Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Pony Tails

Go Granny Go

They say you can’t save them all, but I figure I gave it a darn good try. In my quest to find reasonably priced horses to buy, train and resell, I came across a farm out in the sticks, with a fair number of assorted, larger ponies as well as a few horses. To my horror, they were all awfully skinny and in need of groceries. Other than dairy barns, I had never seen so many protruding hips, and those dairy cows had meat over their ribs. I probably should’ve reported the owner for his cruel neglect, but then, I was afraid to. I was afraid that if that was to happen, the horses would be euthanized. I was fairly certain that one look at most of them, and a vet would say they couldn’t be saved. I had other ideas.
There were all sorts of colours speckling the large, overgrazed pasture, all skin and bones, and they all needed me to save them. At least that’s how I felt. I could bring each and every one of them back to health, and save them from this horrible state they were in. Walking between pieces of derelict equipment and far too many wrecks of vehicles, I tried my best to choose those that were in the most dire condition. To my way of thinking, if I didn’t get them immediate help, they’d be the most likely to die. That first time, I bought a wild, scruffy tri-coloured pinto mare of about three years of age, and what appeared to be an ancient, little paint mare of unknown age. The old farmer kept calling her Grandma, further enforcing the idea that she had a good deal of age on her.
Looking back on it, I’m sure Grandma was close to death when I found her. She was extremely listless, little more than dry, unhealthy skin hanging on bones, and had the dullest eyes I had ever seen. She simply stood there, head hanging down, depressed and sad, as if she’d given up on life.
Hippy, what I immediately named the pinto, because of her unkempt state, was also in poor condition. Yet because of her age, she was in a far better state. The wild in her eyes was compounded by the wild, unruly mane and tail that both dragged on the ground. She was going to be a handful, as she’d never felt the touch of a kind hand. She wasn’t even halter broke!
I have no idea what it took to load them into a trailer, but getting them from the driveway to the round pen was a battle. Hippy was every bit as wild and afraid as I’d predicted. That little mare dragged me to Timbuktu and back again. Me on the end if the lead, trying to guide and lead, rather unsuccessfully, I might add. When she tired enough, I was able to point her in the right direction and herd her along. Once safely in the pen, I could turn my attention to poor, old Grandma..
The poor, old gal was all done in. She had neither the strength nor will, to move even a step. Though it pained me to do so, after trying in vain to move her even a step, I had no choice but to push her forwards with smacks of my hand to her bony rump. Cringing at the very idea, I was more than relieved when we finally reached the closest pen. Whatever happened next, at least she was safely in a secure area with food and clean water. I made a soft, watery mash for her to eat, but she couldn’t even manage that much. I had to scoop up a handful, work it into her mouth then hold my hand over her muzzle to keep it there.
After a bit of time, she appeared to suck on it, not that horses could suck or anything, but she was definitely taking in some of the mash. The gruel part of it was being swallowed. That sweet, gentle, little horse was so weak, so exhausted by her life that she didn’t have the energy to eat. I hand fed what she could manage, gave her a vitamin shot, and hoped for the best.
Arriving back at the farm the next morning, I was afraid to look, just in case she hadn’t made it through the night, yet was drawn to where I’d left her. There she was! Standing near where I’d left her. She even raised her head to look at my truck with some interest. My hopes soared. Every little sign of improvement was a big deal, and gave hope, too. Somehow, I was sure that old Grandma would make it.

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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