Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Horse Tails

A Trail Tail

Camping with horses has its own set of challenges. It’s important to take into account that they need feed, water and some kind of containment when not being used. Most tied to their trailers, some tied out a length of rope then tied their horse to that, calvary old-west style, or higher above their heads then tied to that. It might look great in the movies, but most horses can’t safely be tied in that style, and with so many horses sharing the space, there was bound to be a tangled mess of panic, and often was. Portable corrals were made of rope strung between trees, and horses would gallop away from them, in the wee hours of the morning.
We tied to the trailer during the day, loaded the horses into the trailer for the night, until we bought lightweight, portable panels they could relax in. Smokey was incredibly easy, as she safely tethered out on a long line, and my buddy Del, decided to go with hobbles for his big Standardbred gelding, Max Charger. Max was quite the horse. Incredibly powerful, he was both intimidating and trustworthy. He was a horse that loved to run, never bucked, bit or struck, and he was no problem to load and trailer. He was a whole lot of horse, but a well-mannered one. Anyway, Del figured hobbles would be just the thing for Max. The big horse would be able to graze and wouldn’t be able to leave. It made good sense. After all, that’s how they always did it in the old westerns, didn’t they?
As it turned out, Max had those hobbles figured out in no time flat. He soon had a rear-hop mastered to a tee, and could cover ground with speed. It’s a good thing he hung around, at least sort of hung around, as those hobbles weren’t much of a deterrent. That horse could move.
As mentioned, we loaded the horses into the trailer for the night. They weren’t in there long, were loaded up in the dark after campfire camaraderie had faded and before we went to bed, then were out at first light. After experiencing their every movement in the trailer transferring through the hitch into the camper the night before, we were smart enough to unhook this time. The corral panels made life easy. Set up against the horse trailer, they were comfy for the horses, and peace of mind for us. Except that one time. That one time, when we stayed on after everyone else had left. It wasn’t an uncommon thing for us to do. We often stayed an extra day to enjoy the solitude, camp, and enjoy a bit more riding as well as a leisurely meander back home the next day. Once in a blue moon, others would do the same, usually we were left alone. It was one of the times everyone else left that we learned that corral panels were pretty good, but not completely escape proof.
After going riding, a bit of a swim in the river and a great meal el fresco, we made sure our two horses had water and feed for the night then headed inside for a game of cards. The beginnings of twilight were settling over the valley, we were well into our card game, which may or may not have been a bit naughty, when there was a great to do outside. Rushing to the camper door, we were just in time to witness, Robin making her last spinning round of her outdoor boxstall before sailing over a panel with the grace and ease of a deer. Well, that silly horse ran about a hundred feet then rolled back on her haunches to gallop straight back to us. Clearly, she was looking for protection, and like a scared child, hid behind us. Following her rapt gaze, we saw the reason for her concern. There on the other side of the river, a huge, black bear was lumbering along in a slow, rolling bear-version of a gallop. We all stood there staring until it disappeared into the forest. Robin would’ve stared longer, but I wanted things sorted before night truly settled in. Back into the trailer the horses went. No bears were going to eat our horses this night.

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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