Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Horse Tails

Sweet Polly

Producing the best possible foal you can, isn’t all that easy. I believe that if you’re trying to create animals of a certain breed, then it’s important to stick to breed guidelines. When I was putting my herd together, I was fortunate to purchase some Morgan mares with a certain old bloodline, I really liked. These mares, when bred to my stallion, produced beautiful, highly intelligent foals that met the breed standard. Because of this, I was on the hunt for more.
I found an older mare in Saskatchewan, maybe a day’s worth of driving from my farm, and made arrangements to purchase her. She hadn’t had a live foal for a few years, and was a bit thin, yet I hoped with a bit of tender care, she would produce a last, elusive and amazing foal for me. When I arrived at the farm to buy her, I immediately had serious doubts. The poor, old gal was stiff and sore, a bit thin, and appeared rather depressed and tired. Or maybe, she was simply exhausted by life in general. I had serious doubts if I would achieve my wish for a foal from her, yet somehow, couldn’t leave her behind either. She needed me. I handed over the cash, and Oak Acres Polly became mine.
Concerned about how hard the long drive home would be on her, I wrapped her legs to support stiff, sore legs then hoped for the best. Polly hauled like a trooper. No fuss, no bother, as quiet as could be, until we finally drove into the backyard of my farm many hours later. Bellowing at the top of her lungs when she heard the whinnies greeting the trailer, she was very excited. I had to grin when she came off the trailer prancing and dancing like a youngster, instead of the geriatric she was. Polly was a tall mare, and she suddenly grew even taller as she excitedly returned the chorus of neighs.
The old girl was sweet, affectionate and fell into farm life as if she’d been meant to be with us. She gained weight with the improvement of movement, but there was only so much I could do for her. Instead of producing one more great foal with bloodlines I so wanted, Polly got to enjoy retired life.
She was a funny mare, with quirks picked up over a lifetime of being handled and likely mishandled. In my mind’s eye, I can still see my boychild hanging like a puppet from her halter. There was Polly, clearly remembering something from her past, eyes wide, nostrils flared, head held high on a neck as stiff as a board.
“It’s okay Polly,” I crooned while being impressed with the boychild for not panicking, “You’re okay, old girl. Relax, put your head down. There’s a sweet girl.”
She lowered her head with a big sigh of relief, then quietly went along with the boy.
“You shouldn’t have such a short hold on that lead,” I chastised with an amused smile, “then that wouldn’t happen, right?”
“I forgot,” he answered with a smile in return, without adjusting his grip on the lead. A couple more steps, and he was dangling again. That was the thing about that boychild of mine. He seemed to have a habit of hanging from horses heads, but he never got scared or responded in a manner that would make things worse. He was always quiet, always calm, and always carried on as if nothing was out of the ordinary. This time he talked sweet to Polly, and the old eyes calmed, the head lowered with a sigh, and away they went again.
The mare I’d hoped would produce a foal, one worthy of being a part of my foundation herd, enjoyed a couple of good years of hanging around, gossiping with her relatives and generally living the good life. No foal, but certainly a contented horse.

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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