Grooming Pig Boy and His Brother Ike

008I am certain that every writer/blogger has had writer’s block.  I have had it before and it will happen again.  Today I’m not having writer’s block, but title block.  It is hard coming up with a catchy title a couple of times a week that will draw in the readers.  Just glad that I don’t rely on writing to make a living.  It would be a poor existence with the horses living in the trailer in our backyard and eating the weeds that substitute for green grass (who has time to mess with grass seed when you can be riding your horse).

Made it out to the barn yesterday dressed to ride, but just could not bring myself to tack up Ike for another cold, wind-blasted ride.  My chapped cheeks were still recovering from my lesson the day before.  Fingers were also stiff from their time spent as numb stumps.  The treat lady shared peppermints with Cigar and Ike and all their barn buddies.  Also decided to groom both boys.  As you can see from Ike’s photo, there was not much work to be done.  He tends to stay relatively clean – I typically only have to brush sawdust off his coat.  And then there is his brother………

Cigar’s level of filth these days makes Pig Pen look like he just had a bath.  He is especially disgusting in the upper neck area and face.  It starts with a base of Uncle Jimmy’s Licky Things Horse Treats (molasses flavor to be exact).  Since Mom insists on hanging the treat where it cannot be pinned, Cigar insists on rolling it all over his coat and getting very sticky, and then topping it with a layer of dirt, sawdust, and hay.  You then add another layer of sticky goodness and more dirt and hay.  It is like building a dirt-laden lasagna.  You then let it set overnight and wait for Mom’s arrival.  The crud has now hardened to the point that no curry comb or brush will set the hair free.  I have tried to use a damp cloth to no avail.  There are then two choices: 1) pull the crud/hair out while avoiding Cigar’s teeth or 2) wait for the hair to shed in the spring.  I attempted to pull some of the crud ridden hair on Saturday at which point Cigar spun away from my hands and trotted off.  After I lured him back with a candy, I attempted to brush him to at least tidy up the rest of his body, but got tired of playing ring around the rosy as I gripped his halter.  Fine, be a dirty fool.

The winds died down today, so I set out to ride.  No attempts at grooming Pig Boy. (Ah, Ta-Da!  The title to this post just came to me!)  Grooming Ike took me all of 5 minutes.  I allowed for a good walk warm up, but Ike was a bit of a crank when I asked for trot.  He even got a bit pissy to my leg.  Hmm, halt please, One rein flex to the left, to the right, please stand patiently without yanking the reins, and try again.  Slight ear pinning, yank on the reins.  No, Ike, that is not acceptable behavior.  Someone must have woken up on the wrong side of the stall.  I then remembered what Ms. C told me the other day.  When having challenging days, either work on quick walk trot transitions or work on your lateral movements and controlling Ike’s shoulders at the walk and trot.  Diffuse what is happening and redirect his attention.  Okay, Ike, let’s get started.  We spent the rest of our ride either transitioning at every letter or leg yielding or attempting shoulder in.  The crankiness never really went away, but at least Ike did try to work with me for 30 minutes.  Thank you Ike, that helped keep you off the naughty list.


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