Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Foal Tails

A Pinch in Time

I can’t remember a single time that I was asked to go along to look at a horse, and refused. It made me feel great that my opinion was valued enough that someone would seek it, and I simply enjoyed looking at horses. Sometimes they would be great horses, sometimes not so much, yet there was always a sense of adventure involved as well. It was the same story with horse trailers. It’s interesting to see how different they can be made depending upon brand, and how some are far better built and designed than others. We once bought a worn out, two horse trailer to rebuild and sell. I had so much fun redesigning it that I think hubby was afraid I would want it. Of course I wanted it, but I knew it was a project that was supposed to generate a few bucks. It wasn’t a keeper.
“You know this isn’t your trailer, eh?” He would ask multiple times, over the time he was working on it.
My answer was always the same, “I know, but why not make it perfect?”
I would make suggestions. He would implement them, and that trailer was pretty great, by the time it was finished. We sold that trailer, and I continued to give my input on both trailers and horses of all kinds, if asked.
One time was particularly memorable, because the horses I went along to see, were ridiculously bratty. I’d never been among a group of yearlings that nipped and bit as much as that one. Those rotten, little beggers couldn’t keep their mouths to themselves. They were indiscriminate and relentless, and I was having none of it. It’s not my place to discipline someone else’s horse, or in this case many, young horses. Still, I’m not keen on being bitten, so when one of the spoiled brats reached to bite me, I pinched its lip … hard. I did so quietly, without making a scene or issue of it, and I did so multiple times, as we walked among that little mob of young equines. Within a few minutes, they were leaving me alone, but tormenting everyone else. It wasn’t very long, before the people I was with, were wondering why I was the only one, who the yearlings weren’t after.
I explained that I had pinched their lips, and of course the rest of them had to try, even as they were squeaking out their ouches and slapping at noses. Slapping or smacking the nose easily creates horses that are head shy, or dodgers like these yearlings were. They weren’t biting any less from being punished by being hit, they were being sneakier and faster about it. Those heads could snake out and take a quick nip, in the blink of an eye.
I showed everyone how I allowed little muzzles to reach out to bite, only to receive a firm pinch for the effort. I wasn’t able to actually show them by example, as there wasn’t a yearling present, willing to try to bite me. Instead, I had to coach the others how to meet the lips reaching to bite, without reaching back. Within minutes, the people weren’t being bitten. The yearlings weren’t dumb. They soon realized that if they tried to bite, they would get a pinched lip. It’s simple, easy and incredibly effective. The swift success is rather amazing, and there are no ill effects to have to deal with. It’s the method we use on all our horses from young, and why I never had to worry about my precious kidlets when they were among our young horses. Foals raised here, learned from babies onward, what would happen, if they reach out to nip, and they grow into horses that can be trusted. We have a rule here on this farm, never hit a horse in the head, never create a head shy animal.

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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