Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Horse Tails

A Helping Hand

Tom was one of hubby’s Belgian geldings, many years ago. He was the replacement for Kelly, the Belgian that was the catalyst to a terrifying runaway. Anyone who says that one bad incident, can’t ruin a horse, doesn’t know horses well enough. Kelly had been owned by riding stables by Thunder Bay, Ontario, and had been half of a team used for hayrides. They certainly should’ve known better, yet for whatever reason, hadn’t. The wagon had been covered with a huge sheet of clear plastic, to protect customers from the rain. That sheet had come loose in the wind, and terrified the poor team. Now, horses are prey animals. They run, until they leave danger far behind. If whatever they perceive to be dangerous, is right behind them, hitched to them, they’ll continue to run. They’ll run, until they can’t run any longer, and the run often ends in a horrific wreck. The information that we learned after the fact was, this is what had happened to Kelly. Because Kelly wasn’t a safe horse for our young family, he was traded for Tom.
Tom was a big, solid Belgian. He was ever so gentle, and despite his great size, had the whinny of a pony, and was the biggest sissy ever. It was super easy to hurt his feelings, and he was incredibly sensitive. That horse was sweet and careful with the kids, from when they were tiny tots and up through the years. Sweetpea brought him out for pony club practice, and he would have kids crawling all over him, all without a single complaint. He wouldn’t fuss or fidget, not a bit. To tell the truth, we believe he enjoyed it, every bit of it. Kids climbing him like a rock wall was perfectly fine. Tom loved attention.
Anyway, after hubby experienced the giant, Draft horse sized runaway, and his shoulder healed, we decided it would be good to go back to basics. This wasn’t just for the horses, but for hubby as well. After an experience like that, he needed to have faith in his big brutes again. In typical man fashion, he threw himself into the idea. We didn’t have anything for a single horse to pull, so hubby built a stoneboat. It was decided, we would wait until there was snow. Snow would make it far easier, for the runners of the stoneboat to slide over the ground. Not that two thousand pounds of Belgian, couldn’t pull an empty stoneboat over snowless ground, as it surely had the brute strength to do so. Still, we were talking about sweet, gentle Tom. We didn’t want to overexert him.
The day came, when there was finally enough snow, to try out the new stoneboat. Hubby had harnessed the horses as a team and single a few times. They were both familiar with the concept. It was time to give it a go. Tom was first up. Hubby had pulled the stoneboat, into the relative security of the riding ring with the tractor, and there was plenty of room to drive around.
Tom was hitched to the stoneboat, I stood by his head, and hubby clucked and asked Tom to step. Tom tried, he really did, sort of. The second he moved forward and felt the weight against his collar, his eyes opened wide and he stopped. In usual Tom fashion, he didn’t fuss, but he did want to know, what was going on.
“Why do you want me to pull such a heavy thing?” the big horse wanted to know, “It has no wheels. I’ve always pulled things with wheels. Why would you expect me, to be able to do this? I can’t. I just can’t.”
“Come on boy,” I encouraged as I reached out a hand to his halter, “you can do this. Step Tom, step.”
And he did. He stepped forward and pulled that heavy stoneboat, with no problem at all. We were impressed, and ever so pleased. Things were great, until I removed my hand from his halter. His immediate response was to stop, abruptly and completely stop, to stand right there, big hooves planted to the ground. The second I put my hand on his halter again, away we went. Take my hand off, dead stop. Sharing a grin with hubby, I reached up and put a fingertip to Tom’s halter. Lo and behold, just like that, he could easily pull again. As it turned out, he needed my help, poor boy.
I learned that day that the saying is true. I do have more power in one finger, fingertip, if one wants to be precise, than some have in their whole body!

20 Comments
  1. LOL!! Tom was a wonder- I hope you kept him forever! Would he also just follow you if you walked along? Regal thought that was fun- even pole bending!! Horses are the strangest beasts at times- your finger was magic 🙂

  2. Love that magic finger! Wish I had one of those, especially if it worked on other things, like busted fences LOL
    Gather fb is giving you fits again. Sorry, you are missed by many, hope you’re back soon!

  3. Oh, I love the picture of the little one on him.

  4. Worth waiting for!

  5. Gotta love magic when it happens!!!!

  6. Lol, he needed your help. 🙂
    Thanks for writing!

  7. You weren’t kidding when you said he was huge. Wow!! I had a young horse we were breaking to ride and he was s good as gold. No bucking, tearing or anything when you got on his back. All four feet stayed planted and in order to make him walk when someone was on his back someone needed to touch his bridle and walk one step in front. If too far in front he would stop dead. He was always unsure of himself until the day we put him down. He was a good boy though. Your story reminded me of him.

  8. I said it before and I will say it again, I love your stories!!!!

  9. Love the saying at the end!

  10. Another great tale!!! Tom is great! Magic fickle finger of fate!!! Is that Sweet Pea sitting so regally on him!!!

    • Tom was quite the character, and yes, tiny tot sweetpea up on the big boy. Note how careful he’s being not to pull on the reins.

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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