Friday, June 13, 2014

Grooming

Saiph from Wait For The Jump asked several months ago what I use to keep Ashke looking soooo white. That question actually made me laugh outloud, because on most days he has several "pee or poo" spots from laying in his bedding at night. This is especially true during the winter.

So, to answer her question, I mostly just groom.

It is the activity that began my relationship with Ashke. I went out every night and pulled him from his stall and groomed him. He was so dirty. It took three or four baths before the encrusted crap that was permanently bonded to all of his hair came out. He was so dirty that it hurt him to use anything other than the softest curry and softest brush I could find. I went really slow. Once he had shed out the horrible hair he was covered in when I first brought him home, the grooming was much easier.

Now, two years later, his coat and hair look really good. His body color is mostly white with chestnut sprinkles. He still has his skull and crossbones on his hind left hock. I spend a great deal of time (most days) brushing and rubbing him before riding. He loves it still. He leans into the brush and lets me know when something is especially itchy. He loves it when I rub the long muscles in his butt. And along his neck and back. I go slow and pay attention, making it a moment of love and benediction, as much as a method of getting the crud off of him.

He gets rinsed after any ride that leaves him sweaty. He gets shampooed every couple of weeks or so, more frequently in the spring because of the mud and accummulated filth from the winter. I use the Vetrolin Brite White shampoo and it seems to work pretty well. I am also using a Eqyss Megatek Conditioner that seems to help thicken and soften his mane and tail. His mane is growing out much thicker and healthier than it has been since I got him, and at J's request, I am letting it.

This spring was his second "normal" shed and I haven't been as happy with his sleekness as I had hoped. After talking with Saiph and doing some research, I have added some Triple Crown Omega Max to his diet, hoping to speed his shed and improve the overall condition of his coat. So far, it seems to be working. We added it to Cali's diet as well, since she is itching the crest of her mane bad enough to leave a bald spot and the MTG seemed to be making it worse. He is dropping hair pretty good and beginning to slick up, which will leave him an almost gunmetal gray up close and when he gets sweaty.

So, there you go. I use lots of grooming and hand petting, great diet with supplements, and infrequent baths. It doesn't hurt that the majority of him is white enough that the camera "doesn't see" the greenish spots on his coat. He will be bathed on Saturday, after the clinic, and I'll be sure to take some pictures then.


8 comments:

  1. I get the same question... "How do you get her so white?" And the answer is almost the same... I groom her, thoroughly everyday. That kind of grooming gives me a great base when it's show time and she gets bathed. I don't bath and rarely hose off between shows because her skin is sensitive. Its amazing how most folks think its a trick and lose interest when I tell them about the grooming... ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Grooming is such a great way to connect to your horse, because it's the one thing we can do that is strictly for them. (And for my great looking forearm muscles - the new "wax on, wax off") Everything else we do, is really for us. Grooming Ashke is such a wonderful moment in our interaction where I strictly listen to him, allow him to lead, and try to make him feel as wonderful as I can.

      Delete
  2. I laughed when I saw this post! It's good to know that good old-fashioned grooming done well can get such awesome results on a white horse. I do pretty much exactly the same thing with Lily, down to the frequency and type of baths. She looks like a wet seal in her summer coat. :) A friend advised rubbing the coat down with a towel after brushing and it REALLY seems to help remove that very last layer of dust and spread the oil of their coat.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will get a soft towel and add it to my repertoire. I love it when he gets slick enough he begins to look gunmetal grey.

      Delete
  3. Gray/white horses are super hard to get shiny but Ashke totally reflects the time you've spent on his coat.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Every couple of weeks or so is infrequent baths???? Why did I get a gray horse? I normally give a full bath once or twice a year! I hose off when they get sweaty, but I don't use shampoo then. I guess I'm going to have to build a wash stall and get better at bathing him more frequently lol. The grooming is good news though because I love grooming him and he loves it too. His favorite spot is the underside of his neck. :D Thanks for sharing!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh and Saiph's tip about the towel works great!! When Chrome was dark bay after I groomed him the light colored dust would sit on the tips of his hair. I would get a washcloth, dampen it slightly and run it lightly all over his coat (especially in the winter since the long hair attracts dust but you can't get them wet). It got rid of the dusty streaks and made him look great which is super important when I take a billion pictures of him LOL!

      Delete