Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Horse Tails

Ride ’em Cowboy

You know you’re a true horse nut, when you own dozens of horses, yet when you’re on a road trip, and see a certain sign, you absolutely must stop. You know you’ve probably picked the right guy, when he’s more than willing to oblige. A true horse nut has no need to ask what the sign says. They already know.
We were driving from Winnipeg, Manitoba, to Thunder Bay to visit future hubby’s family. I had briefly met them once before, when we drove seven or eight hours after work on a Friday, after driving semi all day, but that had been rushed and not great for visiting. This was a relaxed drive, and far more enjoyable. For one thing, it was summer, for a second, I didn’t have to draft a semi at two in the morning. As for the third, we had a few days to explore and visit before heading back.
We were merrily travelling along, when I saw it, the sign that made me sit up snd take notice. ‘Trail Rides’ was written in large, black letters, on a white sheet of plywood. Before the words even started to come out of my mouth, future hubby was already slowing down, and looking for a spot to turn around.
As it turned out, this was no bonafide stable. It was a couple who owned three horses, and they hoped to bring in a few bucks, taking out trail rides. The intention was to build a little herd, eventually. They just weren’t there yet. At that point in time, there was a little, sorrel Arabian that was the guide horse. A little grey Arabian that I was to ride, and a tall, bay gelding that had recently come off the track. Not only was it a tad amusing that they’d only brought the horse home a couple of days before, but they had also purchased it in Winnipeg. There was always a surplus of Thoroughbreds around Winnipeg, often cheaper than the average horse, as once their racing days were done, many owners just wanted rid of them for whatever they could get. If I remember correctly, this particular horse had been purchased for three hundred dollars. Off the track or not, the tall bay was to be future hubby’s ride.
One would think that future hubby and I would at the very least, be somewhat hesitant about his mount. Funnily enough, we weren’t. Soon, we were off, enjoying some true wilderness, heavy bush trails in Ontario’s north. It truly was lovely. Tall evergreens reached to the sky, and the trail meandered over both rocky areas, and paths covered with years upon years of decaying but now dry, pine needles. Bright sunshine filtered through the branches, and the aroma, well that was wonderful. Those ‘fresh pine’ scented car air fresheners, have nothing on the real thing.
I was behind our guide, with future hubby pulling up the rear. At least that was the intention. We barely got going when big bay and future hubby, flashed by in a rush of breaking branches and snorts (from the horse, future hubby was, as always when he rode, silent). Putting the gelding into the thick bush to stop him, the man seemed unperturbed by the unexpected action of the horse. That turned out to be a very good thing, as it wasn’t a one time occurrence. Thankfully, they never collided into either of us, not even once, but hubby did have to put that horse into the thick bush, many a time. You see, it had no brakes at all, no training to speak of, and had lived its whole life, as a flatlander.
This was the way it was, certainly for the first hour. Though the gelding also didn’t have reverse, future hubby somehow got him out of the bush, and back onto the trail. Time and again, we watched the pair of them plunge between the trees, only to pop out and go again.
The second hour of the ride was far less eventful. It appeared that the gelding was running out of steam, and they actually began to tag along behind myself and my horse. We rode over uneven terrain, saw a beaver busily at work, and future hubby gained far more control of the speedy, ex-racehorse. This was a good thing, as the trail became very narrow, and I could just imagine them plunging into the big pond. This wouldn’t be at all good, as hubby can’t swim, and leeches disgust me.
Anyway, the ride ended with one much improved horse, and when I asked future hubby if he’d enjoyed the ride, he said he had.
“Weren’t you a little bit afraid, whenever it took off like that?” I asked, greatly amused by his answer.
“Nope,” he grinned and shrugged, as if it hadn’t been a big deal, “he was like a runaway semi. All I had to do was put him into the runaway truck ramp, and it was fine. He had to slow down. He had nowhere to go. Besides, he got better.”
I don’t know what made me remember that crazy trail ride, but as I admired the horses in our fields today, I appreciated that none of them, need a runaway truck ramp to stop.

  1. Your husband was probably the best thing to have happened to that horse to that point in his life.
    Stayed on, didn’t panic, entroduced him to at least the concept of whoa.

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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