Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Horse Tails

What’s in a Name

Over the years, I’ve found that there’s more to a name, than some simple letters, put together. We’ve always put a lot of thought into, naming our horses. Well, not just the horses, every animal that comes to live with us. The perfect name must fit the animal. Funnily enough, sometimes, the horse lives up to its name. This isn’t such a big deal, if the name is one, worthy of living up to. A name like, I don’t know, Daisy, Lovey, Buttercup. These are names that evoke sweetness. Name the horse something like, Twister or Nipper and well, you just may get a Twister or Nipper. A flashy name is impressive. Yet it seems that all too often, the animal is then predestined, to live up to it. This is what happened to me, when I named a horse, after a writer I admired.
I used to read a column, by a writer with sharp wit and arrogant sense, of being right. There’s little more dangerous or interesting than, a writer in the right. I found his columns entertaining and thought evoking. I also got the impression that the man was, well, a bit of a snob. Not only a bit of a snob, but arrogant as well. What did I go and do? I named a new Morgan colt, Mordecai, after this writer.
Mordecai was beautiful as a foal, even more so, as he grew. Of course, he went through the gangly, youth stages, but man oh man, he was a gorgeous horse. As he matured, he had that elegant ‘look at me’ attitude. He was as perfect as a statue. Glistening, red bay, long neck and head carriage to die for. He was simply an outstanding horse in every way, but one. He was a jerk. Honestly, a complete and total jerk. Though worked with from a foal, a precocious, naughty, into everything foal, he had way too much attitude. He was, in a word, or few of them, extremely difficult to handle. The darn horse had way too much, testosterone. In my years of handling stallions, even hot, Thoroughbred ones, I’d never met one like him.
Everything in him said, geld. Yet he was so beautiful, so perfect, I struggled with the decision. If I could get one foal from him, maybe two, I’d geld him afterwards. I mean, that’s a perfectly logical decision, right? So, I kept him intact and made plans for the near future. I would match Mordecai up with a couple of high quality mares, get a couple of foals then geld him.
I don’t like to raise my colts, secluded and on their own. It’s far better for them, to receive social skills and camaraderie from other colts or mature geldings. To that end, I housed him with a sweet, big gelding, he’d grown up with. Everything went great. They were comfortable with each other, and the gelding didn’t take any guff from his pasture mate. Until that one evening, that is.
It was a Saturday. A perfect Saturday, where we’d planned on doing all sorts of wonderful things, with the kids. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Hubby and his friend had gone to the Brandon Winter Fair. The friend’s wife came over with their two kids, and we had a decadent kid’s day planned. We watched kid’s movies, played, were planning on all kinds of junk food naughtiness and fully expected, a great day. As it turned out, we did have a great day full of fun. Before we started watching movies, I still had to go out and get chores done. With chores behind me, we could all enjoy the rest of the day together. Leaving all the kids in the house with the friend’s wife watching them, away I went.
Everything began pretty well normally. I fed those that didn’t have a round bale in their pen, checked waters, then headed to the back pen to feed Mordecai and his buddy. The only problem was the buddy, suddenly wasn’t a buddy any more. Maybe it was because, I was carrying their feed. Or maybe it was because, something in Mordecai changed. That switch had flipped and he became extremely aggressive, towards the other horse. Mordecai put the chase on the other horse. He was biting him, kicking, striking and it wasn’t good. I had to stop the nonsense and I had to do so, right away. The last thing I needed was a vet bill.
Thank goodness, they both had halters on, as this left me with options. There was no way, I was going to get either stopped long enough, to put a halter on. I ran to them, yelling at Mordecai in the hope of distracting him, with no success. The gelding though, saw me as his savior. He came galloping straight to me. It was almost possible to hear him beg, “Help! Help me! Get me out of here!”
The pen had two gates, one large enough to fit a tractor through. The nearest was, a people gate. Plenty big enough, to get a horse, out through. It was also the nearest and the one, I went to. There I was, the gelding willing me to take hold of his halter and get him out of there. Unfortunately, the second I did, Mordecai took that as permission, to really beat up the gelding. He was all, “good, hold him for me. He keeps running away.’

I was in a bit of a pickle. I had to get the gelding out, while keeping Mordecai in. I hadn’t stopped to grab a lead rope, which was mistake number one. My second mistake was, deciding that if was to bop, Mordecai on the end of his nose, he’d be stunned long enough, for me to get the gelding safely out. I wasn’t even worried about hanging onto the gelding. Super sweet and a people horse, I could easily catch him again. There I stood, holding the gelding by his halter at the gate. There was Mordecai, attacking with all the viciousness of a deranged raptor, and sounded like one, too. His head came over the gelding’s back. I wound up and punched him on the end of his nose. Well, at least that’s where I aimed for. I bet, it would’ve worked perfectly, too. Unfortunately for me, at the last second, just before my fist would’ve connected with his soft nose, he turned his head. Instead of hitting where I’d aimed, my hand met hard, cheek bone. The second it happened, I experienced the biggest regret. I hadn’t slowed down the attack at all, and now had a broken hand. Well darn. I don’t know if it was adrenalin or anger, but right then, I did what stopped the attack. I yelled at Mordecai. I yelled at him, with all the strength I had and it worked. Off he went, galloping to the far end of the pen. Within seconds, I had the gelding out and it was over.
Surprisingly, I had to do a bit of doctoring to the gelding, but not nearly as much as there could’ve been. I finished doing chores, took my sorry self, chock full of regret, back to the house. We had a kid’s day planned. I wasn’t about to allow a broken hand, to get in the way of that.

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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