Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Foal Tails

My Little Daredevil

Raising a foal, from a few days old, is a lot of hard work. There are the multiple daily feedings, and by daily, I mean day and night, as well as the constant concern about how the foal is doing, when you’re not there to care for it. The rewards though, are huge. That nicker of greeting at the sound of your voice. The way the foal becomes excited and animated as you near, they’re the wonderful parts, of committing to the hard work.
As Darren grew and thrived, he showed us how good-natured he was, and how completely unflappable. He accepted any and all changes in his life, and quickly became a people horse. He loved people, big or small, young and old, he loved them all. His auspicious start to life wasn’t even a memory. From the moment I had my hands on him, he was nurtured and loved. Thow-ra, my beloved Standardbred mare, simply loved babies. Over the years I had her, she helped raise many foals and yearlings. She was all over having some input with Darren, as well.
Winter came with a vengeance that year. We went from no snow, to deep drifts and bitter cold, seemingly overnight. Chores instantly became far more work. There was enough hay up in the loft, but water had to be hauled by five gallon pails, over the high, undulating drifts of snow. For a while we had a path blown out to the barn, but when every bit of wind blew it in, never mind accompanying snowfall, it became a lesson in futility, and we gave up on it. There was no way to keep it wide enough, for a person carrying two pails anyway. It hadn’t taken very long for the drifts to exceed four and five feet. Walking over the drifts, simply made the most sense.
Busily carrying water from the house to the barn one evening after school, I was returning on my second trip, when I saw a sight that caught me off guard. There was my little Darren, standing atop the snowdrift, right over the plank fence. Taking in and immediately assessing the situation, I understood by the startling, red stream, running down his usually snow white leg, that he’d already managed to hurt himself. On the yard side of the fence were ornamental shrubs. It was obvious that he had broken through, or gone off the path onto soft snow. A stiff, sharp branch had sliced his little leg, just like a knife.
Forgetting about the pails of water, I hurried to my naughty baby. It was so cold, the blood had frozen in trails, one stream atop the other, in thick layers. I could see where the stream had started, and was grateful for the intense cold that had stopped the bleeding. There was no option but to get Darren into the barn, and call the vet. There was a lot I could do, but stitching up horses wasn’t one of them.
The whole time I waited for the vet, I cursed my carelessness. I should’ve remembered that Darren followed me, or tried to follow me everywhere I went. Though he’d never climbed the drifts before, I should have predicted that he would. Keeping myself busy, I hauled hot water to the barn, and had the blood melted off Darren’s leg, well before the vet arrived. With a folded gauze pad pressed against the deep wound, and vet-wrapped in place, the flow that had restarted was stemmed.
The whole time I worked on him, Darren was as perfectly behaved as always. After the vet arrived and worked on him, through the stitching and bandaging, Darren remained well-behaved and completely unconcerned. He was as always, completely trusting. It was a relief to know that he hadn’t done as much damage to the leg, as it had first appeared. That darling, little horse healed without any problems, and continued to be as curious and naughty as 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