Clipping is a job that can be either a welcome and satisfying break from the daily grind or a soul-searching, body-pounding ordeal, and the one thing that makes the difference is having a good pair of clippers.
The first few times I clipped Arwen I used a very old, very noisy, very blunt set of clippers that ended up taking two and a half hours for a basic body clip and ran so hot that I had to pause frequently or burn my poor horse. After the last time, I vowed never again. So this year I used a sharp, well maintained pair and it halved the amount of time taken.
Arwen, I’m afraid, was a dork. She’s always a bit daft, leaving me no choice but to leave the head and legs unclipped, but this time she danced around so much that I ended up leaving a few unattractive tufts on her belly and neck. It looks like it will grow out fine, though. I took the opportunity to tidy up the root of her tail as well – I was pulling it, but soon discovered that pulling a thick native tail is not a job for sissies and it was so much simpler to lop it off with the clippers.
Silly as my little mare looks with her hairy head and great woolly stockings, I’m very glad of having her clipped now. It’s just so much more convenient especially as I’m stepping up her workload to at least five, preferably six days a week. I try to do dressage, jumping and lungeing once a week each. One day a week is devoted to fitness training – taking her out on the farm to do some hills, having a good long gallop, and running up some lovely steep banks (heavy exercise). The other day or two are for practicing whatever she struggled most with during the week.
I’m hoping to do our first event towards the end of winter or in spring, depending on the availability of training shows. She’ll need a cross-country schooling day before then, though.
The other horses are chugging along well; Magic and Skye have been rather quiet. Magic had a lot of time off with me spending Easter weekend with my Beloved and showing Jerseys at the National Jerseyweek straight thereafter. He was fine coming back into work afterwards – his transitions are a major weak spot, though – until somebody bit him, taking off a bit of hair and leaving a painful swelling. The sore is right where his saddle sits, so he’s confined to lungeing until it toughens up.
Skye, I am very sad to report, has gone lame again. The vet suspects a splint and recommended rest and patience. She has had four weeks off now and the lameness in her right hindleg is noticeably better, but still there. In herself she seems completely happy and in no pain but of course riding is out of the question.
Although she is only thirteen I think her poor upbringing and bad leg conformation is already starting to limit her working ability. She is, however, not in any pain and doesn’t seem too bored with her forced rest, so I won’t complain and just keep praying that Jesus keeps her riding sound for me for just a few more years.
Baby Thunder is doing well – his rollbacks have improved phenomenally, but I’ll explore that in a later post.