Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Horse Tails

One Good Blow, Part 2

What does one do, when a horse is freaking out in a horse trailer, seemingly doing its level best, to tear it apart? At least, it surely sounded and looked like that was the intent. Of course that wasn’t really what was going on. Sara was a horse. A horse that wanted out, and wanted out immediately. There had to be a way to get her out of there, without the risk of anyone dying. It was on us, to figure out how to accomplish it.
Every few minutes, Sara would stop and stand for a few seconds. Eyes wide and wild, sweat running down her legs and dripping off heaving flanks, she would be still, then as abruptly as she’d stop, she’d start again. No one had to make the suggestion. We all knew, the only shot we had, at getting a lead rope on her was when she took one of the, all too brief breathers. I can’t remember who finally managed to get a snap on her halter ring, but I think it was future hubby, yet it was done and there was success, sort of. A lead rope didn’t change how she was behaving, how she was reacting to her unmanageable situation. The trailer tie had long since broken, so if she was to suddenly back out, nothing would restrict or impede her action. On the next break Sara took, the end of the lead was tossed to the back and unbelievably caught. Del gave it a tug, and asked her to back out. She did, and just like that, it was over.
Where there had been a horse desperately trying to escape a closed in space, now there was a completely calm mare, standing perfectly, and perfectly obedient, for her young owner. It was like watching, the equine version, ofJekyl and Hyde.
There we were, on the side of a busy highway with an injured horse, wounded trailer, and a long way from home, if one had to walk. There was also the huge problem of a river to cross. Well, not so much the river, as the old, rather interesting bridge that spanned it. There was a long section that was similar to a grate, as it was possible to look down at the Red River as you passed over it. What am I saying? If you walked over that bridge, it was impossible to avoid looking through the grate, at the moving water far below. What we had to do was clear. Sara would have to be ponied, all the way home. Yes, she had injuries that needed tending to, but she wasn’t profusely bleeding, nor was she lame. It was the only solution, for a horse that couldn’t be trailered. I suppose, it could have been worse. We could’ve been all the way at Gimli. Then getting Sara home, would’ve been a good deal harder.
Without wasting any more time, Higgins and Star were loaded into the trailer, Thow-ra was saddled, and the trek home began. Thow-ra was not at all crazy, about walking over that grate on the bridge, still she did so, obediently as always. With the truck and horse trailer, following along behind to keep us safe, we made our slow and steady way, across to the other side. From there, we worked our way to the giant Floodway that had been built many years before, to greatly lessen flooding of the city of Winnipeg. Fortunately for us, the soft slopes and wide, flat top of the giant ditch covered with grasses and alfalfa, was perfect for a slow ride home. All in all, there were a good sixteen miles or so to travel, and it would be hours before Sara would be at the barn I used to rent. It made the most sense to take her there. It was right off the Floodway, and would be a good place for a veterinarian to be able to look Sara over. She had wounds that needed to be seen to.
As awful as it was, to make an injured horse walk miles and miles, we were really left with no choice. There was no one available with a really large, open stock trailer, and nothing said she would load anyway. Maybe it was better that Sara walked anyway. It gave her time to slowly, truly calm down again. Over the course of the slow journey, there were a few times, I thought she was going to go down, and possibly go into shock. It took a good deal of persuasion to keep her up and walking.
Eventually, we arrived at the big, old barn. Del and his parents had hurried home to call the vet, then get a stall ready. The vet arrived not long after we did, and immediately got to work.
Sara had to have far more sedation than a horse her weight normally had, in order for the vet to tend to her needs. Maybe it was because they weren’t as effective on a horse that had likely had more thanthan her fair share of it, but it was necessary now. Walking by as she stood there, head hanging as the drugs took affect, I was reminded of how important it was, to not be complacent. With lightning fast speed, that darn horse that could barely stand, kicked like a mule. Both back hooves, flashed inches behind me, in a rush of wind and resounding crash of sound against a solid, fir beam. The barn fairly shook from the blow, the impact had that much force. I don’t know that I would’ve survived a kick like that. All these years later, I still shudder.
Those strange scars, all along Sara’s topline? Funny thing was, they were now all re-opened wounds. This was not her first panic attack in a trailer. Did the previous owners, experience what we had? We had no way of knowing back then, and I suppose we never will.

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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