After much pondering and consideration to the future weather forecast, available "free" time, and future ride plans, I made the decision to bathe Gus on Sunday and then clip him on Monday (the day of the monsoon!!!) because those were the last of the really warm days before fall (and an inkling of winter) decided to set in.
So on Sunday- out came the shampoo and scrub brush! I'm not going to bore you quite yet with tips and tricks to get your horse so squeaky clean that you can pass a HA Formal Inspection at a Pony Club Rally (or rating for that matter!) That'll be for another post on another day! (Just for those that might not know- H.A. is the highest level of Horse Management in the Pony Club Rating system- check out ponyclub.org)
|Just some of the "tools" needed to be "HA" clean!!!|
Now it was Monday- clipping time!!! I opted to give Gus a little Ace to keep him from being bothered by the tickling from the vibrations of the clippers. I wasn't worried about Gus not letting me clip him, but I know he is very sensitive and I have to use the softest curry combs and brushes because he's so ticklish. I waited about 20 minutes after giving Gus some Ace and into the cross ties he went!
Clipping a horse is kinda of like walking in the snow. Taking that first row of hair off with the clippers is like the first step into a completely unmarked area of snow. You can't help but look at it and think- I hope I don't mess this up!!! But at the same time I love it! Just like hearing the snow crunch under your boots and seeing your footprints follow behind you, there is something satisfying and thrilling watching the blades cut little paths into the coat. There is something exciting about transforming a shaggy pony into a work of art! I guess it's the same feeling that artist get when they start a new project? Taking a canvas and seeing it transform beneath the paint? When you reach the end you hope it's something that you can be proud of!
Ok so remember in the last post where I was talking about Quarter marks? After some Google searching I came up with a fun little design that I was going to attempt to put on Gus's butt. Typing in "Augustus" (because that is his show name) I found a lot of marble faces staring back at me. Along with these stone faces were random pictures of faces on coins. So I thought, all coins have a tails side so maybe there will be an easy design on the back of an "Augustus coin"? Sure enough, there was!
So here's a little history lesson- Caesar Augustus is considered the first Roman Emporer. He was Julius Caesar's nephew/adopted son. Approximately four months after Julius Caesar was assassinated, a comet appeared in the sky. (Can't you hear it now? Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears...oh a comet!) Augustus declared that this was Julius Caesar ascending into the heavens. Apparently this comet was so bright that it could be seen during the day and was visible for 7 days. The comet became a symbol for Augustus and was printed on the back of these Augustus Coins. So there is your history lesson for the day! Thanks to Wikipedia's Caesar's Comet and other websites that I will not link to because they tended to be discussions about the religious context of the star and since this blog is not about religion, I've opted for you to search for yourself if you are interested. (Google image search "Augustus Coin" and click on any coin that looks like/similar the one above and it'll probably take you to the right page)
|The "Practice" Side- eventually was shaved off|
Well I am NOT that skilled with a fast moving blade to write out words or create the tail of the comet, so I opted for a little artistic rendition for Gus pony's quarter mark. Taking masking tape and a bottle with a round bottom, I traced the bottom of the bottle onto Gus's bum and then used the masking tape to make the rays of the comet. Originally I was trying to cut around the masking tape with small clippers, but that ended quickly because the blades were to close together and was cutting the hair sooo close to the skin that I was going to have a bald pony if I wasn't careful! Since I hadn't clipped the other side of his bum yet, I took masking tape and made a quick small version of the comet. Then taking the big clippers I buzzed over the masking tape and cut the exposed hairs. It ended up looking decent enough so I thought, might as well try it on the other side! Anything would look better than a bald booty!!!
As for the rest of Gus's body, I ended up doing a trace clip combo with a hunter clip. I shaved off all the hair on his body, but left the legs and a saddle pad (like the hunter clip) and only clipped off the hair from the bottom side of his neck (like the trace clip). The reasoning behind my motives is simple. Gus has plenty of blankets to keep his back warm this winter, but this doesn't help his neck out (even though all his blankets/sheets are high neck) So by leaving some hair on his neck he can stay warmer while he's hanging outside in his pasture pigging out on the dying grass and eventually hay (when the grass finally sleeps for winter). The underside has been clipped to keep him cooler when riding because that is where he (and all horses) sweat the most on their necks, henceforth why you clip that part of the neck!
Now it's time for the drum roll..... The end results of Gus's new haircut!!! After hours of scratching and itching from the hair finding it's way into my shirt, and straining my eyes to make sure I wasn't leaving clipper lines, I present to you, Prairie Augustus, ready for winter riding!!!!!
|The Right Side|
|The Left Side (note Comet on hind end)|
|Closer view of Gus's Quarter Mark!|
And on that note I leave you with a joke-
What is the difference between a good clip job and a bad one?
2 weeks!!! Grow hair grow!!!