Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Horse Tails

Ride Like the Wind

I rode no matter the weather. Wind, rain, hot or cold, even on the coldest days, I rode. I don’t know when Thow-ra had time to eat and sleep, yet she was as fit as a fiddle. When my friends said that quarters could be bounced off her, it was probably true. That mares muscles truly rippled when she moved. She wasn’t the prettiest horse around, still, she was truly magnificent, and I adored her. Not too many, would take a chance on buying a twenty-five year old horse when they were only fifteen, yet I didn’t hesitate. There was something about her that spoke to me, and I knew she was the one for me.
We spent those first few years, galloping, hill climbing, jumping and swimming as we haunted the local gravel pits. I knew every trail, every stone and tree like the back of my hand. More importantly, so did Thow-ra. More often than not, I rode alone. Well, we went out alone, as we were after all, a team.
I wasn’t the only one, who enjoyed riding in the gravel pits, there were plenty of dirtbikers who did as well. We pretty well kept out of each others way. I didn’t want to be run into by a bike, and they didn’t want to run into me. For the most part, we were respectful of each others space. That’s not to say that there weren’t the occasional ones who behaved badly, in a manner that left their intentions in serious question, as there were. It was rare, yet one incident in particular, stands out clearly in my memory.
Thow-ra and I were having a lovely ride. It was neither especially hot out, but wasn’t cold out either. Sunny, dry and for once, devoid of the prairie winds that usually tangled my long hair, more than it ever did Thow-ra’s, we were negotiating some of our favourite trails and long, sandy stretches, when I realized that the guys on dirtbikes, were following us. Much like someone in a car would, I made specific route changes, to see if it was real, or simply my imagination running away with me. Nope, I wasn’t imagining things, or being paranoid. We most definitely were being followed, and they were picking up speed. Ahead lay a rather long stretch of sand. Beyond it, a winding, sandy trail that eventually ended at a deep, man created lake. I suddenly knew exactly what I was going to do. With a little luck, Thow-ra and I would be able to cross that open sand, before the bikers could. From there, I would have the upper hand. After all, I was on my stomping grounds, and I was on a horse I could rely on to give me her all. We had this.
There were all kinds of reasons my spur of the moment plan wouldn’t have worked. I didn’t consider any of them. The second Thow-ra’s hooves touched the sand, she leapt into a full gallop, and we were tearing across the expanse, towards the trail opening on the other side. Luck was on my side. We were over halfway across the open space, by the time the dirtbikes broke out of the bush into the open. A trail of dust and kicked up, dry sand, billowed behind us as we went like the wind. In their haste, the bikers used too much throttle, and their bikes fishtailed this way and that in the deep, soft sand. They lost enough time that I was able to make it onto the path that wound snake-like, through grassy, tall hills. Without slowing pace, we tore along, leaning into the turns as if we were barrel racing. Within hardly any time at all, we were arriving at the last stretch of trail. It straightened out and went directly between two high, steep cliffs that rose above us on both sides. Now these weren’t Rocky Mountain high or the like, but they were still tall, multi-level building tall. Without a second’s hesitation, I pointed Thow-ra at the faintest, narrowest trail that worked its way upwards, along the side of the left hill. It was barely more than a mountain goat path, but Thow-ra negotiated it as nimbly, as sure-footedly as any goat. Within no time at all, we’d scaled the cliff, and scrambled onto the flat top.
Breathless from the excitement of the race, we pulled up to gaze down at the scene below. Within seconds, they appeared far below. Where they had been chasing as fast as they could, now they were almost putt putting along. It was obvious that they were completely befuddled as to the disappearance of a horse and rider. Thirty feet before them was nothing but water. Just when they were directly below, one glanced up, and to my amusement, almost fell off his bike with surprise. Well aware that they would try to climb the hill, or race around for a way to reach us, I turned Thow-ra away, and galloped off. There was a spiderweb of trails, absolutely littered with downed trees and random boulders a bike couldn’t negotiate. Whatever danger they had posed, was no longer a threat.
The incident didn’t dampen my ride at all. The day was beautiful, and my horse and I enjoyed it. It was only when we were riding home a couple of hours later that I saw the two dirtbikers again. This time they were stationary. Helmets off, they appeared extremely subdued, as the RCMP officers wrote them up. Those were two, young guys who were about to have their bikes confiscated. A smile on my face, I continued on home.

  1. Wow- that was SO scary- wonder what the bikers got stopped for?? We rode on dirtbike trails in Vermont sometimes, too. Rarely ran into any bikers, as we rode those trails early afternoon after work, during the week- they rode on weekends. We always hoped the horses would poop on the trails 🙂 No lions, either- lol! Saw bear cubs once, and hotfooted it off the small mountain we were riding on, tho- didn’t want to run into their mama. Bicyclists on the roads were our most common irritation- the horses liked them less than motorcycles, as they were nearly silent “sneaking up” on us. Glad you and Thow-ra knew those trails so well!

    • The dirtbikes weren’t licensed, and not allowed on public roads. What, no lions to run with? Lol.
      Thow-ra was an amazing horse.

  2. So cool Trudy tight out of a movie your horse was invincible I love throw ya whatever you named her she was the so perfect for you she had a young spirit just like her rider. Why did the kids get in trouble whatever serves them right!!!!! Glad didn’t fall off!!!!!❤️❤️🤠

  3. That was fantastic riding. I could feel your excited decision making and was with you all the way. Love that drive you share in your stories.

    • You can easily visualize it, because you’re familiar with that kind of riding and terrain. Those were great times. Just a horse and a girl.

  4. Another one worth the wait! Thanks Trudy and Throw-ra for the great tails

  5. I loved your story telling. I could feel the wind and your exsitement of the ride.I love seeing Thow-ra threw your words! Thanks, Trudy

  6. Another great Tale…I love Throw-ra…almost a much as Jim.,,keep ‘em coming…

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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