Seriously. Look at that tail. It's insane and I love it. That's after a QUICK washing.
I've been having so much fun at the barn lately. Now that I've recovered from my crazy summer, I've found that it's really nice to go out to the barn to ride or take lessons or just hang out with McKinna.
Last night she got a nice trace clip. It's been really, oddly warm here lately, and she already had grown about as much winter coat as a normal horse does over an entire winter. I mean, if I left her alone, by December she'd be ready for winter in North Dakota or something. She's been sweating quite a bit when worked hard lately, she had some dried sweatmarks on her shoulders today (I'm guessing from taking a little gallop around the pasture), and we're going XC schooling at Inavale on Saturday when it' supposed to be almost 80 (!!!), so it was time for a clip.
I ordered one of those nifty T-80 bodyclipping blades to use, but it's not here yet, so I just used our regular clippers. I read on the COTH forums that it makes clipping really easy if you wash your horse, put some glugs of baby oil in a bucket of warm water, sponge your horse off with that, scrape, then let dry and clip. I tried it, except we used that concentrated pink Healthy Haircare stuff that the Arab people use (love it as a conditioning spray, esp on sweat marks or tails).
It worked REALLY well. The fur came off soooo easily. Of course, we're also clipping earlier this year and I have my super-awesome Andis Star clippers. But the clipped fur underneath was so soft, not all dry and flaky!
Hello little speckles, I've missed you :)
This weekend I will probably expand the clip to a hunter clip - just leave the legs, a small saddle patch, and I'm not sure yet about the face hair. Do you usually clip the face? Half the face? I want to take a lot off early while it's still pretty warm. The idea is to clip while it's still early so she grows some coat back by winter....then I will probably do another trace clip. Sigh. She does go out every day, so even though she gets blanketed she needs to have some protection. That's why I'm leaving the hair on her legs.
In other news, I ordered some goodies from SmartPak!
First, I finally gave in and ordered myself a Nathe:
Nathes and Herm Sprenger Duos are basically the only bits like this on the market. They are SOFT rubber, not hard plastic like a Happy Mouth or Korsteel Flexi. (McKinna is in a HM right now and quite likes it.) They're also thin, with a little curve for the tongue; if your horse likes thick bits, you could always get one of those super thick black rubber ones. Luckily, the black rubber type is cheap.
Nathes will run you about $60 from SmartPak or Bit of Britain, but they are extremely soft, gentle bits. As I mentioned before, I'm curious to see if this step along the progression (metal-- Happy Mouth -- Nathe) encourages her to take even more contact and connection, since switching from metal to Happy Mouth did so.
The other thing is that from what I've read about them they are excellent bits to have around for young horses, restarting OTTBs, or anything that's sensitive.
I also ordered a pair of Super Comfort Stirrup Pads:
Devin has these on her jumping saddle and I really like them. Super grippy = good for XC! I've also heard that they are very comfortable because of the slightly wider surface.
I've got a dressage lesson today, a jumping lesson on Thursday, and then Devin's trying to put together a group to go schooling at Inavale on Saturday before they close for the year. I know I keep saying I'm winding down, but stuff keeps coming up! I am actually really excited for this. McKinna has been kicking so much ass on cross-country and I haven't had a chance to school above our level since the camp in May. If it goes the way I think it will, I'm pretty sure McKinna and I will get to school a lot of Training questions - I can't WAIT to try that Training-level trakehner!
I'm teaching a couple lessons on Wednesday night to boarders at our barn, so that should be fun. They are going to an open show at the Oregon Horse Center next month and they're getting ready! Then the chiropractor is coming out to do McKinna on Friday. I don't think she's got anything major wrong, but she's been working hard and lately she has been kinda twitchy and grumpy about her wither area, and she also really appears to hate having the top of her crest rubbed (like when we give her a bath).
What else? Pony Club is kind of kicking into gear in terms of mounted lessons right now, which is great. Devin's going to come teach a lesson in October and we've also got Robin, who is a local instructor and friend of ours. She's a schoolteacher - no wonder she's so great with the kids! I'm also working on scheduling a couple clinics in November/December with some Pony Club examiners.
Classes started for me yesterday. It will be an interesting term. I think my favorite classes are going to be Physics, which has an engaging and very organized professor, and the Kidd Tutorial, which is this big long intense creative writing course. My other two classes are Ecology and Evolution. On the plus side, the Evolution professor is into horses, so we might be able to connect there. On the minus side, I'm not too sure about the organization level and lecture-interest level for those two classes, so we'll see.
It should be a manageable term as long as I don't let the work and reading get ahead of me. And as long as I don't spend every lecture daydreaming about what I'm going to work on in my next ride!