Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Horse Tails

Wild Things

Owning one stallion, takes a good deal of thought, preparation and care. Owning multiples, creates challenges all their own. They must be housed properly, in pens built to contain them, no matter what. The sight of a loose stallion, is enough to give one a positively awful, sick feeling in the very pit of your stomach. Couple that, with the instantaneous stress that immediately washes over the senses all at once, and the experience may be imaginable.
Our stallions lived in pens with fences constructed to safely contain them. The main pen is built from heavy, extremely solid, treated posts, from which chainlink fence hangs. Along the bottom, there’s a gap of about a foot to accommodate mowing. Believe it or not, one of our stallions, fondly nicknamed Trigger, could crawl under that formidable fence, using that small space. Sometimes, he would push against the chainlink, stretching it as he did so. He would go onto his knees, as he moved forward then onto his side to shimmy under. I would never have believed it, if I hadn’t witnessed it happen with my own eyes. Planks were swiftly added to thwart his Houdini escapism, and worked a treat … for the most part. Once in a very blue moon, Trigger would somehow, still manage to scootch under. This is not a good thing, not a good thing at all. The last thing we needed was a stallion running amok and doing what he pleased.
An electric fence, no matter how hot the wire, how big the jolt, is no barrier to an amorous stallion with mares on his mind. The kidlets and I came home one afternoon, to find our escape artist wasn’t securely where he was supposed to be, in the big, stallion pen. It was a ‘heart stop beating’ moment that grew in leaps and bounds, when we heard Jurassic-like sounds, coming from the direction of the front pasture. Those shiver inducing, dinosaur sounding bellows, were coming from horses. From two stallions, intent upon ripping each other apart. It was my worst fear come true, what everyone who owns stallions likely fears, and now it was happening.
The girlchild was about twelve years old or so, and there was no way around it, she was going to have to help me. Her brother was far bigger than she, but didn’t have the knack for handling horses that she had. Besides that, she had no fear of them, none at all. Two stallions, took two people to handle them, and she was it. I didn’t have to tell her what to do, she already knew. We grabbed leads hanging near at hand, and hurried out into the field.
It pays to put time into stallions, as much as it does any horse. This simple fact proved itself that day. Those stallions were as mindful, as obedient as if they were being worked in the round pen.
“Get to your corners,” I sternly ordered, in a tone of voice that said I meant it, “get now!”
To the relief of both sweetpea and I, those two, angry stallions immediately obeyed. Trigger broke off and ran in one direction, Digger ran back to his little band of mares. One would expect two stallions that had just been trying to kill one another, to act like wild things, yet they didn’t. Sweetpea rubbed her palms together to mimic the sound of oats or grass, and Trigger ran straight to her.
“Man, he’s going to need some serious patching up,” I sighed with a groan as I glanced at his wounds, “Take him to the front of the tack room please. Tie him to a hitching rail. We’ll clean him up there, and get your brother to bring some antibiotics out to me for Digger, too.”
As soon as she was headed away towards an access, pasture gate off the road, I went to get Digger. Again, there wasn’t any issue. Some stallions will threaten, if anyone comes close to their mares, or at least adamantly protest being taken away. Digger did neither. He stood, waiting for me to walk up to him then he pacifly followed along, without any sort of problem at all.
As the girlchild had taken Trigger out the front pasture entrance, and was now walking along the gravel road, headed towards the yard driveway, I went the backway. As I led Digger along, I was checking him over for injuries. He had a few pretty decent damages, but nothing so serious that I had to be too concerned. Trigger had definitely come out the big loser in the battle. As soon as I had Digger’s wounds taken care of, and he was back into a stallion pen, I hurried to see what was waiting for me to deal with.
There’s no way to describe Trigger’s injuries except to say they were ghastly in appearance. Digger must’ve had a vice-like grip on Trigger more than once, as there were areas were the skin didn’t want to snap back into its normal shape. He had skin tears and chunks of hide missing. Poor Trigger had been the instigator, and suffered for it.
The boychild was responsible for holding Trigger, while sweetpea was my vet assistant as I scrubbed and cleaned every inch of every injury, with a solution of warm water and betadine. Appalled by the sight, the boychild had to look away. The girlchild had no choice but to help. It was no time to be squeamish. There was nothing a vet could do for the little horse that I couldn’t do myself. My time working for a vet, had come in extremely handy, many times over the years, and did this time as well.
I scrubbed and massaged the areas that had been so badly pinched, they didn’t want to return to their normal shape. I appreciated that it was a very good thing that I could tend to the injuries myself. We’d had too many unexpected expenses in a row, and an after hours vet call was something we certainly didn’t need.
There were some more serious tears that I had to dry with clean towels then close with medical glue, but all in all, most only required a topical salve. It took some time, but eventually I had done all I could. I gave Trigger a shot of antibiotics, and he went into the round pen, until I could figure out where he’d gotten out this time. In a way, I was grateful that we hadn’t witnessed the fight, as I could well imagine how horrific it would’ve been.
Trigger kept the scars of that day, for the rest of his life. Though they faded to the point where they almost weren’t visible, I was often reminded of how serious a fight between stallions could be, and how amazing it was, that both stallions had been so obedient. The whole time I washed and cleaned his wounds, Trigger hadn’t put up any fuss at all. He was an amazing horse back then, and remained so the rest of his days. For that matter, they both were.

  1. My goodness he was gorgeous! Love that type of Morgan. Has it already been asked what his registered name and bloodlines are? Can’t read the other comments on my phone. Glad he was OK after that.

    • We love the standard Morgan as well thanks. Other than a few barely discernible scars, they had no ill effects.
      Links aren’t working for some reason but Trigger’s number is 10843, and Digger’s is 14003.

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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