Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Tails From the Farm

Expect the Unexpected

Life in the country is often full of surprises. Surprises like stepping out of the house one bright, early morning and being startled by a goose. Not a tame goose either, as we don’t keep fowl of any sort. The hubby has a rather adamant adversion to them, but that’s another story for another time. So, I step from the back door and startle a rather large, Canada goose. I’m not entirely sure who was more taken aback. The goose or me? It was probably me, though the goose appeared rather rattled as well. It walked off with that slow, stately and somewhat pigeon-toed yet comical strut they have. Honking at me, or possibly towards its mate watching the goings on from the lawn, it was a most comical sight. The nerve of the feathered critter. Scolding me for stepping out of my house.
The startled thumping of my heart slowly returned to normal as I headed for the back yard. There were horses loudly reminding me that they wanted feeding or out, whichever the case may be. There were morning chores to get done and geese or no geese, they couldn’t wait.
I was still chuckling to myself as I haltered Max in preparation to move him from his night lodgings to the day pasture. We chatted as we walked along, or I chatted and he listened with the occasional touch of his muzzle to my hand or arm. He’s friendly and interested like that. I like how he pays attention to his handler. He’s always aware and seems to enjoy human company. It certainly didn’t take him long to realize that humans didn’t have to mean pain or discomfort. Around here, humans mean all sorts of great attention like pats and scratches. Then there’s the whole other part of a kind human to anticipate, carrots!
Carrots are a wonderful enticement for a horse. Even if it takes a while (in the case of Levis the Draft horse, many years) once a horse has realized that a carrot is delicious, it’s a wonderful thing. So many horses completely change their way of thinking about humans, all because of carrots. The expectation of something good, replaces the concern that something bad will happen. Carrots changed Lucky Jim’s opinion of us and it’s certainly brought Max to a whole new realization. People are worth hanging with. Not only for the carrots, but all the kind attention as well.
Back to the geese. I walked by them to take Max from his pen to his pasture. Right past all the farm equipment and strange odds and ends we went without so much as a snort of derision. He’s far more interested in the human leading him.
That, and the fact that Max is proving himself very steady and sensible happened to be a very good thing indeed. We walked alongside a long, fabric building with miscellaneous items parked alongside. Reaching the end of the tall building, I heard a sound. It’s a sound I know well, yet not one I expected to hear from the top of said building. My gaze was drawn to the top of the arch over the door. To my great surprise, a goose perched there. Max and I only had a second or two of ‘stare in surprise’ time before it flew down. When I say flew down, I actually mean dropped with a few great flaps of big wings, accompanied by typical honks. That goose practically flew right over us. I could almost have reached up and touched it.
Did Max react? He did not. Not at all. Nothing, zip, zilch, nada. He was simply interested. Nothing more, nothing less. That darn horse has been impressing us on a daily basis. His reaction to the brazen goose only increased that tenfold. I lead him in through the gate where as usual, he was freed of his halter. Like what has become usual for him, he stayed for a bit of carrot and some scratches.
Max never stayed for his old owner. He evaded being caught and always took off the second he was set free. We want him to stay, to hang with us, to be curious. We get that from him and it’s wonderful. After a few minutes, Max turned and walked away. As it turned out, he hadn’t forgotten about the goose that had flown to its mate. With a big hop and happy squeal, he took after them. He chased them out of the pen then right across his pasture. It was hilarious to watch. I had to chuckle. There Max stood, as pleased as punch and proud as could be. As I left him to continue morning chores, I had a thought. It’s one that comes to mind often. Boy, his old owner blew it. Max is one great horse.

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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