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Tough self-defence course

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Raskas itsepulustuskurssi ( by Pentti Torppa, free & shorten translation

Photo from Winter war 1942 / Wikimedia commons

One can only imagine the Sufferings that Iivari went through in the front line battles, in those endless freezing winters, skinny and tired, most of the time outside, tied to a tree or a pole.

Iivari was a gelding from our close neighbour, my father’s childhood home. He was taken to war, and so he left… First to Joensuu, then to the front up until Syväri line. He stayed for years and saw the war. He had always been humble and good servant. That’s why he was often memorized by his owners and even their neighbours. As his groom “out there somewhere” got to know the owner’s name and address, he sent them a postcard to tell about Iivari’s condition. A package of oats and bread was sent back immediately, it got there just in time for Christmas. Iivari was strong and coped.

Finally it was time to bring Iivari back. The horses were tied to one line and walked for sixty kilometers. Over five kilometers away from home stable Iivari got restless and his eyes began to water. The soldiers saw it best to let him free, and so he limped pass the others and headed home. His steps were low, he did not trot neither did he walk, but he was in a hurry. His muzzle was near the ground, his mouth foamed and for the whole journey he made strange noise. Those who heard it, told that it sounded just like laughter or crying. Finally the bony horse walked to straight to his home yard. He got a long recovery break to gain his strength, and still served for many years as the loyal servant for the house. Tough he did not manage without scars. He had become more alerted about his surroundings and surprising noises, and whenever a plane approached, he hid himself low below the nearest tree. He had had a tough self-defence course. We tended to ask him “How is our veteran doing?” as we walked by.

Pentti Torppa


One thought on “Tough self-defence course

  1. Pingback: Horses mobilized the army « National Treasure

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