Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Horse Tails

My Dream Horse

After so many years, of dreaming and wishing for a horse, of riding everything with four hooves, a mane and tail, along with saving every penny, I finally had a horse of my own. As it turned out, she was the epitome, of all my dreams come true. She was everything a horse crazy girl could want, and so much more. Sure, she was a bit long in the tooth, and had seen a lot of years, twenty-five of them, as a matter of fact, but I instantly loved her.
You see, like many older horses, she’d been discarded by her owners as well past her prime. They got rid of her before she died and was worth nothing. The horse they deemed disposable, was the most wonderful horse, I could ever have chanced upon.
The fellow I purchased her from, knew a little of her history. She had been a lessons horse, at an English stable. Over the years I shared with her, I was thrilled by her many abilities. She never refused a jump, knew how to side pass, and did amazing lead changes. Though I thought long and hard, I can’t remember a single time that mare spooked. Sure, she saved my hide and took me out of danger a few times, but spook … never. For that matter, she never bucked, kicked, struck, reared or bit. She was about as perfect a horse, as anyone could ever want. It’s true that she tended to run away just a bit, but only if she was allowed to go over a canter, and only with me. I think that horse, knew I loved speed, just as much as she did. I can still feel the wind in my hair as we galloped bush trails, jumping every downed tree, every jump built by the local hunt club. We loved that jump trail, Thow-ra and I, and she would eagerly pull towards it, given the chance.
Those early summers, were spent going to horse shows every weekend, and preparing for shows during the week. My favourite classes were timed events. My lack of a fancy horse and tack weren’t a factor in true, performance classes, and Thow-ra and I, both loved speed. We especially loved what were aptly called, fun shows. At fun shows, the classes were games, games where speed counted. Games like egg and spoon, obstacle race, back to back bareback, and rescue race.
One particular rescue race, stands head and shoulders above the rest in my fond memories of Thow-ra. Having practiced all the classes, we were more than ready. It was simple enough. Horse and rider galloped across the arena to the other end, where a person was waiting to be rescued. The person would leap on behind, and away you’d all go. First one back to the starting line was the winner! There were multiple teams competing that day, and we were somewhere in the middle of the lineup. Off the competitors went, to ‘rescue’ teammates waiting at the far end of the arena. Just as we practiced, I circled my friend like I was turning a barrel, leaning out of her way to the off side of Thow-ra, so that my friend could reach by me to the saddle horn. It all went to plan, just like we’d practiced. Well, for the most part, anyway. There was a slight miscalculation. My friend did grab the saddlehorn, but didn’t quite make the leap onto Thow-ra’s rump. To tell the truth, she only had her foot, and half a leg, over that shiny, red rump. The logical thing to do was, stop and get her properly onto Thow-ra’s butt. Teen girls are rarely logical, especially when in competition.
“Go,” she urged as she hung there like a monkey, “I’m good, go!”
I went … we went. Thow-ra, as obedient as always, leapt into action, despite a person clinging to her side. All around us, there was all sorts of nonsense going on. Horses that had never been ridden double, were letting their riders know what they thought of the idea. Some were bucking, some wouldn’t even allow the extra person to climb aboard, and a couple were keeping their horses, to a rather restrained walk. Barely mincing along, in the obvious hope that their horses wouldn’t buck like so many others. We, on the other hand, were already half the way back to the beginning, and giving our all. Thow-ra was well aware of, my offset seat on her back. She was also clearly aware of the person hanging onto her side, yet she took in stride. I suppose to Thow-ra, it was par for the course. Just one more thing, her teenage owner expected of her.
Then it happened. The saddle began to slip. It was bound to happen. It wasn’t meant to have someone pulling on it like that. Still, the finish line was so close, surely we could make it?
We couldn’t. By now, the saddle had slipped to Thow-ra’s side, and while we tried to urge her forward, she finally, firmly said no. No more than ten feet or so from that finish line, we were now dragging along the ground. Thow-ra had practically slowed to a crawl, then refused to go on. I could practically reach out, and touch the finish line. It was so close. Lying there on our backs, still hanging onto the saddle under Thow-ra’s belly, we burst into laughter. I mean, how could we not?
Thow-ra appeared quite disgusted, yet resigned with her young owner’s antics. All around us, there were adults running towards us, as carefully and cautiously, as was possible. Of course, they feared and expected Thow-ra to react to the slipped saddle and laughing girls, but I knew better. Thow-ra truly was bombproof, and apparently, dragging giggling girl-proof as well. She stood stock still, patiently waiting, while strangers removed the saddle.
Sprawled out on the ground, still giggling away, we watched as one of the teams that didn’t dare do more than a restrained walk, finally crossed the finish line.
Because a riding stable, discarded a horse they considered no longer worthwhile, I was able to share many wonderful years with Thow-ra. They missed out on many great years with her, and I enjoyed every one of them.

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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