Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Horse Tails


That Jim

With three weeks behind him, Lucky Jim has changed more than we thought possible in such a short time. He’s gone from a horse that had to be corralled with ropes, to one that comes when he’s called. I’m pretty sure he thinks his name is Come Jim, or Hey Jim, because that’s how we call him in a sing-song manner meant to soothe, while getting his attention. I love how his head snaps up, and those ears prick forwatd ever so attentively, as he tries to figure out where the voice is coming from. The horse that desperately moved away from the sound of voices, now associates them with nothing but good. Our voices mean feed, a scratch, relief from bugs. That wariness and concern is all but gone. Not completely mind you, as that would be too much to expect, but he’s almost there.
As planned, he has two lovely ladies to live with. We took our time with the introductions, and our patience was rewarded. Jim was given the pasture the two mares usually shared, while they were in an adjacent pasture. They stood there, gazing at the big, spotted galoot, in what was supposed to be their space. Aurora the bay Arab was the least bossy of the two, and it was decided that she would be introduced to Jim first. Jim had explored the pen for a few hours, and appeared at ease. It was time for the next step. Into the pen Aurora went.
Well, that little mare wasn’t too happy with being seperated from Spirit, her best friend, and fussed a good deal. It was the funniest thing ever. She trotted around, barely avoiding Jim as she did so, and making sure to give him wicked mare face, complete with a particularly prissy pout. She was not impressed. Being blind, Lucky Jim was oblivious to the idle threats and irritated tail swishes. Poor Aurora was completely wasting all her best princess poses and posturing.
After she’d settled down a little, probably about two or three hours, she was put back in with Spirit. Jim needed to be able to relax, not deal with a fussy mare.
The next day, I took a chance, and decided to introduce Jim to the pasture. He was coming when we called, at least almost always, and for the introductions to properly work, Aurora needed the distraction of grass, before she would relax. I did the walk around, Aurora was moved back over, and peace reigned. Spirit was far more concerned about being left behind than Aurora was about leaving her.
It wasn’t long before we took the next step. The very next day, Aurora was taken to a distant area to graze, and it was time to introduce Spirit without a fence between them. Of course I had her on a lead. There was no way we were about to risk injuring Jim, so caution was used. When nothing transpired, no threats, no worries about Spirit being pushy, I finally released the lovely, black Morgan then hung around to see what would happen.
Nothing did happen. I stood and waited for a good while, only to have Jim hide behind my back. It didn’t matter where I moved to, or how I tried to get him out from behind me, Jim was having none of it. I was there to protect him from harm, and he wasn’t about to lose that security. For a good while, I was a human shield, and it was both touching and amusing.
I couldn’t stand there forever, so after a while, left the two to get to know each other. Warning Spirit to be nice to Jim, I exited the pen and walked away a bit. I wasn’t too concerned, as Spirit hadn’t done more than lay her ears back at Jim every now and again.
For all his insecurities and wariness, what happened next, made me laugh out loud. I have no idea how Jim knew what Spirit intended, but he did. She suddenly swung that shiny, black rump his way, and he responded in kind. Up into the air that spotted butt bounced a couple of times. He didn’t kick out, but he definitely warned her that he wasn’t putting up with any kind of nonsense. Within a couple of hours, they were out grazing together. An hour after that, Aurora joined them.
There isn’t any fuss or bother between the three horses. The problem is, the mares don’t take care of Jim, at least not yet. He would lose track of them, and I would go out to be his seeing eye human. I could almost hear the worry as he searched for me, then my hand.
“I can’t find them. I don’t know where they are.”
“That’s okay, Jim boy,” I soothed as I took hold of his halter, “I know where they are. I’ll take you there.”
He has worries about passing through the gate between the pasture and pen. We guess he probably touched the electric fence, and now worries. He’s more than willing to be guided through, but go on his own, no way. To combat this, and to help him learn where he has to be, I bring him through for water several times a day. All it takes is tickling his lips, and he’ll follow my fingers to the water, or hay, or feed. When he’s done, I lead him back through.
One might think that as soon as he’s led through the gate and back out to the pasture that he’d want to be off. Not our Jim. He wants to be taken to where the ladies are. Such a smart, smart boy is our Jim. Just wait to hear what he did next.
But that’s for another day.


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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