Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Pony Tails

An Itty Bitty Pony

When I say I’m a lover of all things equine, it’s certainly stated in the truest sense. If it’s got four legs, mane and tail, I’m going to like it. My first love was of ponies. When I was very young there was the puzzle of a black pony with four stockings, white mane and tail, as well as a blaze down its pretty face. Then a story with a perfect Shetland pony, owned by a family with young children who had all sorts of adventures that I read every night before bed. Maybe that story influenced me, as when I was a teenager and happened upon an adorable, Shetland pony that was a sorrel just like the one in the book, I had to have her. Did I need a tiny pony? Well, no, not really, yet I certainly wanted her. There’s something about that red coat and yellow mane and tail that I find especially pretty. It didn’t hurt that she was a really pretty pony either. I didn’t even hesitate when I came upon the adorable pony. I bought her and took her to the property I rented. She became one of the seventeen horses I owned when I was seventeen years old. I suppose she shouldn’t have counted as a horse, but she was certainly an equine.

Tina was about the best pony anyone could ever hope to have. She was without vices of any kind, was very well trained and obedient, and everyone loved her. Even the other horses respected her, and didn’t give any problems at all. She wasn’t bullied, nor did she ever attempt to bully. She stayed in the fences, was incredibly easy to work with, and was completely trustworthy. She was, in fact, the perfect pony in every way.

I don’t have very many amusing stories about her, as she never did anything wrong. As it so happens, I only have one amusing story to tell. It happened one particularly hot summer. We were well into a week of very hot, very dry weather, and the forecast was for more of the same. We went riding in the gravel pits a lot, swam the horses to cool off, and pretty well enjoyed life. Little Tina didn’t get to go to the gravel pits to swim. She was ridden by little children, foster children my parents cared for, little children who were too small to ride all the way to the gravel pits, and certainly couldn’t take a pony swimming. Nope, little Tina had to stay behind. There would be no swimming for her. Thankfully, the trough was kept topped off with cool water, and there were plenty of trees to provide shade. It was hot out, but the horses … and pony, could still escape some of the heat.

Sometimes I wonder if the horses chat. Forget I said that. I’m sure horses communicate. I’ve seen it too many times to deny that it happens. In Tina’s case, I think she got fed up with listening to the other horses talk about how much fun it was, to go swimming in the gravel pits. I think she decided to do something about it. No, she didn’t escape and go swimming in the pits, and there certainly wasn’t any water in the ditches that hot, dry summer. What she did was so unexpected, I almost had a heart attack. I’m getting ahead of myself, again. This is what happened.

As I drove along the road leading to the land I rented for my seventeen horses (even if some were ponies) and as always, I was scanning the pasture for horses. I still do this. I look to see if there are shiny hides catching the sunshine. I look to see if all is as it should be, and I count heads. There are times I don’t know exactly how many horses there are in a pasture, but I always know when one is missing. On this day, there was a tiny one missing, a tiny sorrel named Tina. It wasn’t such a big deal, not yet. There were places she could hide, in the trees, behind a bigger horse, or she could be flat out, napping in the tall grass. When I drove into the yard, I was scanning for that tiny bit of adorable ponyness. There was still no sign of her, not hide nor hair. I was trying not to, but I was getting somewhat concerned. Tina always came to the gate. She always came to see, who had come into the yard. She knew the sound of my truck, my car, and she wasn’t the sort that ignored the curiosity she felt. Where in the world was she? As quick as could be, I hopped out of the truck and walked to the gate. It was then that I saw her, or part of her. I saw the very tips of her tiny, fuzzy ears. She was in the water trough, the water trough that had been filled to the brim, only the evening before. This was bad, very bad. I didn’t know how she’d ended up in the trough, but I thought the worst. She’d been kicked by one or more horses, and somehow ended up in the trough. She was injured, or dead, or injured and near dead. Incredibly stressed out, I called out her name, rather loudly, probably too loud, as I hopped over the gate and ran to the trough. I’m pretty sure, I gave poor, little Tina a heart attack right then and there. If she wasn’t already dead, I probably almost put her there. That little head shot up, and she whinnied, loud and clear, at least loud for a pony. It was as if she was saying, “Hey, what’s up? Is there a problem?”

“What in the world are you doing in there?”

Walking to the pony-filled trough, I still had the worry in my mind that she was hurt. After all, she was a pony in a water trough. This wasn’t a normal pony thing, no run of the mill, ordinary, to be expected thing. How in the world, did she get into the trough, and why? Bigger than that, was she okay? I bailed the water out of there with a bucket, struggled to tip it onto its side, pony and all, only to have her suddenly rear up and hop out. I don’t know how she did it, yet somehow she managed it, and it appeared quite easily, to boot. I checked her over, only to be relieved to find that she didn’t even have a scratch. She was wet, cool and wet, and without any sort of injury. The water trough was refilled, Tina was watched for the next little while, and the day continued, as days were prone to do. I went home for lunch, only to return to find, Tina in the trough again.

“Is this going to be your thing?” I asked with a groan and a grin. She did appear to be enjoying her cool soak. This continued to happen on the hot days, and I got used to the fact that I had a pony that loved to cool off in the trough. Well, I sort of got used to it. After all, a pony soaking in a trough isn’t a normal thing one actually gets used to. I came to expect it, but used to it, not really. It was the summer of the very clean water trough though. I had to clean and refill that trough more times that summer than any other. One thing I will say though is this, Tina figured out how to stay cool. She didn’t need to go all the way to the gravel pits to do it, either.

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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