I had an epiphany this week about horse beauty.
I started off in hunter/jumper land before converting to Eventerism so appearances were paramount. The horses had to be braided with about forty thousand perfect identical braids and nary a whisker or hair could be out of place.
|Shiny and beautiful O.O|
I was okay with it, because I really, really, really
love grooming. I could (and do) spend hours grooming Runkle. There's something really soothing about the sound of the curry, and I know I'm not supposed to brush tails but I love brushing his tail. He's like a real life My Little Pony and his tail hair is so soft you can run your fingers through it.
However, I've noticed very slowly that my grooming methods and standards have changed.
|Are those... whiskers?|
I still love braiding, but I'm going to have to rethink it. I braided Runkle for our combined test at Flora Lea but the braids fell apart pretty good before we got to the dressage arena. You know what's apparently paramount for braiding? Your freakin' right pinky. It was so hard to keep the braid tight because I kept losing a third of the braid since my finger couldn't grip it.
Somewhere around last April my philosophy on clipping totally changed. Actually it may have changed as soon as I brought Runkle home. His ear fluffs are so cute I want to die. I could never cut them, it would break my heart.
|Exhibit F. For Fluff.|
But in April I saw Michael Jung jog his horses up with full whiskers. Usually I like my horses clean shaven but you know what? I wouldn't cut my cat's whiskers off. They have them for a reason. And the longer I let them grow the cuter they looked. So he gets to keep those now as well.
|They're way longer than this now.|
The real holdout though was bigger, and it crumbled this week: mane pulling. I like a short mohawk mane. Last winter I roached Runkle's mane, which I really loved. This year I decided not to because I wasn't body clipping him (I just took off the mane with his neck hair). So the other night I was engaging in our monthly
mane pulling session and Runkle was vigorously shaking his head, standing all the way at the edge of the cross ties and bumping into the wall while flailing around and I was like "... why am I doing this?"
|Tools of the trade.|
I was always told pulling their mane didn't hurt. But this horse let's me clip him with no issues and crawl around under his legs painting stuff on his splints and ground ties while I set up a course of fifteen trot poles. I have a hard time believing that the mane pulling was purely misbehavior on his part. I also have a hard time believing that pulling mane out
at the root doesn't hurt either.
So I decided, no more mane pulling.
|Me pulling Lexy's mane|
I do have a solocomb, and I do like the results I get with it. Sometimes it makes the mane too thick but I think I can work around that. But I don't need to torture him by ripping his hair out.
I'm starting to think this horse will convince me to do anything. I'll let you know when he convinces me to try Parelli, because that'll really be the day.
His ear fluffs are pretty damn adorable.ReplyDelete
as soon as I bought him I was like right, so, I don't clip ears anymore.Delete
Lolz I'm with ya on the grooming for hours and hours thing. Something so satisfying about it! But also yea I'm not too picky about stray hairs and would probably just stick to trimming Charlie's mane with scissors if he didn't have so much damn hair. Honestly I don't much buy the "horse whiskers are like cat whiskers" thing (my not scientific reasoning being horse hair doesn't seem to be as deeply embedded in muscle and tissue, but idk haha) but whiskers don't bother me much anyway.ReplyDelete
hm thats true about the whiskers. I think they're cute now. and if fischerrocana can rock them... so can runkle :PDelete
I just LOVE BRUSHING PONIES. It is the greatest thing! I still definitely hold onto my H/J turnout roots, and figure that mane pulling must be a lot like eyebrow plucking - some people can tolerate it, some can't. Dino doesn't seem to care, so I pull his mane. If i had a horse with more of an opinion on the subject, maybe my tune would change. I let him get pretty hairy and feral during the winter, but come summer he is clipped up and trimmed and pulled and LOOKS BEAUTIFUL ALL THE TIME. If I have to go to a lesson with an over-grown bridle path or his tail not brushed to perfection or wild ear fluffs sticking out, I die a little inside.ReplyDelete
yeah theres something so satisfying to me about a shiny groomed pony. and runkle has really learned to enjoy it which m akes it even better.Delete
the bridle path makes me nutso!!
Mine is a well curried feral beast. I trim his tail when it starts dragging on the ground and I've trimmed his mane about once a year. I've even stopped with a bridle path because bonnets...ReplyDelete
LOL because bonnets. they have made me a little lazier...Delete
The ladies that lease 2 of my horses spend so much time grooming, bathing, and trimming various hair bits that I'm almost shamed into cleaning up Chimi :) But alas I let him be a feral beast and only clean him up before shows and fancy public outings- but even then I leave his wiskers bc they are so cute!!!!ReplyDelete
I'm still in hunter land so I must clip all the things when it's show season. But for winter pretty much everything is long and fluffy. I don't usually pull manes on horses that aren't getting braided. I've always just shortened jumper manes. Even if you braid them, the jumper braids are fat, so it's ok if the mane is thick.ReplyDelete
Extended periods of time spend grooming are therapy for me. There's something about hands on quiet time with my pony that soothes the soul! I didn't start out in hunters, so my braiding motto has always been as few as possible. My record is 9 down the neck plus the forelock braid. This is the first winter that I've let Justin grow all the hairs out and I've got to say ear fluffs are pretty darn cute :)ReplyDelete
I don't trim whiskers - they definitely use them and in fact the practice is illegal in Germany. I also don't trim the insides of ears (bugs) nor do I clip legs particularly close. And now that I have a sneaky method of braiding long manes into dressage knots, I'm never pulling a mane again if I can help it. I've seen too many exceptionally well-behaved horses lose their minds when their manes get pulled, so I'm pretty sure it does indeed hurt them.ReplyDelete
Basically, I'm lazy AF and my horses look like fluffly slobs. :D
I read this article ages ago that said that apparently mane pulling does hurt most horses (it was "scientific" but I can't find it anywhere now). I have a really sensitive scalp, so after reading that I knew I could never pull a mane again. I also love earfloofs and whiskers! My horses look like hobos a bit but I can live with that haha!ReplyDelete
I am with you - fluffy ears, long whiskers, and no mane pulling. I wouldn't stand for mane pulling myself and I echo jenj about the ears / bugs :)ReplyDelete
the headshaking would get REALLY old. plus theyre kyoootDelete