I hit the barn after work, and of course, since I’d worn tights and boots, it was hot and I really just didn’t feel like riding, adequately hydrated or not. This worked out fine anyway, as I’d picked up the old braiding kit and the clippers at my parents, and Lucky needed some work. His bridle path was a mess, as in an actual knot, and I was also curious to see how he handled the clippers. I assume that he’s been clipped in the past, at least had his bridle path done. I also wanted to pull his mane–not short enough to braid, but at least I’d get some weight off his neck with the weather as hot as it’s been.
I confess, I’ve never done either of these things myself. I don’t braid, either (as I mentioned to the BO today it took me until my twenties to be able to braid my own hair and anything involving yarn or thread is best left to other people or it comes out looking like a Boy Scout knot-tying merit badge project gone seriously awry.) My trainer, generally, pulled Benny’s mane, and as for clipping, after the incident at my parents’ barn one summer where an attempt to clip his ears (which had always been a pretty easy prior to that, except the last time our old trainer had nicked his ear) lead to finding out how panic snaps work and a farm call by Dr. Pol to sew his forelock down where he’d bashed his head on the rafter, that involved the vet and tranquilizers. Lucky is laid-back as a general rule, so I didn’t expect drugs would be required (for him, anyway) but I still wasn’t going to experiment with the ears. I figured, start with something hard to screw up and then get his mane thinned down.
Lucky, more or less, was a champ as usual. I am glad I have no reason to try doing his ears, thought, as even brushing them accidentally with my hand or the clippers’ cord lead to head-tossing (I ended up putting a chain over his nose again.) He’s not been a fan of even putting roll-on repellent on, so I suppose it’s not surprising. But once I got going, he suffered the indignity of a buzz cut with good grace. I did a longer clip than I suppose is strictly fashionable for show hunters, but then he’s not going to a show any time soon. I was tempted to roach the whole thing off, but then he would just look funny. I did a bit of testing with the clippers around his fetlocks and his muzzle, and it seems as though so long as we avoid the ears, it’ll be fine.
Pulling took a while, and I can see where it would be very easy to get carried away. Also, horse hair could make an excellent substitute for piano wire if necessary. His mane is now much thinner, and it all more or less hangs on the right. I don’t actually care if he has a split mane, but the overwhelming majority has been flopping on the right now, so best it’s uniform.
I gave him a Vetrolin bath when we were done, mostly to help with the cooling, and also because some of the ingredients are supposed to help with flaking skin and he looks like the before shot of a Head n’ Shoulders commercial along his neck. This time, I walked him and let him graze on the lead while he dried, instead of letting him out to roll right away. We’ll be having some visitors tomorrow morning, and since one is a little girl who is very excited about meeting a real live horse, it would be nice if he could be a nice, clean, shiny real live horse. (Yes, I’ll be getting there before they do and grooming.)