Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Horse Tails

You Never do Know

Honestly, horses can be weird, so very weird. It’s important to remember that no matter how many different things you get them used to, there can still be the little things that are missed, like wild turkeys … and cows. Apparently, cows are extremely scary, alien creatures that could possibly eat a horse whole. At the very least, they may seriously cause bodily harm. This story is about cows. Oh yeah, and horses … or one particular horse. That horse was Semi Sweet, a Quarter horse mare. As she matured in age and training, she was exposed to all sorts of things that could scare a horse. There were the usual, plastic bags, plastic bottles with stones rattling around in them, as well as anything we could think of that might get an unpleasant reaction. All the work we put into her, worked well. She was quiet and sensible. She was becoming a horse that was trustworthy to work around and to ride. We began to take her out on rides with other horses, and she was working very well.
One fine, sunny afternoon, we decided to go on a bit of a longer ride. Instead of the four mile square, we added two miles to our jaunt. Semi was a bit of a slowpoke, which was fine. There’s nothing wrong with a casual horse. Not everyone is crazy about a forward moving horse. Some people prefer one that’s laidback and likes to take its time. She became the horse we put people on who we didn’t want on what we call a go-e horse. You know the type. All they want to do is go fast. Semi wasn’t that horse. She knew walk and trot very well, along with the occasional, slow lope. It’s what we like for a young horse, to not be run too much. We don’t want them to think that’s what riding all about. We like horses to start out calm and cool, about everything or as much of everything as can be. Back then, there was a youngish fellow who was horse crazy, actually saw himself as a bit of a cowboy, including the whole get-up, who would come riding with us now and again. He truly saw himself as a real rider, but I wasn’t so sure. I certainly wasn’t going to give him a perky horse to ride. Nope, Semi was perfect for him. She knew her stuff, and wasn’t about to be encouraged into doing something she hadn’t been taught was acceptable. The pair had joined up in the pens at home, and had been out together when we’d all gone riding a few times, so this wasn’t something new to either of them.
What was new however, was the addition of cows, so many cows. The addition of two, extra miles made all the difference. It took us right past a pasture, where a local dairy grazed their young heifers for the summer. Some of the horses had seen cows before, some hadn’t, Semi Sweet was in the ‘hadn’t’ category. The cows wouldn’t have been an issue, if they’d just behaved themselves. They didn’t just look at us, maybe moo a time or two. Nope, they had to go all dramatic on us. There was head-bobbing, leaping and bouncing like complete eejits, most of that silly behaviour directed at us. They came at the fence, huffing and puffing like black and white dragons. At least, I’m sure that’s what the horses thought. Even the steadiest horses were extremely wary and concerned. Heads high, eyes wide, they kept their attention focused on the strange looking and sounding animals. Thankfully, all our mounts behaved well. Though wary and a bit on edge, they cautiously carried on … except Semi. She wasn’t at all okay with the bouncing bovines. Those head tosses and cow snorts, were far too dangerous to ignore. Spread-legged, she stared at them with complete shock. Clearly, she had no idea what they were, and wasn’t going to stick around to find out if the dragons breathed fire, or if they ate horses, her in particular. She did a full spin to put any reining horse to shame, took another good look, spun again, looked hard then did a half spin and took off, like her tail was on fire.
“Um,” grinning with amusement, I shrugged at my friends, “I guess I’m going after them. She’s got to stop running sooner or later. You guys carry on, we’ll catch up.”
Well, I was wrong about Semi not being able to run, or that she’d quit soon. That horse ran all the way home, cowboy wannabe stuck to her back. She didn’t run like a runaway, more like a horse with a good deal of purpose and a goal in mind. I didn’t chase after them, but did have to canter all the way back to the farm again. I collected the pair, and yes, we did catch up to the other riders again. We passed by those cows, as well as many other strange critters as time and miles went by, never with a reaction like that again. Funnily enough, the cowboy quit coming around after that. I guess it was a bit more than he’d counted on. The whole cowboy thing, got a bit too exciting for him.

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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