Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Foal Tails


There was a time, when it didn’t seem like spring, until the new foals arrived. Seeing them being born, growing and frolicking in the fields was incredibly heartwarming. It does a person good, to see the spring crop of foals, all full of promise and all kinds of potential.

Over time, we simply stopped breeding. I suppose we’re not cut out for it. We care too much about the horses, about their life after leaving us. Many fall into the best of homes, with owners who do their best to treat their horses right. Yet there are far too many that don’t, and those are the ones that break your heart. All the plans, the careful breeding program to produce foals that would grow into mature horses that fit the standard for quality Morgans, means nothing if the horses don’t sell. It’s not just selling them to great people that counts, it’s also very important that producing them, is financially viable.

That being said, so many horses, went to wonderful homes. Many of the lovely people, we met through the horses, are still good friends of ours. We may not get to see them, or speak with them as often as we’d like, yet it’s amazing to be able to call them friends.

There are all kinds of buyers of horses. There are those know what they’re doing, and those who don’t, yet are more than willing to learn. These are the best, as you know the horse is going to excel. Then there are those who have no idea, and don’t want to take advice, or just as bad, if not worse, the person who thinks they know it all, but really don’t. Those are the ones who tend to do you wrong, who take advantage of your good nature, and tend to besmirch your reputations at the drop of a hat. If only that type of person wasn’t easier to spot, life would be so much easier. Over the years, we’ve dealt with all of the above, with varying results.

We haven’t bred horses for years now, yet funnily enough, there are still a few lovely mares here, as well as a quite spectacular stallion. I suppose until they go, there’s always the chance that we may breed horses again. It’s when we’re going through photographs of gorgeous foals that the desire to create more, becomes the strongest. It seems such a waste, not making more, when we seem to have the recipe just right. Still, it is what it is, and one must recognize, when there’s no demand, for what you produce.

The antics and playfulness of the babies, is what I miss the most. Over the years, so many things they did, were absolutely adorable. When showing foals to a prospective client, a lovely, bay filly of about two months old, deviated from her mamas path. The small herd was grazing the front pasture, which was also the home of our practice, crosscountry  course. Well that leggy filly didn’t hesitate for a second. Just like that, she popped over the oxer, no problem at all.
The expressions of surprise in the eyes of everyone watching was pretty darn great. Then there was the buckskin colt that was completely fearless. He was our very own, Dennis the Menace. He thought he could do anything, seriously anything. If we hauled a load of loose hay into the pen, he would run over and just like that, hop up onto the trailer. He’d stay up there for as long as it took to unload, then without any fuss at all, he’d jump back down. Leave anything hanging on the fence, and it would be carried off. This was actually a real thing with any of the foals. What am I saying? It’s a Morgan thing. No matter what the age, they’re big thinkers. That capacity for thinking, is the reason our gates have chains and special snaps. Too many horses have figured out how to open gates.

One incorrigible filly used to torment the other horses, and when whichever horse had enough and was about to mete out some justice, the little begger would run and hide behind the Draft horses. The Drafts were funny that way. Though geldings and giant, they loved baby horses, and spoiled them quite atrociously. It made for bratty foals, but was well worth the entertainment value.

Next spring will be the same as the last. No foals will be playing in the fields next year. Though we still have all the ingredients for the recipe, we stopped adding foals to a market, already saturated by too many. It hurts our hearts, when a horse we sell suffers. We wish more people would stop breeding. If you’re not prepared to keep what you produce if it doesn’t sell, then you shouldn’t be bringing more into the world. Far too many foals, weanlings and broodmares go through the auction ring and on a slow boat to the Orient. It’s time for everyone to become responsible. To appreciate that horses should never be disposable, or so easily discarded.

  1. When people breed quality! You know they care. I love your responsible outlook.

  2. It’s so hard and sad to see the Morgan breed shrinking, and responsible breeders aging and no longer raising them. Seeing Morgans dumped by Amish in kill pens after a lifetime of hard work- to buy/raise a horse because it’s pretty, then overwork it in a life they were never meant to live just pains me no end. Hoping that folks will still raise a few good horses and show people what a Morgan can do- trail ride, work cows, show if desired- even in small open shows, be your best friend on earth <3

    • I wish everyone would save a horse, by keeping their own for life. There would be far fewer foals being randomly produced then.

  3. Wise words!

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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