Sunday, June 29, 2008


Okay, I admit it: I love fussing over my horse.

I will happily spend hours grooming. I will lovingly curry all over, brush the dust off, curry again, brush again. I will go over the whole body with a slightly damp washcloth. I will cheerfully clip the bridle path, muzzle, and fetlocks. I love pulling manes (though we leave McKinna's long), and I will wash, braid, and bag tails all day long. I will detangle the mane and braid it if it's long. I will get a washcloth and clean eyes, nostrils, whatever.

I have a book called Grooming To Win that I love. It details every aspect of seriously intense grooming as well as all kinds of braiding and such.

Some of it I've learned to love out of necessity, because McKinna's coat is white. It quickly turns yellow if you don't keep up. Hence, her tail is always braided into a three-tube tail bag. If not, it turns yellow and stays yellow. You'll notice in pictures that her tail is often wavy -- that's why. I probably give more baths to her over the winter Equestrian Team season than Bailey got in his whole three years with me.

But some of it is just fun. I've been trying to tame Chaucer's mane, which involves washing it or getting it wet, brushing it all over to one side, and braiding it down. A few days later when the braids are looking messy, I take them out, brush it out, pull the mane from beneath, then repeat the whole thing. His mane is rather unruly and likes to grow on both sides of his neck, so this is a fun challenge.

The reward is in the beautiful long thick tail, the healthy coat, and the very white horse when we go to shows. The downside is trying to wash an impatient horse's legs and tail in the middle of winter because we're not going to a show with a brown and yellow tail.

I love horses.

On another note, my books arrived on Friday! I've been devouring them, and I've certainly learned some things. While I know that neither I nor my horse has the potential to school piaffe and passage on the long reins, I think it's fairly realistic to expect that I can teach her shoulder-in from the ground using long reining, which I think will be a really fun challenge.

Tonight when I go out to the barn, we're going to start with the first steps, which is just basic navigation using the longe caveson and surcingle and two long reins. I'm quite excited!


mugwump said...

I wish you lived near me, I'd let you groom all day long.
What books did you get?

manymisadventures said...

I would happily groom your horses! It's one of my favorite things to do. Partly, I think, because over the years it was one of the few aspects of care that Bailey learned to like -- he never much cared for brushing, but if you were currying that itchy long hair off of his neck, he would just stand there making obscenely happy faces. It's like your massage on Sonita . . . just a quiet time where nobody's asking anything of each other except to stand still and enjoy it.

I got two books on schooling horses in hand/long reining. I linked them in a post a few days ago. I've always been really interested in this just in an intellectual sense; the idea of schooling things like shoulder-in or half-pass from the ground, without the seat or legs for aids, really makes me curious.
Just another step to becoming a well-rounded horseperson with a well-rounded horse ;)

mugwump said...

Good thinking...It's why I still play with lower level dressage, it keeps me thinking!

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