Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Horse Tails

Darren Devil

He earned his name, the little, leggy pinto colt, I picked out from a pen full of weanling foals. There was something about him that spoke to me, and I chose him over all the others. Any of the foals people were purchasing, would be hauled together into Winnipeg in two days, and could be picked up there.
Arriving at the pickup area as arranged, I was shocked to find my new colt, in a positively awful state. He was flat out on his side, between all the other foals milling about, and at first, I thought he was dead. He certainly appeared dead. Poor, liitle guy, didn’t have the strength to protest even the slightest bit, when other foals stepped on or near him.
Another person may have demanded their money back. Another person may have left the near-dead colt behind. Not this person. I gathered that lanky colt into my arms, managed to pick him up, and carried him to the horse trailer. Bedded extremely deep, because I had been prepared to make the ride home very safe for a young colt, I didn’t have to worry about him falling. He couldn’t stand. He never once even tried, not once. He lay on that bed of hay, and as I gazed upon the poor waif, I decided, I simply couldn’t leave him in the trailer by himself. Though very much against the rules, I was determined to stay with my new baby. Three months old was still very young, and he was, after all, still very much a baby. With the friend who had come along, taking over the driving, I settled into the straw for the hour long, ride home.
Cradling his head on my lap, I stroked the warm head and hoped beyond hope that he would make it. I didn’t know what had happened in the space of a few days, to make him so ill, and I was determined to do all I could for him. Stroking his skinny neck, I noted that he was rather dehydrated. It was very troubling. Working a finger into his mouth, I was relieved to feel warmth, and the slightest sucking motion as well. Though his gums were a bit pale, they were still pale pink, and not white. I had nothing but time to think, and what I was thinking was, a bit of a conundrum. A weaned foal, didn’t keep the ability to suck, for very long after they’d been eating feed and drinking water. But this little guy was quite content to do so. There was no harm in it, so I added a finger and tickled his tongue to encourage him. As I sat there with him, my eyes opened wide as I realized something. My new foal didn’t have teeth … none. I could feel them under his gums but he hadn’t cut them yet. This was no three month old colt. Foals are either born with teeth, or they erupt within the first week. The colt wasn’t even a week old. It was highly likely that, he’d only been a day or two old, when I’d chosen him. No wonder, he was in the state he was. He was starving. He still needed his mama. Three months was a good month too early to be weaned, and he’d been taken from his mama, at barely a day or two old. He’d been the smallest of the group, but was a good-sized colt. I’d been completely fooled by people who put no value on a horse’s life, other than what they could profit from.
I don’t know how I managed it, but somehow I pulled that colt, through to good health. I did so many things wrong, yet must’ve done enough right, as he began to thrive and grow. The only problem I had with him was, he thought he could do anything I did. If I crawled between the fence rails, he tried to as well. If I walked over a snowdrift, of course he should be able to as well. Hence the name Darren Devil, as he was certainly a daredevil. The sweetest one ever.

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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