Gather round, clipping cadets! Let me spin you a yarn, a cautionary tale about the agonizing woes of clipping. The misery! The horror! The hair!
There is one golden rule to clipping that you must remember. Aside from the oil, and the proper blades, and all the Cool Lube you could possibly find, you must NEVER break the cardinal rule of clipping. The one thing YOU. MUST. DO. EVERY. CLIP.
Your horse MUST BE CLEAN. BATHE YOUR G-D-F'N HORSE.
I know this rule. I KNOW IT. I am The Clipmasta. I know all the clipping things.
And I broke the rules. AND IT WAS NOT GOOD.
I had bathed O on Friday, before heading out to do our little endurance ride on Saturday. On Sunday when I pulled out my clippers, it was a bit chilly and nearing the end of the day. I thought to myself - so naively - that she had just been bathed two days before, how dirty could she possibly be?
The answer to that was very, very, very dirty. Do you know what is sticky and clogs in clipper blades? Salty hair. Dirty, nasty, salty, sticky hair. My brand new blades ran well for only about 20 swipes, and that was all they had in them. They were screaming SANCTUARY! SANCTUARY! in the form of many jagged lines. Suddenly, my horse was looking like much like an inappropriately shaved alpaca.
Oh god. This is not good.
On and on my clippers struggled, jabbing into the hair instead of cutting it. AHH. IT'S SO STICKY WHAT WAS I THINKING.
I actually had to stop halfway through the first extremely failed side and go bathe her other side. The thought of tackling another half of horse with the same grungy coat made me genuinely consider my life choices. I would have rather tackled Ghengis Khan's army all by myself than face that long, lonely tapestry of salty red hair. My clippers would have probably been more effective as weaponry against a horde of Mongols than they were against her filthy coat at that point anyway.
But I plowed on. I struggled, I screamed out in agony, I cursed my decisions and I thanked O for not kicking me in the head every time my blades snagged in her coat.
I am not called The Clipmasta for nothing. I was gonna MAKE THIS WORK.
And make it work I did. Somehow, some way, I managed to triumph over the mess I had created.
AND I did it all freehand. That's right, no markers for me, just eyeballing it! (It shows in a few places... we won't talk about that.)
You can really tell the difference in the horses... how O is so super shiny and muscular, and how Tre is just sort of dull and weedy still. Oh well, she'll get there! You can also see many mistakes in my clipping... this was the side that was the dirtiest.
That's a little better.
Getting some chiro at the vet! She has a small asymmetry in her SI region that I wanted to have looked at - hasn't caused her a problem, but I wanted to make sure it stayed that way! The chiro noted that she has some thickening in her stifles, and flexed her both ways and jogged her out - she flexed clean and trotted out fine. She has some jewelry on her front ankles, crooked legs, thick stifles, asymmetrical SIs.... and none of it has caused her a problem. (I better knock on wood right now.... I know better than to put that out into the universe.) He adjusted her neck in a few places, and worked on her poll and SI, but it's all maintenance only at this point, there is nothing to seriously adjust. As long as we keep stretching her and properly warming up and cooling down, there isn't any reason to think that this adjustment won't hold for a long time. The girl is a TANK and never has so much as a sore back, even after miles and miles of hard riding.
Temps have been in the 20's at night, which is a bit of a freak thing for Texas... the horses are all snuggled up in their blankies keeping warm, and I am about to do the same. It's FREAKING COLD!