Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Horse Tails

Cin-O-Rama Charco

I had owned many stallions, before Charco came into my life, all sorts of stallions of many different breeds. Charco was a Morgan, shiny black, angry and without any trust for humans, except me. We’d started off on the right foot, and he never did threaten me in any way. He was obedient and calm when I was around. I can still remember how I would rest my chin on crossed arms on one side of the fence, while he was on the other, and we’d chat. I’d tell him how things were going, what mares were coming in to be bred, and we’d generally discuss everything. Of course, he never answered but for a twitch of an ear or occasional look my way, as if making sure I was telling the truth. Still, it was time we both enjoyed. The sound of my voice must’ve been calming to him, as he would stay there as long as I would. I suppose, he enjoyed the company. After being secluded from other horses for far too long, he had no social skills and craved the company. He didn’t know what to do with company, but he still needed it.
I wanted him to have a social life, other than breeding mares. He needed to learn how to get along without losing his mind. I wanted to be able to move horses by his pen, without him thinking every single one was a mare coming to his pen. He got far too excited at the sight of other horses, even geldings. I wanted to change that. To that end, I housed a very sociable gelding behind the stallion pen. That gelding could touch noses with Charco, quite safely, as the fence was chainlink and seven feet tall, but it was real contact. It was the best idea, and worst as well. My beautiful, new fence took a beating it’s never recovered from. The signs of those first few months of socializing Charco are still evident for me to shake my head at and smile about. Maybe we’ll fix it someday … probably not. Though that chainlink took a beating, it helped to turn Charco into a happier horse. Not only did he have company behind him, Charco’s stallion pen was also in the middle of everything. Nothing happened without him seeing it. He wasn’t bored, nor was he secluded. There’s only one way to get a horse used to goings on, and it’s by putting him in the thick of things.
That first year of Charco, I booked many mares to him. I had my own mares that I wanted to breed to him, but he had to earn his keep, too. Farms have expenses, and horses don’t eat air. Funny thing was, the more mares that came to be serviced by him, the quieter … and fussier he got. In fact, he became so fussy that I actually had to discuss the issue with him. You see, a lovely, almost white, grade mare came in to be bred. There was absolutely nothing wrong with her, yet she didn’t interest him at all … not one, little bit. It was ridiculous. This stallion who had been almost impossible to control, had suddenly decided it was okay to be fussy. He didn’t like the white mare, not one, little bit. This wasn’t good, not good at all. I mean, I’d been paid a stud fee for a service that Charco was supposed to provide, and he suddenly didn’t want to hold up his end of the bargain.
I handled the stallion and mare by myself back then. Hubby had his own jobs, and the horses were my thing. I made sure the mare was ready, and was extremely careful to not take unnecessary risks with either horse. If I had doubts, I waited for a helper to handle the mare. This wasn’t a ‘need help’ sort of time. The mare was more than willing. It was Charco that wasn’t. Up until then, all the mares that had come to be bred had been dark coloured. This was the first white horse. Apparently, my beautiful Charco was a bit of a snob, or horsist, which is what I think the equine equivalent of a racist must be. Sure, it’s not a real word, but repeat it twice and write it down at least once, and it’s good to go. Anyway, I don’t put up with racism, equine or otherwise, and had a proper discussion about it with him.
“What do you think you’re doing?” I asked in utter disbelief when he turned his shiny, black nose up at that pretty, white mare. “There’s nothing wrong with her, goofball. She’s adorable, and she wants you. Enough of this nonsense … Get on with it already. Someone paid good money for a baby from you. Make that baby, now.”
Still, he fussed and avoided going over to her. Clearly, I hadn’t impressed upon him, just how important this was, “I’m serious, Charco. You have a job, and this is it. Get busy right now, or this will be the last mare you get to romance. I’m not even kidding.”
To my surprise and relief, he heaved a big, heartfelt sigh, then just as if he’d understood every word I’d said, finally went over to the mare and did what he was supposed to do. He never refused again, but he would give me a look, as if asking, ‘must I?’
The following spring that pretty, white mare had a beautiful, black colt.

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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