Monday, October 6, 2008

Spa Day at the Stable

Though not as extensive as some of our bath days, Halo got a good grooming on Sunday. I have been wanting to try a trick for tail whitening that I learned from Amy of the Guns & White Roses blog. Apparently soaking in vinegar is the trick to a glowing white tail! It seemed like a good idea to me, and since it's non-toxic and bleach free, I figured it was better than trying endless rounds of products.

Before starting, I was cautioned to make sure to put a flymask on so that Halo couldn't swish the vinegar into her eyes. She was less than thrilled at first (head-tossing ensued) but once she realized there were treats to be had if she put her head down nicely for it, it was on in short order. However, I did have to laugh at her expense once it was on.

First I did the vinegar soak, and followed it with a round of rather nasty smelling purple whitening shampoo. Then she got a deep conditioning for several minutes, and this was the result:

When I got her tail clean I noticed that not only does she have a few random black hairs, she also has some chestnut ones. There aren't many, but they stand out much more with her tail nice and clean. It's not unusual for a palomino to have random colored hairs in the tail; I believe the PHBA allows horses to have up to 15% of the hair be a different color. Halo has so few you can barely see them unless you're right up close.

While waiting for her tail to dry, I also made the long-suffering filly tolerate being braided. After the completion, I realized that maybe this was beginning to get a little creepy; after all, I'm old enough now that I don't view my horse as a large My Little Pony.

I have to admit that I get a lot of satisfaction from grooming my horse, though. There's something nice about spending time with her just fussing over her, even if all the dirt winds up all over me instead.

As if I hadn't tortured her enough, I took advantage of the trailer being parked and open to see if she'd load up. None of my previous horses have been easy to load or haul, so I was completely shocked when she followed me in with absolutely not a twitch of her ear or roll of her eye. Here she is unloading herself the second time I loaded her (the first time I DID have a halter on her).

She may be a little silly and spazzy, but she does amaze me sometimes with her aplomb.


Leah Fry said...

I'm impressed. Send her up to train my two how to load themselves.

meg said...

Oh come on, I'm sure if I had a horse I'd spend too much time fussing over it, too. It's sorta like moms of little girls taking advantage of them sitting down to paint their nails and do fancy braids in their hair and whatnot.

Regarding trailering, it's pretty awesome that she's cool with it. Quick question friend's horse was great with it as a filly, but as soon as she was under saddle she got weird and resistant. I'm not sure if it was because she hadn't been trailered in a while, or if she developed some sudden fear, but it's not like she was an arabian or some weird skittish breed. Warmblood, hanoverian x I think. The size of the trailer might have been a factor as I have a sneaking suspicion that these cow people used their cow trailer for their horse, and maybe she's grown too big for it. Any clue?

smottical said...

In regard to the trailering issues with your friend's WB, I have a few thoughts. I have heard before on many occasions that a sure way to make a big horse trailer-sour is to put it in a small trailer, especially a 2-horse straight load. Horses are naturally claustrophobic animals, so being cooped up in a tiny box on wheels is a lot to ask.

Routine trailering is definitely a way to make sure a horse is quieter about it, and if the horse had a long break from being loaded/trailered, that could explain some of the behavior.

Any large horse, like a warmblood or a thoroughbred, should be trailered only in an extra-tall trailer (minimum of 7 feet clearance). A trailer used for quarter horses is NOT going to work for a WB.

On trailer sizing, here is an excerpt from a trailer safety website: "Horses over 15.3h should have 7 feet of stall length and 3 feet of head area - 10 feet overall. It used to be that a 7 foot tall trailer was extra tall, but nowadays 7'4" to 7'6" are common and should be considered for any horse over 15.3h."

If your friend is having major trailer trouble, try seeing if you can get Mugwump on Mugwump Chronicles (see links) to give some advice. She's apparently very good at trailer loading, and I like her no-nonsense methodology. I have plenty of thoughts on things you could do as well, but she's more qualified than I am. And both my previous horses were rotten loaders, so what do I know? ;)