Saturday, September 1, 2012

Grooming Day ~ Horses

Grooming Day! 

The Hadlee family may be increasing in numbers soon, not by one, but by 3. Three beautiful horses. I've had my eye out for some horses for us as family pets, as well as use for my equestrian school for children. Serendipity Saddle Club. We have come across three beautiful horses. A beautiful dapple appaloosa (pictured below) a handsome stallion appaloosa and their young stallion - who is a beautiful striking white color. They are staying at our barn for the time being. We're unsure if we will make a full purchase and acquire ownership of them just yet. We're boarding them for now and seeing if they are a fit with my riding style and work load. Thus far, they are a perfect match for our little family. We had tested out a new cart that we plan to use later this fall for hayrides on the island. I removed her tack and hung up everything in the barn. After riding you should always groom your horse at least in a simple fashion. They're usually sweaty and dusty. This is also a perfect time for some bonding. I wanted to take this opportunity to get to know her personality better and form a rider/horse bond. 
Ivy, of course was very eager to help Mommy groom her. Her back was dotted with sweat and dust build up from where the hardness and pads had been from the cart straps. Ivy has her very own grooming bucket, and I my own. Ivy has been around horses her whole life - I am thankful I've been able to start teaching her at such a young age. Watching her with the horses and our other livestock is simply heartwarming. She cares so much for all of our animals. She's ever asking questions and curious about one thing or another.We started first with the curry comb. Ivy pushed her small step stool across the barn and climbed a top it to brush her back and sides. Ivy is a wee bit nervous around the horses feet, with good reason. I've taught her to respect horses and realize they are large animals and they can hurt you, even if it's not on purpose. Being alert and aware when you are around any large, or even small animal is essential. Ivy asked me to do her leg's while she did the top. We spent hours in the barn using our varied brushes on her coat. After about one hour Ivy looked to me and exclaimed "Mommy, my arms are gonna fallled off! I need a break!" I chuckled, and of course had her sit down, I put her on treat duty. I'd like to begin praising the horse while she's groomed for good behavior and standing still for us. The bonding starts now. While I brushed this beautiful mare my heart began to slip into a dream.. the days where I was young and learning to ride. I remember the first time I ever jumped a large fence. Galloping through streams and up over hills into the forest, barefoot and bareback. (This is a real RL memory! I often include them if I am talking about me as a child.. it's me as an RL child. ) 
Brushing with the curry comb
After we finished brushing her body with the 3 brushes I wanted to start on her mane. This is something that I really enjoy doing. I find a lot of peace in grooming a horse. Something inside of my heart let's loose and I feel a total inner peace. It almost feels as if the world around me stops and it's just the horse and I. We connect, at least I feel as if we do. Perhaps I am too emotional for my own good. I spent quite a bit of time on her beautiful raven black mane. I found myself stuck in old memories, and singing a song softly under my breath. I connected with the mare's eyes and stared into her deep soulful eyes. Horses have such beautiful eyes. They are by far window's to their soul. I find them so peaceful and majestic. I had taken her small braid out of her mane to brush out. I had asked Ivy to go and fetch a new elastic for her new braid. Of course, Ivy wanted pink - however all she found was white in the drawers. She returned and I was still in a dream like state. I came to only to hear her own humming and her stretching the elastic around her little fingers. We finished up her side braid and carefully wrapped the elastic around it. This was her 'signature' braid that will always be kept. Ivy had asked me many questions over this grooming session. I really love how curious she is and eager to learn. That's one thing I love about being a Mom.. teaching my child. It's beautiful.

Brushing her mane

Finishing her small braid
Whenever I groom the last thing I do are the hooves. It's the last step before I let them back out into the pasture. At least for me. Ivy doesn't do this part, as the horses leg is much to heavy for her, and she's worried about the sensitive area on a horses hoof called the 'frog' she gets a real kick out of it.I bent down at the waist and ran my hands down over her leg, gently applying pressure at the 'chestnut' (or the elbow of sort) and asked her 'up' to pick up her foot. She obediently lifted her leg for me and shifted her weight accordingly. She had quite a bit of build up from the dirt roads and the pasture in her hooves. I used our small hoof pick on all 4 hooves and fully cleaned out her hooves.

Cleaning her hooves
After this was done Ivy ran to the cupboard and grabbed two treats for her. One for herself, and one for me to give to her. We need to praise, praise and more praise for this girl. She stood so well for us in the barn and offered no trouble to us during grooming. I gave her mine first with a gentle tap to her neck and an affectionate "good girl". Ivy held her hand up as a taught her, flat and even. The horse came down and lipped her hand to gather the small sugar cube. Ivy's little hand was now covered in horse slobber. She had tried to see if perhaps Ivy was hiding anymore for her. Ivy laughed a bit and exclaimed "eeeew!" and wiped her hands on my pants.
Smart girl.
I unclasped her from the cross ties in the barn that held her in place and clicked my tongue to signal her to follow me with the lead rope. We walked together, the 3 of us out to the pasture. I walked her just inside and unclasped the lead rope from her and let her roam. She walked just enough and instantly started to graze. Ivy still can't seem to get over how much she really eats. She even said we may not ever need to mow the lawn again. Especially with three horses at the house, we may not!


Roaming the pasture
We watched her graze and explore her new surroundings until the sun began to set. It was time to bring her back into the barn and in her stall for the evening. She was easy to round up and lead back into the barn. She almost happily entered her stall and laid down. I said my good nights and closed the stall. Leaving happy and my heart warmed. I hope this is the beginning of a wonderful bond. Perhaps we have found our horses..

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