Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Remember the Horses


During the Second World War, fuel, parts and vehicles themselves, were in short supply. In the Netherlands, the ever popular bicycle filled many gaps, yet there’s only so much a bike can do. It can’t haul away the garbage a city creates, haul in gravel or anything to do any sort of repairs. With fuel shortages and the occupying army taking whatever they wanted, many cities had to take a short step back in time. Horses had been phasing out in favour of motorized vehicles, but some were pressed back into work. Horses began to be used to deal with the mundane yet necessary tasks of the city.
My uncle was neither a horseman or countryboy, yet it fell upon him to retrain the horses that quit, or tried to quit their jobs. Some would simply refuse to pull, balked at the tug of the load. Some lay down and couldn’t be budged, until the harness came off, and they were freed from their restraints. Unfortunately, horses don’t get to decide when they’ve had enough. Right or wrong that’s what people do. It was left to my uncle to convince these strikers that they had no choice but to go back to work. Being war time, when so many people were starving did not bode well for retirement. A horse had to work and earn its keep, or else.
In order to do this, my uncle came up with a plan. Any horse protesting the job required of it, had to pull a heavy barrel full of water in a continuous circle. After a few days of that, a cart didn’t seem nearly as bad, as it previously had.
My uncle on my mother’s side grew up on a farm out in the countryside. His work companion was a Dutch Draft horse. Their job was collecting seaweed. They had a true partnership. Man and horse harvesting from the sea. That horse knew his job, and was good at it. There was no walking off, no being unruly or impatient. My uncle raked and loaded seaweed when the tide went out, and when the tide began to come back in, they were done until the next time. The difference between the life of his horse and those owned by the city, were likely night and day, yet all those horses were important. Without them, the hardships of a city under siege, would’ve been far greater.

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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