The Kids at Work
Rain, Rain Go Away
The following pictures and comments are ordered in reverse chronology so the most recent will be seen first.

This report has gone full circle now, from a basic late winter day to early spring.
Our activities continue on the"06 ReWind" page.

April 29. The sun is out and warm at least some of the time. Last weekend the temperatures were in the 70's, too warm for a workout with these heavy coats. The shedding has started but its way too slow for me. I want my sleek horses back.

It's a month until our first competition, I like to make the first clip early for a number of reasons:

    • One, I am not very good at it and time is needed to cover up my handy work; let the coats grow back and hide all the clipper marks left behind.

    • Two, in case the shaggy hair is hiding any skin problems; time and fresh air usually takes care of any of that.

    • Three, Washington weather is notorious for having a week or two of warm weather April/May just to get us thinking of summer then turning cool and wet off and on (more on then off) until after the 4th of July. So a month growth of coat is just right for an all out door Driving Trials weekend the first of June.

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Ah Spring Back at Work Still Cold

March 5. Finally time for the next step in clipping. Since my last post I think it rained another 30 days then right after that for about 2 weeks the sun was out but we froze because the temperature dropped 20 degrees. Now it's back to more normal showers with sun breaks and this week at least the sun was out more that it rained. (YEA).

Normally I would just be touching up whiskers and bridal paths about now and continuing with my round pen work and some ground driving but this weekend we are taking our first lesson of the year. With all that hair the neck collars do not fit right with so we took off just enough for a comfortable fit.

I am not sure how anyone else does this but I placed the collar on them took a piece of duct tape and outlined the edge of where I wanted to clip. For those of you who know me, this will be no surprise but I hate things that are not symmetrical, balanced. Tape helps that happen. Its kinda like the carpenter who wants to even up a table leg, if I were to do this free hand by the time I was done there would be no hair left.

An interesting side note. I took a break between clipping, Willy first, K.C. second. Willy will pout if he is not first. Anyway right before it was K.C.'s time when my back was turned she had a good roll in the dirt. After 3 hot towels and 20 minutes of wiping we got started, wet sand is tough on clipper blades. That's my Dirty Girl.

When I see Mini's partially clipped I always think they look like they have their P.J.'s on.

shy girl

K.C. did not want her picture taken today so she only gets one spot.

showoff

<--Willy just
had to wave
to the camera.

clean shaven again

January 17. Its time to start thinking about getting in condition. Western Washington state weather has been a record setter, 27 straight days of measurable precipitation. Meaning it has rained every day for nearly a month. Right after the first set of pictures were taken I blanketed the kids in an effort to dry them off. In addition to the rain it is fairly warm here; because of their thick coats the combination of wet and warm sometimes means a skin condition that leaves itchy crusty spots on the skin under all that hair. It's difficult to treat with the winter coat intact and almost as difficult to detect until they are clipped for the first time in the spring. Once clipped it usually clears up on its own but sometimes leaves bare spots. These bare areas will grow hair but it never quite blends in with their naturally shiny slick coats.

Back to conditioning, as you can see their halters barley fit this time of year. Not knowing what the weather will bring in the next month or two its not a good idea to clip them completely because we have been known to get cold snaps leaving these guys cold and uncomfortable. So……….I generally start with just clipping the head. This makes the bridle fit without a lot of adjustment. Even if I could let them out far enough, seems like hair is always getting pulled and the bit just isn't sitting in the mouth comfortably or correctly. Later on if the warm weather holds and training ratchets up a notch I will do a trace clip down under their necks and on the belly so if we work up a sweat they will dry off quicker.

The Pictures on the right shows just how much they look alike. Notice how light the chestnut color is here. It takes about 2 weeks to get their natural color and shine back after a clip. Neither one minds being clipped especially early on. Later after about their 3rd body clip of the season they start fidgeting like little kids in the barber chair wondering Why we are doing this again?!?

And so begins the transformation………………

dirty harry

<------------Before
You can see where the blanket leaves off and the dirt begins. Actually he is very dirty under that white also it just doesn't show. Willy had been rubbing his head on the barn door lately and welcomes that itchy hair being removed.
                          After-------------->

clean shaven
dirty harriette

<------------Before
There is my pretty girl once again. It reminds me of the transformation of a hairy caterpillar to butterfly. I know it's a stretch but that's what comes to my mind anyway. :)
                      After-------------->

face lift

Winter months are not my favorite for lots of reasons but mostly for the short cold, wet, gray days. I generally take a break from training and let the horses be horses from some time in October to about New Years day. Like kids on summer vacation Willy and K.C. seem to appreciate this down time at least in the beginning. Little exercise, no lessons, no bathes, no overnight stays in a strange barn; life is good. Like the comic says they get to do what horses like most: Eat, Sleep and well you know.

Before she came along, Willy stayed relatively clean during the winter months. He didn't like much getting wet and although they both have free access to their barn Willy would stand inside with his head out watching K.C. standing outside getting soaked to the bone, then just for fun she takes a good roll or two.

It kind of reminds me of Mark Twains' Tom Sawyer making whitewashing the fence seem like so much fun everyone wanted to try it. I am sure K.C. convinced Willy that getting wet and dirty is much more fun than standing inside and watching.

Whatever happened to my pretty white horses? I cannot wait until summer!

dirty girl

Dirty, Dirty Girl. K.C. is in her element here. She takes great pride in this her preferred appearance.

The first bath I ever gave her, within minutes of finishing she looked almost this bad. All I did was go inside the house for a minute.

dirty girl
dirty guys

Willy just realized K.C. is getting all the attention.
                    --------->

There is no way I'll get any single pictures of her now. Willy is after all the star on this block.:)

He is not nearly as dirty as his buddy, just enough to get noticed.

left out
best angle

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