Sunday, December 18, 2011

An Apology for Grooming

a•pol•o•gy | əˈpäləjē|
noun 
1 a regretful acknowledgment of an offense or failure
2 a very poor or inadequate example of
3 a reasoned argument or writing in justification of something, typically a theory

My barn buddies have dubbed me the Grooming Queen.

I usually fetch and start prepping my horse well before everyone else because it takes me that much longer to get ready to ride. I hold the opinion that grooming is one of the most important things we do for our horses for so many more reasons than merely making them pretty.

 What do you mean, I'm a mess? Is that bad?

 I didn't mean it, honest.

The goober he is.
Mmm, your hands smell like ... carrots and cookies!


The beautiful boy he is becoming.

Back in my newbie days, I was clueless as to the nature of horses, and I had no idea how to handle my inaptly chosen first horse. I was unprepared for how BIG they are and how fast they can move. Heather's sage advice: only do what you're comfortable doing. For awhile, grooming was the only thing I was comfortable doing, so I did it a lot. It helped my horse and me relax and get to know each other. It helped me learn how to move him and teach him basic commands such as stand, step, over and eventually lift. It helped me teach him manners and patience.

Grooming has also helped me to know my horses' bodies and accustom them to being touched all over. It's useful in winter to help find wounds, skin conditions, lumps and bumps, etc. that you can't see when they're all woolly. My first clue that something was wrong with Jaz (ultimately strongyles) was that he flinched when pressure was applied to a spot in the middle of his back where there was no wound, no mark, no bruise. That's also how I found the little sarcoid on his chest.

And finally, there is nothing like those huge sighs of relaxation and pleasure that you get for your efforts. As far as I'm concerned, grooming is good for the equine and the human soul.

13 comments:

GreyDrakkon said...

Completely agree with you, not only is grooming important for all those reasons, but it prevents sores from tack grinding dirt into their skin, and skin problems from forming due to grime suffocating their skin.

Fantastyk Voyager said...

It's a good way to get close to your horse, that's for sure. I don't groom as much as I used to mainly due to lack of time, but also because it's very shockin- lots of static electricity. I generally add water to my brushes.

AareneX said...

I'm with you, Leah: if I can't do anything else, I will make the time to brush my critters a few times each week. Very relaxing for everyone involved!

Crystal said...

I like to groom my horses too, I think thats why they get so muddy, cause they like to be brushed.

cdncowgirl said...

I agree! Grooming is so much more than something to prep for a ride or show; it's a time to bond with your horse, stimulate/massage their skin, coat & muscles and a chance to check for weight gain/loss, skin conditions and injuries.

lytha said...

my horse hates grooming so it's hard for me to get any pleasure from it. i can groom him without haltering him in his paddock, but only if i'm extremely slow with the brush. if i try to get mud off, he'll walk away. lucky you your horses like it!

Breathe said...

I'm addicted to how a horse smells. Grooming gives me my horse fix, so even if I do to want to ride I get that bit of joy.

Oh, yes, and it's good for them too. :)

Rae said...

I totally agree that grooming a horse is one of the most important things we can do.. it helps form the bond, generally relaxes both you and the horse.. and me, personally, I HATE, HATE HATE to ride a horse that has pixie curls in its mane. I also love the reaction that some of them get when you get THE SPOT. My mom's horse, Shiloh, loved having the rubber curry go across his spine.. he would arch his back so much that his back would sink a few inches.. Perk has this spot on her neck that she'll stretch her head out as if to say "ohh yeah, right there!" It's adorable. I haven't found it on Moon yet.

Desert Rose said...

Grooming is a favorite a mine to. The intamacy of just you and your horse is true amazing. it's also the time your horse's personallity is very present! my horses have such different personallities that i really enjoy my individual time with them both :)))

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Apache's not very fond of grooming, especially brushing. I've tried light strokes and hard strokes and she gives me the evil eye if I groom her for too long. She's just like, get in there and clean up the important parts, and the saddle up. Don't waste my time with all the rest, please.
I wonder if too much grooming during the winter, besides our major static electricity issues, removes and flattens out her thick fur coat, which is so important up here this time of year.

She does like one thing, though, not grooming related. She loves it when I stroke my fingers around her eyes, her muzzle, and on her poll, very gently.

Wow! Daltrey sure has grown!

~Lisa

Leah Fry said...

Ah yes, the smell. I forgot about the smell, which to me is intoxicating. Nothing relaxes and soothes me more than the rhythm of grooming. Except, of course, when they're being total turds and dancing all over the place LOL.

Amish Stories said...

Merry Christmas to you and your readers, I'm just stopping by new blogs that i think are interesting. And then ill put some of those on my favorites list to visit again. Happy holidays folks and wishing everyone a healthy new years as well. Richard from a Amish community in Pennsylvania.

Once Upon an Equine said...

You present a very good case for good grooming. I agree with you, it is good for the soul, as well as an important way to assess our horse's health and well being. Cute pictures of a well loved (and well groomed) horse.

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