time to teach the big boy, how to pick up a lead when cued.
Round and round we went, making use of the large riding ring. I would set him up and ask for the inside lead, as we came out of the short ends. This was easiest for the horse, and helped him to figure out what I wanted. Come out of the corner, ask for the inside lead, lope to the end of the straightaway, go down to a trot or walk at the short end, then cue and canter on the long straight again. He was figuring it out, and I was pleased.
We were moving right along. I was now asking for a lope from a standstill, while giving him the inside cue. Over and over, I asked him to lope off in the correct lead, and he didn’t disappoint. Moving along the long stretch beside the rail, I was too busy watching his shoulder, and not paying attention to where we were going. I suddenly noticed that he felt like he was setting himself up for a jump. Glancing up, I was just in time to prepare for that jump. Somehow, I’d lost track of how far we’d travelled along the fence. The steel water trough, I had in the ring to build mosquito smudges in was right in front of us. A few seconds later, we were up and over then in the corner, a sharp turn and we carried on. The big horse acted like it was no big deal, as if he’d simply done what he been asked to. There was no threat of a balk or refusal, no snorty worry. He simply jumped, as if he did so every day, and loped on.
Right then and there, his name changed from T. K. Shalimar to Beau. That lovely horse had kept his head, and taken care of me. We rarely change a horse’s name, but this time it was called for. He was my beau, at least for a while.

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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