Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Tails From the Farm

Holy Toledo!

Goats have come into my life now and again, with varying results. Some good, some bad, all memorable. My earliest goat experience was with two miniature ones our neighbour had, when I was young. They were naughty, little critters. Even as young as I was, I was horrified to see them bouncing with spring-loaded legs and sharp, cloven hooves, all over any car that dared come into the yard. Besides the little divots and scratches they made in the paint, they left behind more evidence of their presence. A trail of little, round turds followed them everywhere.
I didn’t personally have any interaction with goats again, until I began to work at the Thoroughbred farm, not far from my home. They had several goats, big ones. The does were white, and quite pleasant to handle. Years later, I rented a lovely Nanny goat named Gardenia to raise an orphan foal, but these were goats for company for horses showing signs of distress. New horses, horses looking for a bit of company, ones that were nervous or overwrought, were given the company of a goat. The belief was, if any sort of illness went through the barn, you’d soon know it, because of the goats. It was said that a goat would become sick before a horse would. This gave time to figure out what the disease was, and to prepare for it. There must’ve been some truth to it, as in the time I worked there, the goats dwindled down to one. A Billy that went by the name of, Holy Toledo.
Holy Toledo was aptly named. His space was at the end of the first barn. He lay there on his bed of straw, formidable in appearance, even when lying down. If he stood, the first thing to check for was whether or not he was still tied. The sight of that Billy off his tether was enough to strike fear, into the bravest heart. That was the most cantankerous, miserable, ill-tempered goat ever. The minute he caught sight of a human, he began to threaten. That shaggy head would cock to one side, his stance stiff, and there was no mistaking the warning. I didn’t like that goat, not one little bit. Not only was he an angry, shaggy critter, he also did the most disgusting thing. He peed on his beard. Apparently Billy goats do this to make themselves more attractive to the does, but I have my doubts about the success of it. If that works, maybe nanny goats need to be a tad fussier.
I wasn’t afraid of anything on that whole farm. Not the often wired, hot, two year old racehorses, not the moody mares, or many unpredictable stallions, yet that darn Billy, made me wary as can be. If that cranky goat somehow got loose, Holy Toledo, you’d better be running!

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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