Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Horse Tails

Meandering Along

One time, when hubby and I had gone for a weekend of riding for him, competing in competitive trail for me with Higgins and Thow-ra, we decided on a much enjoyed extra night. There is little as beautiful as a clear sky, so full of sparkling stars, it feels like you can reach up and touch them. The night air is full to overflowing with wonderful scents of grass, flowers and conifer trees. The night breeze carries the sounds of wildlife as this amazing world goes about its business. Owls softly hooting. Mourning doves, speaking in their haunting cooing. There could be the sounds of coyotes yipping, wolves howling, and the occasional freakishly odd shrieks of a vixen fox calling her kits. There is nothing but sound, yet it’s not noise. It’s the most beautiful music one can likely be lost in.
After a restful sleep, we woke to a sunny Monday morning, and decided to go for a last ride before going home. After packing up camp so we wouldn’t have to deal with it on our return, we tacked up and headed out.
Hubby has an exceptional sense of direction, which explains where the boy and girlchildren got it from. I have none at all, zip, nada, nothing whatsoever. As it turned out, we didn’t need it. Thow-ra and Higgins knew the way. They retraced the trail we’d negotiated on previous days. Every now and again, a nose would go to the ground like a hound dog, but not that often at all. We gingerly worked our way down a narrow, steep path down to the valley bottom, weaving between knee busting tree trunks, and carefully stepping down the odd spots where drops of eight to 14 inches weren’t uncommon. I think hubby had a worse time of it at these spots than I did. His evasive maneuvers were restricted by the width and stiffness of his saddle. I, on the other hand, could twist and move my limbs out of the way. A brief swim was irresistible to me. I fell from Thow-ra into the refreshing water, while hubby sat Higgins, neck deep in the flowing water, and had a good laugh. By noon, the horses had us back to our rig. Sadly, it was time to head home.
Heading home was also a leisurely affair. We always took the time to explore, to visit points of interest, instead of hurrying by. Our philosophy has always been our philosophy that it’s not just the destination that’s worthwhile, but the journey as well. To that end, we decided to stop at Manitoba’s desert just a few miles from Glenboro, and the statue of Sara the camel. Parking the trailer in the bit of shade we managed to find, we gave the horses water as well as hay to keep them busy then struck out to walk a featured trail.
Seriously, I don’t know what we were thinking. We who drive semi and haul all kinds of aggregates, sand included, do not need to go hiking in a desert. Every gravel pit we hauled out of was like a small desert of its own. Still, we were probably getting close to halfway, when we decided to turn around and go back. Chatting about this, that and pretty well anything as we casually walked along. Watching where I was putting my feet, as I’m a bit of a klutz, I suddenly frowned at what I saw.
“Um,” I pointed at steaming scat, “is that bear poop? Are there bears here?”
Equally taken aback, hubby’s brows raised, “It looks like it, but I don’t know.”
Pointing at a rather distinctive track, I shared a look with hubby, “That’s a bear track … a really big one, and there’s another. A bear is following us. This isn’t good, not good at all. A stalking bear is the most dangerous of all. Let’s get back to the trailer, pronto.”
My fear of bears leapt to the front of my mind, and staying close to hubby, we walked quickly yet purposefully, all the way being sure not to run, when running most definitely was the srongest, first impulse. Running from a predator, only turns the runner into prey. We were not at all keen on being anything’s dinner. The fact that the horses were back in the trailer in that vacant parking area was greatly troubling, and we worried all the walk back, even as we kept a wary eye out for the black bruin we could feel watching our every move.
Though I wanted to leap into the motorhome, fire her up and blaze out of there, we checked the horses to make sure they were okay. A bit high-headed and wild-eyed, they were nervous but okay, thank goodness. There on the dey, hard ground all around the trailer were bear tracks, many, many bear tracks.
That was one time I was grateful that we’d decided to keep the trailer closed up. Normally, I would’ve insisted on opening the top of the back door, as well as the manger doors and escape door that was big enough to get a horse out of in an emergency. I never insisted on any of those, so the horses were protected by steel from all sides.
We never saw mister bear, but most certainly felt the intensity of its gaze.

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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