Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Horse Tails

That’s the Spot

There are two times in every day that I find myself very popular indeed. There’s nothing like feed time to illicit a good many soft nickers, demanding neighs and often, the most amusing whinnying. Yup, horses didn’t hold back when it came to telling me how much they love me, or maybe it’s how much they hope I’ll feed them first. I love how excited they are to welcome their caregivers. Even blind Jim has it figured out. Though he may not hear his name being called from a distance, he definitely recognizes when Aurora gets all excited. For a refined, dainty horse, she has a bellow of a neigh that leaves no doubt, as to how thrilled she is, to see the human servants.
Occasionally there are other times that they’re extra pleased, or possibly relieved, to see one of their bipeds. This is exactly what I experienced, more than once or twice, over the course of a hot summer. If the bugs are bad, a smart horse looks to its human or humans, for a helping hand. When I say helping hand, I mean it quite literally. Some horses are smart enough to recognize, we humans can use our hands to sweep away annoying flies, and kill those nasty horseflies, in particular those huge, black ones that sound like little drones, ominously coming across the fields to hone in and attack.
As per usual whenever I walked in the backyard, I glanced out towards the pasture where blind, Lucky Jim lived with Aurora. What I saw out in the pasture was a bit bothersome. Jim was trotting all over the pasture, obviously stressed by something, and Aurora was rolling. The second she rose and caught sight of me, she let out a bellow of desperation, and galloped straight for me. Barely giving me time to get into the pen, she brushed against in an obvious effort to rid herself of bugs. Or, I suppose I should clarify, bug. There was one, strange, stripey wasp or hornet of some sort, hovering around her. It was the strangest insect, so loud, flying most aggressively with its fuzzy, striped body curved with its stinger at the ready. She must’ve picked it up as a hitchhiker when she’d passed by Jim, for he was now a good deal calmer.
Running round and round me as she wanted me to get rid of the little beast, Aurora didn’t have the patience to stop running around me as if I was a barrel in an endless race. There was no way I could help, if she wouldn’t slow down, even for a second.
Suddenly bolting away as Jim came up to join us, I almost groaned out loud. The weird striped protagonist was back to tormenting Jim, and he was not at all impressed. To my complete surprise, the second my hands, began brushing over his spotty coat, to rid him of the bug, Jim stood still, completely, absolutely still. All the times we humans had helped rid him of insects that tormented, had finally sunk in. He finally understood that we help, and don’t hurt. The problem was, try as I might, I couldn’t get that darn striped critter. It was too evasive, my hands not quick enough. Poor Jim, he stood there and took each restrained smack of my hand. I needed something better.
Spying a rather fanlike weed, I decided it would work far better. Leaving Jim for a second or two, I quickly broke one off and returned to a still Jim, surprisingly still waiting. Even more surprising, he accepted the weed being switched all over. It didn’t matter where, legs, sides, belly, neck and chest. All he wanted was relief, and relief is what I was finally able to give him. With precise timing, I managed to swat away that bug. Seconds later I made sure that particular striped, yellow annoyance would annoy them no more. With impeccable timing, Aurora poked her head out from behind the shelter, as if checking if the coast was clear.
Leaving them to get on with their busy day, grazing and being horses, I had to smile. Sweetpea and I had plans of sacking out Jim, of making him more sure of us, more trusting and confident. I guess, he’s already well on the way.

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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