|There was this almost proverbial moment.|
Basically, my evenings become long because I drive 40 min to the barn after work, tack up, ride, hose down horse. By this point evening feed has started and they're starting to turnout for the night, so I need to make sure Penn eats and gets all his stuff on for turnout. Oh yea, and put away all my stuff that probably got spread all over the place because that's apparently how I roll at the barn. And after all of this, I still need to drive 40 min home.
This includes letting him eat his 4lb of grain and then drying his legs so his boots can go on.
I try to do things while other things are happening- hose down horse, put in stall to eat dinner (at least he's finally not the slowest eater ever!), then put everything away while he's eating. Then I grab a towel and fan and rub Penn's legs down after he's done eating.
I'm sure this is something I should be doing anyway, but I don't. Ever since I started spraying Mikey down with generic versions of the original yellow Listerine, all that skin fungus/crud/nastiness that develops on legs/ears/under the jaw cleared up. It stays away as long as I am religious about my Listerine spray. Seriously, give it a try! It makes them sleek and shiny too. I'm going to be trying a new mix of the original yellow with one of the mint flavors as a fly spray (I originally started Listerine as a tick repellent), because I've found the yellow version is about as effective as most fly sprays if not more effective. (Not against the pterodactyls that fly around, but I don't know anything effective against those!)
I found a post on Chronical of the Horse by Lauren Sprieser. Some backstory here: I started casually searching for an upper level dressage trainer (Trainer knows and even told me to go find someone who knows the FEI stuff because Trainer won't be able to help me with that stuff) a few months ago. I forget how I found Lauren, but I ended up liking her program and website so I liked her page on Facebook and so I get all her updates. For the record, I've never met her but I'd really like to ride with her to see if she might be a match for Penn and I once we're looking at 3rd/4th and above. She rides Grand Prix herself, just won the Maestro Cup at Dressage at Lexington on a 78.9% (the class was NOT a freestyle class, it was the regular GP test). She has a group of students (ahem, 5 of them), who are working on the FEI levels. She seems to have a lot of experience bringing along her own horses to the FEI level as well as keeping students moving along. BO was asking for names of people we'd be interested in having in to clinic, so I put her on the list.
Anyway, I saw she wrote something new for COTH, so I read it. It's a neat little piece about grooming for shows (as well as product endorsement, but whatever- I want to know what people use!). She mentions that all of her horses' white markings are shaved year round.
I hate hairy legs. I can't stand feathers, unless it's full feathers because the horse is full Friesian/Shire/Clydesdale/Gypsy Vanner/breed-that-has-full-feathers. I've never shaved my own horse's legs. Mikey never had enough white to try it out, and I always left the legs hairy for winter even if the rest of the horse got clipped.
Since I'm towel drying Penn's legs every week night, he has a ton of white, and I'm not showing again for another month, I decided to give it a try and then some- I shaved the white and up to the knee/hock so there's even less hair to keep dry under the boots.
|Look who's shaved, sleek, and shiny now, sans bath!|
Penn was a total rock star about clipping. I approached it a little differently this time: Cords freak him out when they're dragged across the ground and they're associated with clippers. This time, I pulled out all the clipping supplies before I took him out of his stall. I borrowed the super long extension cord that lives with the leaf blower and got everything plugged in and made sure it hugged the wall. I got Penn out, hooked him into cross ties like normal and brushed down his legs. I opted to put the chain over his nose, just to be sure, and then unhooked him from the crossties and ground tied him instead. I stood to his left first (he's not good about them in front of him or on his right...), and turned them on. He was not sure about them, but I was easily able to shut down any efforts he made to leave. I rubbed the clippers on his neck and shoulder while they were running, then moved on to his legs and started clipping.
The worst thing he did was stomp his feet (I assume the clippers tickled), but squeezing his fetlock joint with my free hand took care of that. He wanted to hug the wall on his right when I was on his left, and vice versa, and I decided that it wasn't an inappropriate action because he's still standing and not leaving and it makes him feel better. When he has more experience I can insist he stand in the middle of the aisle.
Since things were going well, I tackled his overgrown bridle path, ears, and whiskers. He was worried but stood like a perfect gentleman.
I turned off the clippers and made a huge fuss over him, telling him he was a good boy and stuffed him with cookies. His expression change was hilarious. So while we're clipping, he's unsure and worried looking, and as soon as I told him "Good boy!!" and started patting him after I turned off the clippers, his expression did a complete 180: "Was I a good boy? I was? OMG YES I WAS A GOOD BOY!" And he all of a sudden looked all proud of himself. I loved that- and I wasn't the only one to see the expression change. That's the exact right feeling I want him to have when we're done clipping (or done doing anything). He had zero jumpyness after we were done, which has never happened before. He stood quietly as I shuffled things around to get him tacked up for a trail ride. I did not put away any clipping stuff while he was out though- I wanted the good feelings to continue and barely moving the cord worked well to start and I didn't want to mess it up.
|I manged to get him ready for turnout BEFORE they were done turning out! Wahoo!|
I'm not saying I did a perfect job- I didn't. I found some lines that need to be taken care of before they grow out. Whatever, my horse was very good for clipping!