Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Travel Tails

A Bit of Spirit

If anyone had seen us walk out of the stable yard and head out on our bit of a trek, there’s no way anyone would’ve said that any of them were particularly spirited. There was no dancing and prancing, no pulling on the bit or head tossing. All the horses were quite lovely and completely sensible. It made what our guide said to me when we arrived at the bottom of a long track, going up a hill, all the more puzzling. Did we all want to go, for a bit of a run? Well, of course we did. In fact, we looked forward to it.
“Well,” the guide said, “bring Linhee up right behind me then. Try to keep her behind me, but if you can’t and have to give her the rein and pass me, then go ahead.”
Completely perplexed, I did as she said, and brought my horse up behind hers. Quite honestly, I seriously didn’t think, there’d be any issues at all. Linhee was beyond obedient, incredibly responsive and a lovely ride. I doubted anything would happen at all. I preferred to keep an eye on sweetpea, yet somehow, it always seemed like she ended at the back of the line. Not that she minded. She liked taking photographs, and pulling up the rear was pretty well perfect. As far as she was concerned, it was pretty well perfect. So, we changed our pole positions, and prepared to canter off. To my surprise, I found myself on a horse that was imitating a Lipizzaner. High into the air she leapt, once, twice then three times in her excitement. She didn’t want to be held back and collected. She wanted to go. She wanted to go, as fast as she possibly could. The quiet steed that had lulled me into a false sense of security was now showing her spirit, big time.
“Hang on a minute … Hold up,” I called out and smiled at our guide’s somewhat concerned expression. I didn’t want to concern her, I simply needed to decide if I was riding stirrups or not. You see, I’d lost them at the first leap Linhee had taken. So used to riding bareback, I rarely put any pressure on the irons, and losing them was bound to happen. I contemplated crossing them in front of the saddle, then thought better of it. If one or more came loose and was to smack Linhee, it was very likely that she wouldn’t be at all impressed. I mean, chances are she’d completely ignore and such thing, but then again, why risk it. I simply set my feet back into the stirrups and smiled at our guide, “Okay, let’s go.”
Linhee was ready for it. Clearly, it was what she was anticipating and waiting for. The horse loved to run. She reminded me of Thow-ra, of Sundance Kidd, of Robin the golden palomino. They’d all been horses that loved to run. Admittedly, I loved it as well. If Linhee had been black, she could’ve been the black, Irish Thoroughbred from my long-running dream. She could easily have been the spirited Irish Reign, the mare my lead character rides in the beginning of the dream. That horse was hard to hold in, and loved to run as well. We’d seen Irish Thoroughbreds at the National Stud in Kildare back in Ireland that fit the picture, but riding Linhee was the missing puzzle piece of the dream. I could well imagine her behaviour, her reactions and actions as typical of what Irish Reign was like. It was pretty amazing, how uncannily similar to my dream, this part of the ride was. Though Irish Reign runs away with her rider in the dream and book, and Linhee wasn’t that disobedient, I was very aware of the power beneath me. I was riding an amazing horse, and amazing is what I’d been looking for.
In the space of one stride, we were into a full out gallop. Linhee ran like the wind, like it was what she lived for. The others weren’t as excited, yet clearly loved it as well. Like the wind, we swept up the track, to the top of the mountain where we pulled up to enjoy the view. It was, quite simply, spectacular. We were riding in the highlands of Scotland, the land of lore and history, and it didn’t disappoint. This was all we’d hoped for, and more than we’d expected. I could’ve happily ridden Linhee for days upon days. It goes without saying that sweetpea would’ve been pleased to have Eva as well. We’d experience so much of Ireland, had ridden all kinds of horses in all kinds of terrain, and this was the icing on the cake. I was sure, I would be able to go back home and tweak what needed it. That I would be able to make sure the story I’d written from a dream, was as correct as possible. That red, Trakehner mare, had given me the feel of what riding the fictional Irish Reign would’ve been like, in many ways. There was a sense of unbridled power, as well as the sound of her excitement, as she anticipated the gallop, like riding a freight train that was building up steam. Adding what I’d felt when riding her, to my many experiences with horses that ran away with me in the past, created that horse from my dreams. I’d found what I’d come looking for.

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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