Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Horse Tails

A True Partnership

Being in tune with, truly in synch with an animal, is a wondrous thing. To be in tune with a horse is extra wonderful. That’s how it was between my first horse and I. That red mare was completely in tune with my every mood. If I was cheerful, she was absolutely perky. If I was sad or upset, she was extra mindful. On the rare occasions that I was angry, she would be ever so careful and extremely obedient, which was a tad odd, as I never mistreated her, not ever. My favourite of her responses to one of my moods was when I was feeling exuberantly happy. Those were the times that she wanted to run like the wind. It was as if she knew, I loved it as much as she did.
That red, Standardbred mare and I went through a lot together. She had her quirks, yet I could count on her, no matter what. Thow-ra never let me down, not even once. In fact, there were at least three times that she likely saved me from serious harm.
Much of our shared time was spent riding in the gravel pits. Not a working pit back then, it was everything a horse crazy girl could want as far as terrain was concerned. From hills and winding, sandy paths we galloped along, to the trails dotted with jumps we took at speed, there was everything there, including beautiful, blue water to swim in. Thow-ra and I spent more time exploring that varied terrain, than anything else. A couple of times, she almost stepped into leg-hold traps that snapped shut as she clipped them. Once she stepped into a snare and stopped stock-still, and remained that way as I leapt off her back to release her. She could have panicked, yet didn’t. Of course I took every trap home until I had quite the collection. I suppose the illegal poacher finally got the hint, as there came a time when there were no more traps to find.
One lovely, spring day, we rode through the ditch and entered the bush. We weren’t very far along the bush trail, when we heard the oddest sound. It sounded just like something or someone was plaintively calling for mom. The word was loud and clear, “ma … ma?”
The louder the sound got, the more uneasy Thow-ra became. Big ears pricked sharply forward, she was staring at the trail ahead with rapt intensity. She also let me know that she wanted to turn around and get out of there. Curiosity was getting the best of me. I wanted to know what was making that noise. It sounded like whatever it was, needed help. The sound was beckoning me forward. Thow-ra had other ideas. Quick as could be, she turned on her hind and got us out of there. We raced back the way we’d come as fast as the little mare could go. It was a darn good thing that I could stick like a woodtick, as there was no stopping her. She was like a runaway train, and sounded a bit like one, too. Bursting out of the bush, we went down one side of the ditch and up the other. As soon as we crested the gravel road, she abruptly stopped and spun, to look back the way we’d come. Then I saw it, or them, a mama bear and her cubs. I hadn’t known what was making the strange sound, but Thow-ra had.
Another time we were exploring and having a wonderful time, something very strange, and rather worrisome happened. We were on a trail with a rather lovely, tall hill to climb. There was a steep climb that had to be tackled from a run, then an undulating path along the top that was bordered by tall grass, and a steep way down on the other side. We always casually meandered across the top of the hill, as the view was lovely and it was a nice reward after the effort the horse had to put out, to manage the steep climb.
For some strange reason, Thow-ra was unwilling to move forward. It was the oddest thing, as she knew what to expect from this path, and she wasn’t one to balk or refuse. She didn’t behave like she had with the bears, yet something was definitely up. It was as if she was slightly unsure, somewhat wary. Urging her forward, she obediently did as asked then suddenly leapt into a gallop to blaze to the end of the hill. Hearing shouts, I looked over my shoulder to see two, young men rise up out of the tall grass where they’d obviously been hiding. I don’t know what their plans had been, but am sure they had wicked intent. I hadn’t known that they were there, but Thow-ra had. Somehow, she’d sensed danger.
That very same day, we were casually walking along the shoulder of the road and heading home, when another crazy thing happened. I didn’t pay much attention to the sound of a vehicle coming up the road behind us. There was no reason to. Thow-ra wasn’t at all afraid of them. One second we were sauntering along, minding our own business. The next we were on the other side of the ditch against a fence. That little, quarter ton truck hadn’t just swerved to scare us, it actually came part way into the ditch in an effort to hit us! I don’t know what prompts someone to do such a thing, but if it hadn’t been for my amazing mare, we surely would’ve been hit. I learned to always listen to her, as she obviously knew more than I did.

  1. What a great unforgettable gal how long did she live??? She was beautiful!!!fun times😊

  2. She certainly was an amazing mare. Where did her name come from? I’ve always meant to ask. She certainly knew how to take good care of you.

    By the by, are you still in FB pergatory? They really have some ‘splaynin’ to do!!

    • Her name is Australian aboriginal for wind. I loved the Silver Brumby books. Facebook seems to be allowing me to play a little.

  3. I wondered about the name, too! Exciting memories, Trudy – thank you

  4. Can only imagine where you rode, such amazing stories! Bet I’m not the only one that wishes we had your talent with horses.

  5. Such a beautiful horse you had and wonderful protector. Love this !!

  6. I’m so glad I got to read this today. I love your stories Trudy

  7. I was so happy to read this story of your 1st horse Thow-ra! She sure was an exceptional mare. By the way did you name her? What is the meaning of it?
    The last part of your story brought back a horrid memory of driving my Morgan, Shadow. I was with my old friend and trainer, Marvin, driving down a main road. A vehicle came so close to the hub of my 4 wheel buggy I was almost frozen! Shadow kept steady and did not flinch. There was no reason for the person to do that, as there was plenty of room to drive by. It could have ended differently as there was a ditch and bank on my right. Some people get there jolly’s doing stupid stuff.Thank you for your tail.. Look forward to the next!…Always, Florence

    • Her name came from a series of books I read as a teenager. It’s Australian aboriginal for the wind. You’re right about how stupid people can be around horses, too.

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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