First clip job
I used a pair of Wahl Show Pro Equine Horse Clippers for the job, which cut the hair at the skin. I did this in the spring when he was overheating during our trail rides, but since I intend to do a lot of trail riding during the weekends and arena riding on the weeknights (having blanketing as part of my board doesn't hurt either) I have been playing with the idea of clipping him again.
I got pretty excited last week when The Grey Tail announced on their FB page that they had two pair of Oster Clipmaster clippers they had just gotten in for sale. I talked to J about getting them early for my holiday/christmas gift and when I got the okay, I headed over. I have a couple of things on consignment with The Grey Tail and was able to put some of the money I had made from selling things toward the purchase price.
I brought home a set of these clippers for under $125.
Last night after running to Costco, I headed to the barn with the groceries still in my trunk (it was under 30 outside). I loaded some hay into Ashke's hay bag and then pulled him out to clip him. He was not as happy about the sound associated with the clippers, but he did okay until I was messing with his girth and belly. The boy was not happy about the idea that I was in the vicinity of his sheath with something oscillating at 3000 rpms per minute. The skin over his flank was jumping so bad that the clippers were bouncing in his hair, leaving some very unwelcome grooves and divots.
And he was shaking all over like a leaf in the wind.
He stood for me, even though he was obviously scared, and I fed him cookies everytime I stopped to oil the clippers. By the time I was trying to even my lines and smooth out the clip on his belly, he was kicking at the clippers. I could feel the anxiety rising in him with each pass of the blade. I really was ready to be done, but didn't want to leave him ratty and ugly right before our clinic this weekend.
Finally, he had had enough. He was done with warnings. He exploded into a rearing fit in the crossties, going up the first time in protest and then twice again in fear of what I might do to him. At least that is how I read it. At the first rear, I calmly walked over and put the clippers away, thinking of the blog Kate had posted about her mare on The Year of Horses. Her mare Dawn had been trying to tell her something and she wasn't listening until Dawn upped her communication. Our situation was a little different however, since I knew Ashke was telling me he was done and I knew I was pushing the envelope. I used soothing tones and waited for him to settle. He was wide eyed and snorting, threatening to lift his feet off the ground again, when I settled my hand on his nose. I really think he expected to get whacked. I calmed him and gave him a cookie and apologized for pushing him beyond his comfort zone. Next time I'll try to time clipping him during the day when it's warmer and the wind isn't blowing at 40 mph.
I hooked up the lead rope, unhooked the crossties and took him to the indoor to run around like a wild pony. He mostly trotted and spooked at all of the things. For a moment it looked like he was short striding on his right hind (which I didn't notice on Sunday when we rode) but then he did this sort of duck-walk-poop-thing and was fine afterward. I tried to get him to canter a bit in both directions, but the plethora of things to spook at was just too much and he mostly trotted. He had a really floaty, elevated trot for several strides, then jerked to a halt, reared, spun and bucked away.
I just laughed and let him get his willies out.
I tried to play with him for a bit, like T did in the round pen, but running around chasing your horse in arena sand is not for the old. I finally headed toward the gate and he followed me for a good face scritch. When I lead him back to the crossties, he stood quietly while I used the Wahl clippers to trim his bridlepath and I did not roach his mane, even though it was a near thing. He's been tearing chunks out when he gets mud in it and then rubs on the fence. All for J. If it was my choice the boy would be roached all the time.
I will check him on Friday night to see how his body looks. I figure I can use the Wahl clippers to even up the lines and lightly address any major failings in the clipping department. I am pretty darn happy though at the nice pair of Clipmasters I scored. Happy Solstice to me!