Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Tails From the Farm

Born With it

It never ceased to amaze me how the kidlets could catch a wary, suspicious horse, when I could not. For the most part, our horses came running when we called, and still do. When they’re not crazy about the idea, one of the kidlets always did what I couldn’t. It got to where I would grab a kid from the house, before I went and tried to catch the uncatchable myself. There didn’t seem to be much point in chasing a horse to kingdom come, if the hard to catch horse was more than willing to go to a kid. From the time they were little more than toddlers, the kids held a special sort of fascination for the horses. It was as if the horses couldn’t figure out what the tiny bipeds were. They were incredibly curious about them. Sure, when the kidlets were around, it usually meant handfuls of grass, and sometimes even a carrot or two. What was there not to like? Kids were amazing.
The boychild could catch horses quite well, but it was the girlchild who was completely fearless. If the boy caught a horse for me, he wanted to pass it off to me as soon as possible. When the girlchild caught a horse, she didn’t want to give it up. She wanted to lead it all the way in, even when we were way out in the back forty. As we had a good sized herd, and many horses coming to the farm, there were always horses that were hard to catch, and always a need for sweetpea’s talents.
Things didn’t change much over the years. Sweetpea had to be involved with most everything that went on, at least horse-wise. This wasn’t always the easiest thing to deal with, especially when the kidlets were little. After all, I stood several, lovely Morgan stallions at stud, and there were quite a few mares booked to them. There were some parts of biology that I didn’t want the kids to be aware of, at least not until they were much older. I would make sure that they were in the house, or busy doing chores in the barn, when it was time for romance between stallion and mare. Despite my best efforts, those two kidlets of mine figured out that there was something going on, and they wanted to know what. I can still vividly remember catching the little beggers trying to keep out of my sight, while watching the goings on. So much for teaching them the facts of life. Growing up on a breeding farm did that for me.
Seeing as they’d learned how babies were made, far sooner than intended, hubby and I decided that they may as well learn where babies came from, too. The timing couldn’t be better. We had a mare due to foal, and she was a sweetheart that wouldn’t be upset by an audience. The looks on their little faces is still etched in my mind. Eyes as big as saucers, they were staring as if they couldn’t tear their eyes away from what they were seeing. Sweetpea was struck mute. The boychild couldn’t look away, but had to say something, “mom … is that …?”
“Yes sweetie,” reading his mind, I smiled and nodded, “those are the baby’s front hooves. You’ll see it’s little nose right away, too.”
‘But,” his eyes about as wide as they could be, the boychild needed clarification, and so did his little sister, “it’s coming out of,” his voice trailed off as the mare groaned and the foal’s head now appeared.
“Yes sweeties, that’s where babies come from.”
“But it’s coming out of …,” somewhat confused, he needed to be sure, they both did.
“That’s right,” I smiled at how he kept his words hushed. This was a special event to witness, and they both knew it. Not another word was spoken, as the foal slipped from the mare. Awestruck, they were mesmerized by it all. From the birth to the attempts to stand, they were witness to it all, including how softly nurturing the mare was. Because the mare was gentle and trusting enough, the kidlets were allowed to stroke the soft, silky coat of the new arrival. It was a special time of learning and awareness that I doubt they ever forgot.
From the first moments the kidlets were introduced to all the animals, they learned to be gentle and caring. The girlchild in particular, had a way with the horses, something she’s never lost. I would find her, sitting out with the horses, or rather, sitting on them would be more correct. She always seemed to think that if a horse was lying down, that meant that she could sit or lie on top of it. As she got a little older, she would scale whatever horse she caught, it’s knee a toehold, thick mane the means of climbing up, and ride it in with just the halter and lead. It didn’t matter if there was a foal alongside, or how much training it had. To her way of thinking, why walk when you could ride? To truly connect with horses, one has to be able to read them, understand them, and most definitely reassure them. Sweetpea can do all of those, and instill trust as well. To be able to create a sense of trust, is the beginning to greatness between horse and handler.

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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