Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Horse Tails


If Smokey was off her long tether back at the land I rented, or even at the neighbour’s farm, I wouldn’t be all that worried. I knew where she’d be, bugging the other horses, teasing and taunting, lording her freedom over them. This was something different. Leaving the semi running right there on the driveway approach, I walked over to where she’d been tied. There was the rope, in a coiled heap on the ground, bull snap in perfect, working order. My heart sank. If Smokey had somehow gotten off that heavy snap, it would’ve been at the end of an outstretched line, or by a tree, or hung up in a tree. It wouldn’t be like it was, as if someone had unclipped her and dropped the rope, right where they stood. I knew then, that someone had taken her. That sick feeling in the pit of my belly hadn’t lied.
Despite the ache of worry, I still went through the motions of checking everywhere for her. I already knew she wouldn’t be hanging around her new home. Higgins and Thow-ra were curiously looking at me from the new corral by the barn, no Smokey to be seen anywhere. I went back to the rental property, all the while scanning the fields and yards for a little bay horse. There was no sign of her, none at all. I went through the steps, called the RCMP, called the radio stations, and then began to search.
It was a lesson in futility. My little Smokey had dropped off the planet, or so it seemed. Friends and I aimlessly searched the backroads looking for her, to no avail. We gave up at about midnight that first day. Though everything pointed towards Smokey having been stolen, I was ever hopeful that she’d somehow gotten loose and was out there, looking for her old home. I told myself that by now, she was tucked into someone’s corral for the night, and since it was so late, they’d decided to wait until morning to call it in.
After a restless night, I hoped for good news. There was none. I couldn’t go to work, not with Smokey still missing. Instead it was back to searching. At noon, I learned that she’d been sighted, several miles north of our new farm. Now I had a starting point to search from. Strangely enough, she was apparently dragging a lead rope. Instantly, I knew what had happened. Smokey always had to be led with a chain over her pretty nose, or bit in her mouth. If not, she put her head down and left. It didn’t matter how strong or big you were, she couldn’t be held. She was far too powerful. Someone who had no clue about her quirk had put a lead on her, likely led her to a trailer, and she’d taken off. Smokey’s bad habit had kept her from being stolen.
Knowing she was out there somewhere, didn’t make finding her any easier. Two days turned into three as we followed the sightings. By the third day she no longer dragged a lead rope, and as there happened to be a loose mare and foal at the same time, a bay at that, sightings had to be taken with a grain of salt. During the frustration of our fruitless hunt, I talked to miserable, old men who had chased her off, as well as one that swore at me until he was blue in the face, the cantankerous, old fellow.
The weekend finally came around, and the search continued. A little horse of Smokey’s description had been seen many miles north of us, and she’d crossed a four lane highway as she travelled. By stopping at farms along the way, we learned that she’d gone a good couple of miles further north, then abruptly turned around to head back the way she’d come. Retracing our steps, and hopefully hers, we were driving along a backcountry, gravel road, when I spotted something way back in a field. Something shiny red and smallish. Something Smokey sized.
Parking the truck on the shoulder of the road, we hopped out to try and see better. Shading my eyes, I was sure it was her, and my spirits soared.
More than ready to crawl through the pasture fence to go and get her, we were stopped in our tracks by another grumpy, old coot.
“Where do you think you’re going?” he demanded as he strode up to us.
“To get my horse,” I answered with the distinct impression that he intended to keep my little Smokey suddenly struck me. “That’s her,” I pointed.
“What proof do you have?” he countered.
About to argue, thinking I would have to get the police invloved, the whole situation was diffused by Smokey’s reaction to my helper’s call. Up snapped that little head to stare as if in disbelief. Even from a distance, it was easy to tell that she could hardly believe her ears.
Another call and the reaction was completed. Smokey let out a bellow, kicked up her heels, skirted around the back of that long pasture and galloped straight to us as fast as her legs could carry her. Through the ditch she ran, to stop inches from us.
“Need any more proof than that?” I wryly asked as he snorted in response. As soon as he left, I got the bridle out of the truck and bridled her up. “There are too many mean dogs around to just wait here. Start riding home, and I’ll go get the trailer. I’ll be right back.”
Poor Smokey had a bit of a limp, needed a drink, and looked exhausted. Still, there was no choice. We had to do what we had to do. I hurried home for the trailer and water then hurried back to find them a couple of miles further along the road. That naughty pony that was a struggle to load, practically pushed us out of the way to get inside. It was as if she was telling us to take her home. I suppose she’d had enough adventure to last a good, long time.

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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