Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Tails From the Farm

Two Little Trainers

We raised our children to be brave, to approach life with a sense of adventure. Sure, we allowed them to make mistakes, but we were always there to catch them as well. They were born brave, and we didn’t want to take that away. The boychild was a huge fan of anything mechanical. Whether it was a toy or a tractor, he was enthralled. Not that the girl wasn’t interested in toys, trucks and tractors as well, but she was crazy about horses. Sure, the boychild helped with the horses a lot, yet there wasn’t that fascination that the truly horse crazy are possessed with. That was my little sweetpea. She was, without a doubt, horse crazy. If it had four legs, and mane and a tail, she loved it and figured she should and could ride it. Such an attitude is a bit worrisome in some ways, pretty great in others. We raised Morgan horses, so many horses, and they needed to be trained. Sure, I trained them when she was young, but she was keen on learning as much as she could. In fact, I had no choice in the matter. That little girl shadowed my every move. The boychild was pretty keen when he was young, but that girl, she was insatiable when it came to horses.
We often took in horses to train. It was a way of making a bit of extra income, to pay the bills and make ends meet. On top of that, I really enjoyed it. Once in a blue moon, we would get in a pony to train, or I’d buy a horse or pony to train to resell. It wasn’t very long, before the kidlets were training the ponies. Sure, I was still there, directing, giving instruction and advice, but they were the handlers and riders. Hands-on is a great way to learn, especially when under the guidance and care of someone who cares about kids and animals alike.
They were pretty adorable to watch. The boychild did everything by the book, or rather, by what mom said. If mom said to do something, he followed to the letter. The girlchild, well … she just wanted to ride. There was no way, she was going to miss a chance of riding, and she grabbed each and any opportunity. I can remember one time in particular, where they’d both been riding a little, Shetland pony that needed work. The boy had barely finished his turn. He was holding the pony, so I could take a picture. Sweetpea took this, as her chance to climb up. Proudly smiling at the camera, the boychild had no idea that his little sister wasn’t wasting any time. She was already on her way to mounting the tiny steed. They loved riding so much that I would have to remind that there were time limits, not to tire the pony out too much. After all, we certainly didn’t want to sour it from the whole idea. If the pony had a good time, it would continue to be easy to catch and pleasant to work with. Just like kids, they need to work within their limits, not over them.
As the years went by and the kids grew, the boychild worked with the horses less, the girlchild, far more. He didn’t have that innate something that kept him a step ahead of what a horse might do. He couldn’t anticipate or read their intentions, not like sweetpea could. He stuck to the horses he knew well, which was safer for everyone. Whenever I asked him to give me a hand, he would often get hurt in some way, so it was much better to wait for sweetpea. It wasn’t that the boy did anything wrong, he simply couldn’t anticipate behaviour. He loved his little pony, Chauncey and Anna, the big Morgan mare he rode, after he outgrew Chauncey. He simply wasn’t a multi-horse sort of person, not like his sister was. She went on to be my training sidekick, my riding partner and a trainer in her own right. Having a kindred spirit to hang out with is a pretty amazing thing. When that person is your daughter, it doesn’t get any better than that.
We’ve had adventures aplenty, over the years. We’ve delivered horses to new owners, explored Ireland and Scotland by the seats of our pants and loved it. Funnily enough, we pretty well live life by the seat of our pants, and it’s a pretty amazing way to live. When we travel to Europe to research, we don’t book anything but the flight, ahead of time. Travelling without an itinerary is rather liberating, and oh, so much fun. The next few stories, will be about some of those travels. Whether delivering horses to new owners with the whole family or just the kidlets, we’ve had so many adventures, often crazy adventures. Now I’ll share those adventures, and hope you all enjoy them as much as we have.

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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