Thursday, November 29, 2012

Clipping and braiding?

There is this whole mysterious world of horse show etiquette and preparation just beginning to surface. What are afterthoughts to those who have braved the arenas with their ponies year after year are things that I have never considered doing to my faithful steed. Things like clipping his soft, fuzzy ears. Or trimming short (let alone braiding) his mane.

Calabar is an outdoor horse. His coat gets fuzzy in the winter, gets burnished and reddish as the weather warms up, then slicks out to seal brown in the summer. I have never trimmed his ears or the whiskers on his muzzle and might have only used scissors once on his bridle path before deciding to just let it grow out. (There was a brief mohawk phase in between that was particularly adorable.)

I like his ears fuzzy. I grab them and blow into them frequently, making silly sounds into the soft brown hairs. He tolerates this with much patience and even seems to like it a little bit. And since he's an outdoor horse, doesn't he need the hairs for fly protection? Would I have to consider one of those crocheted hats for him if I fully trimmed those beautiful furry ears?

This kind of dress up we can do
Then there is the mane, which has been growing for years since he left the track. His mane and tail get a little bleached out and dry--outdoor horse, remember--and I don't always get to the deep conditioning routine that would help that. I see the fancy show horses with their short, evenly trimmed manes and beautifully braided manes setting off arched necks and I say, "Well, that looks pretty sharp."

What I am not sure I can see is me doing that or Calabar tolerating it. I could be wrong. He does have a Diva streak a mile wide and will not only let you brush out his mane and tail, but knows exactly what you're saying when you tell him how handsome he is. If you need proof of this, point a camera at him and watch the posing begin.

A handsome face needs no de-fuzzing, right?
Now how important is this whole trimming clipping and braiding thing? I really have no idea. To me, if I decide to show, it won't be about appearances (even if we do brave a showmanship class), it will be about the journey to the show ring itself and what we do there. Would I like ribbons? Sure. Will I be disappointed if we have a good ride but don't get a ribbon because my horse's ears are too fuzzy? Not so much.

The Diva himself might have a different opinion, but that is a bridge to cross when we get there. Fuzzy ears and all.


lmel said...

Ahh, my one weakness, the shaggy mane. I admit to pulling Harley's mane (much to his displeasure) because even though he's an outdoor horse, I can get the ticks out easier AND because of vanity. He looks better with a shorter mane. But I'm with you 100% on the clipping and shaving, and for the same reasons. Like you, I guess I'd have to forgo being in the ribbons because Harley's got natural ear protection. Or, you can hide the fuzzy ears by using the crochet protector, although I'm not sure they are de rigeur in the show ring unless they are in the jumper division. I like burying my nose in his fuzzy neck this time of year. Keep us posted on your plans for the show ring!

Jenn said...

I don't trim ears or whiskers...there's a reason the fuzziness is there! And, actually, unless you are going to rated or higher level shows, clipping is not mandatory. In dressage, it's not even required at national levels!

However, I do keep my manes pulled and neat and will braid for a show, as long as its not a schooling show.